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President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Putin, thank you very much for taking the time out of your tight schedule to come and congratulate me, and to talk about our relations.
The way in which relations between our countries and peoples are developing is truly touching: initiatives are being taken to hold summit meetings; there are exchanges of views on all issues.
Economic and political relations, developments linked with the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space, the [Eurasian] union we will establish next year, and the meetings which will take place in Yekaterinburg this autumn, are all very rich. We have drafted amendments to the fundamental friendship and cooperation treaty between our two countries. Maybe we will be able to sign them into law in Yekaterinburg.
All this suggests that we have no problems that cannot be discussed. I’m simply very glad that you’re in Astana as we celebrate our capital’s fifteenth birthday. People are in a good mood. You came here from the Kazan Universiade, and it was an amazing opening ceremony there. Thank you.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Nazarbayev, yesterday was both your birthday and Capital Day. I congratulate you on each of these events, on both of them. I would like to personally wish you success in your position as head of state. You have done a lot for Kazakhstan, and I am sure that you will do a great deal in the future.
I think that Capital Day is actually your day, because this is your city. I know how you feel about it: you feel a spiritual link and a lot of love, as with your own child. And one cannot but be happy for Kazakhstan, for the residents of Astana, which are certainly fortunate to live in such a fast-growing city.
As for our bilateral relations, today I would very much like to discuss their entire range, including our space relations. Unfortunately, that is a sphere of human activity in which events can take place without being planned. Of course there are problems in this regard. We will address them, including with you. We have other programmes for joint work too.
Of course we will talk about our basic treaty which is extremely important. And naturally we will use our time today to discuss integration issues. I have already talked about this many times; in fact, you are the founding father of our Customs Union, it was your idea. We are consistently developing it. I must say that this Union definitely represents the biggest cooperation step in post-Soviet territory. And we now feel that it is producing results. This is particularly important in the light of turbulent processes in the global economy, at a time when problems affecting many countries are increasing.
Strictly speaking, such problems are not bypassing us entirely. Nevertheless, the nature of our integration relationship allows us to somewhat smooth out the rough edges of the global economy which affect us.
So we have a full agenda. Thank you for the invitation and let me congratulate you once again.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: I visited Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan; we will exchange opinions on that account. Events are taking place in Egypt and in Syria, in which we are fully engaged. All of these issues undoubtedly affect us.
Vladimir Putin: Syria has already devolved into civil war. It’s terribly sad, but it seems as if Egypt is moving in that direction. We would very much like for the Egyptian people to avoid possible negative outcomes.
At our last meeting we discussed the situation in Afghanistan in the light of coalition troops’ planned withdrawal in 2014. This is also a very serious matter. I would like to talk to you in more detail about it.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: There will be time; we shall discuss it today. Once again, thank you for coming, for your attention, thoughtfulness and friendship. I wish success and prosperity to the people of Russia.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.