President of Kyrgyzstan Kurmanbek Bakiev: The talks that we held today with Dmitry Anatolyevich continued our tradition of regular bilateral contacts at the highest level. This is already our fifth meeting in a little over four months. I am grateful to the President of Russia for taking up my invitation to make his first official visit to Kyrgyzstan.
During our meeting we discussed the prospects for our bilateral relations in the economic, educational and cultural spheres in detail, and we also exchanged views on key issues in regional and international affairs. We just signed a Joint Statement which assesses the current state of Kyrgyz-Russian relations, confirms our mutual readiness to strengthen our strategic partnership and alliance relations and deepen our multifaceted cooperation, as well as outlines the prospects for its development.
I would note that the historically close Kyrgyz-Russian relations are currently becoming more meaningful and dynamic. The issues and figures we cited during our talks reflect the real, positive momentum in our relations. First and foremost, I am referring to an increase in trade. Last year our trade reached 1,200 million dollars and this year it will probably reach the two billion dollar mark. Thus, Russia is one of Kyrgyzstan’s major trading partners since Kyrgyzstan trades more with Russia than with any other country.
Strengthening these positive trends and further encouraging industrial and technological cooperation, the influx of Russian investments – particularly in the energy, mining and industrial sectors of Kyrgyzstan’s economy – is in our common interest. Moreover, powerful Russian companies such as Gazprom, the RENOVA group companies, leading Russian banks and other interested entities are successfully operating in Kyrgyzstan. Dmitry Anatolyevich and I agreed on a number of additional steps to facilitate major projects that are being implemented, with the participation of these companies among others.
Russia has demonstrated interest in the joint development of our rich hydropower resources. We welcome this and are especially anticipating the speedy implementation of a large-scale project to build the Kambaratin hydroelectric power stations as well as the joint implementation of projects in the energy sector. And of course we mentioned the need to intensify direct contacts not only between big businesses, but also between medium and small ones.
Another special theme of our meeting was cooperation in the cultural and educational spheres – an important part of Kyrgyz-Russian relations. I must point out that Kyrgyzstan pays a great deal of attention to preserving Russian language, which is an official language here, as well as a common cultural and information space. A practical step in this direction was the opening a Russian language innovation and education centre in Bishkek which creates additional possibilities for studying Russian and training language teachers. All these measures expand the number of ways the citizens of our two countries can exchange information, receive education, and develop their scientific and cultural ties.
Regarding the development of Russian language, I would like to mention one thing: in recent years we built a lot of schools and residential areas around Bishkek and even in regions where there was, one might say, very few Russian-speakers nonetheless parents asked that schools be taught in both languages: in Kyrgyz and in Russian. In other words, it is in the interests of the people of Kyrgyzstan, of Kyrgyz people to take Russian language very seriously.
In order to ensure national and regional security we intend to further strengthen our cooperation in defence and the technical sphere. The Russian air base in Kant plays an important role in regional security in Central Asia and the protection of the southern borders of the members of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. Kyrgyzstan will continue to provide the necessary conditions so that the air base continues to exist and operate effectively.
Another important part of our talks was our discussion of key international and regional issues. We reaffirmed our readiness to strengthen cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which Kyrgyzstan headed this year. I am confident that close cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Russia acts as a guarantee for the stable and estimable development of the whole region and that Kyrgyzstan’s priorities remain the same – they are unchanged.
I would like to thank you once again, Dmitry Anatolyevich, for our fruitful and constructive dialogue. I am confident that our strategic partnership and alliance will continue to steadily grow for the benefit of our countries and peoples. This is in the interests of both parties.
Thank you for your attention and I give the floor to Dmitry Anatolyevich.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you Kurmanbek Salievich.
Dear media representatives: I will begin by thanking the leadership of the Kyrgyz Republic and Kurmanbek Salievich Bakiev personally for the organisation they did for our meeting, the warm welcome, the trusting atmosphere during the talks and, in light of the results achieved, simply for the fact that our meeting took place. I appreciate this very much. But in such situations the most important thing is not to rest on one’s laurels. And despite increases in trade and a number of positive developments – signing a range of very specific documents which promote our cooperation, for example – I nevertheless think that we still have a great deal to do. In a narrow format, in a private meeting we discussed a number of ideas on how to intensify cooperation. Following this we gave instructions to leaders of our Intergovernmental Commission and others involved in our talks. I am sure that in a short while we will be able to develop some new ideas and reach new frontiers of cooperation, as my colleague Kurmanbek Salievich said just now.
For Russia, Kyrgyzstan is undoubtedly a strategic partner and ally. We reaffirmed our determination to continue moving forward in all areas in which we cooperate: in economics, the social sphere, the cultural and educational spheres, the military sphere, as well as coordinate our foreign policy in light of current existing threats and challenges.
Results are also important. Indeed, we signed a Joint Statement which assesses the current phase of relations between the Russian Federation and the Kyrgyz Republic. The agreements we just concluded on power generation, the oil and gas sector, cooperation between our foreign ministries and our customs services are very useful. We signed a protocol on cooperation in the mining industry with the participation of Russian capital and the Russian financial sector. Though I said that trade is merely an indirect indicator, our trade is nevertheless growing and is a good element of our relations; we expect that this growth will continue despite the difficulties that are now facing the global economy.
One of the most important areas of cooperation which Kurmanbek Salievich also mentioned is the construction of the hydroelectric power stations Kambaratin-1 and Kambaratin-2. We really talked about this and gave instructions to intensify work both on the construction itself as well as the finalizing the sources of funding.
We paid considerable attention to modernising Kyrgyzstan’s oil and gas sector – we talked about this as well – as well as joint projects in the agricultural industry and the banking sector. In view of the crisis that is currently facing the international financial system, as well as food problems, we need to take real action to protect markets and to ensure their future stability. In this respect we agreed to closely coordinate policies and provide assistance in difficult circumstances because it is clear that in some cases we will have to conduct coordinated policies and even help one another.
We have new perspectives for ties in the cultural and educational spheres. Kyrgyzstan will intensify cooperation under the auspices of the CIS Interstate Humanitarian Cooperation Fund. I have already talked about an interesting project, the Aitmatov and Modernity forum, which will take place at the end of this year and where we are planning to take stock of the results of the Year of Literature and Reading in the CIS. Kurmanbek Salievich just talked about the attention the Kyrgyz Republic pays to the Russian language. We are very pleased about this and believe that this represents a visible example of cooperation because it is simply a genetic link between our cultures and a guarantee for the development of good neighbourly relations in years to come.
We agreed that we will coordinate our actions within the CIS, the EurAsEC, the CSTO, the SCO and other multilateral formats. Tomorrow we will hold a meeting of the heads of CIS states and then a meeting of the EurAsEC. I believe that such events are always useful and relevant, even more so when they result in concrete decisions (I hope that this will be the case tomorrow), but I think it is particularly valuable and important that such meetings take place in difficult times. Yesterday, for example, the EU took very important decisions concerning the coordination of financial activities. These decisions have a direct impact and effect on stock markets. We [in the CIS, the EurAsEC] require similar coordination if we are to remain competitive and overcome the effects of the financial crisis with minimal costs.
I believe that we will work at intensifying our cooperation in counterterrorism, the fight against crime and drug trafficking. All these issues remain on our permanent agenda.
In conclusion I would like to thank Kurmanbek Salievich and all our Kyrgyz comrades once again for their involved approach to the issues discussed. The outcome of this summit, our current meeting and – I hope – the outcome of forthcoming contacts (and we agreed to intensify work and have a new meeting quickly) represent steps towards a new level of partnership for the benefit of our peoples and to strengthening security in Central Asia.
Kurmanbek Bakiev: Thank you.