Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I am glad to welcome you to a credentials ceremony in the Kremlin.
This venerable ceremony has a very good history. It has a deep meaning and symbolises mutual respect and a desire to be neighbourly and cooperative.
At the turn of the new century, Russia is genuinely interested in good partner relations with all countries for the sake of world security and international stability. It is our belief that the principles of equality, due consideration for national interests and the unswerving observance of international law ought to underlie this cooperation. At the same time, we believe that the UN and its Security Council should play a greater role in preserving peace and security.
I want to point out that the growing influence of international political and economic organisations should not stand between us and our main goal. Bilateral relations between countries and their two-way economic and political ties remain the bedrock of international politics. And I consider it very important that many of Russia’s approaches to international problems today should be understood and supported by your countries. I am sure this will guarantee further expansion of joint bilateral efforts in all areas of our cooperation.
Russia and Peru enjoy traditionally good relations. It is gratifying to say that our countries hold identical views on many key issues of the day, refuse to accept terrorism, and are battling against the drug business and organised crime. Russia supports democratic forces in your country and the Peruvian people’s free choice, and intends to further pursue full-scale, mutually beneficial cooperation with Peru.
Russia and Iraq have established relations of good-neighbourliness and multi-faceted cooperation. Our position on the settlement of the Iraqi issue remains unaltered. We will accept only a political and diplomatic solution to existing differences and work purposefully and consistently for an early lifting of sanctions against Iraq and for the country’s return to a normal life. The Russian Federation’s stance is gaining supporters at the UN.
Russia is all for maintaining neighbourly relations with the Czech Republic. It is in the interests of both countries today to give a boost to their trade, economic and social cooperation.
Russia and Venezuela share common approaches to fundamental international issues. We are pleased with the way our bilateral political dialogue is going and our hands-on efforts in a number of key economic sectors, above all fuel and energy.
Our country is sincerely interested in expanding diverse and mutually beneficial cooperation with Venezuela. I had a very good conversation and a very friendly meeting with President Hugo Chavez in New York. We are expecting him to visit Moscow next year.
We highly value our relations with the Sultanate of Oman. We are satisfied with the political dialogue we are maintaining on a number of issues, and we are ready to cooperate in many diverse fields.
The point I particularly want to stress is that we intend to be proactive in helping to reach an all-round settlement in the Middle East. One of the key objectives of Russian foreign policy remains to turn the Persian Gulf into a zone of peace and stability. We not only look forward to achieving mutual understanding, but also expect support for our stance on the issue.
Russia places a high priority on all aspects of its relations with Macedonia. Our countries have traditionally shared mutual goodwill and mutual interest in solving urgent problems in the Balkans. We also attach equal importance to the expansion of economic contacts and development of cultural and social ties between our nations.
We are happy to point to progress in cooperation with Botswana. This year our countries are marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Russia highly values Botswana’s efforts to strengthen peace and stability on the African continent.
Our relations with Gambia have traditionally been friendly. It pleases us to note that Russia and Gambia think very much alike about basic international issues. Russia is prepared to carry on its cooperation with it.
A quarter of a century has passed since Russia established diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Tonga. I hope that in the coming century we will preserve and strengthen the best traditions of our coordinated activities.
Ladies and gentlemen!
I wish you every success in your work in Moscow, the Russian capital. I trust and hope your activities will be helpful for the countries you represent, and will serve the cause of strengthening and developing our relations in the 21st century.