Vladimir Putin: My meeting with President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin has just ended.
Its main result is the signing of the framework political Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Moldova.
This basic document sets forth the main goals and principles of strategic partnership between our countries in the new era. We have seriously strengthened the legal framework of the growing political, economic and cultural ties at all levels, and it covers also the development of relations between regions. It is a good basis for regional cooperation.
We have signed this Treaty with a view to consistent joint creative work; its supreme goal is to improve the quality of life of people in Moldova and the Russian Federation, to ensure peace, security and prosperity of our peoples.
We are absolutely convinced that the Treaty will also contribute to the solution of the Transdnestr problem, especially since a provision on a political settlement of the issue is included in the preamble to the document.
The Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation between Russia and Moldova is an example of equal and respectful relations between two sovereign states. Our countries do not just recognise the priority of democratic rights and freedoms and the values and ideals of the civilised world, we are already making a real contribution to the shaping of just international relations in the 21st century.
Permit me to say a few words about other aspects of our talks today. We have discussed a wide range of bilateral and foreign policy issues and we were pleased to note that our positions on all the topics discussed are either close or, as they say in such cases, are practically the same, and it applies to such major global problems as countering international terrorism and extremism, the fight against transnational crime and the need to enhance the role of the UN.
Naturally, the problem of Transdnestr settlement was discussed both in a narrow format with the Moldovan President and in an enlarged format. We tried to assess the current situation from all sides and in an objective manner. We think that above all the negotiating process in the current five-way format must continue. And individual problems that may crop up need not cause the work on the key political issues of settlement to be suspended. We should make full use of the time-tested mechanisms and channels of communication to establish a constructive political dialogue between Chisinau and Tiraspol.
In conclusion, I would like to note that we are optimistic about the future of Russian-Moldovan partnership, and this mood is well justified: it is based on the positive historical experience and the current trends and the desire of our peoples to cooperate actively in many fields.
Vladimir Voronin: First of all, I would like to express thanks for the invitation to visit Russia and for the warm welcome accorded to the Moldovan delegation.
I subscribe to what the President of the Russian Federation has said about the great significance and importance of this visit and the signed Treaty. In his speech Mr Putin has formulated the main aspects and areas of cooperation between our countries and identified the priorities of further development of our relations. Our meeting, I am deeply convinced, ushers in a qualitatively new stage in the relations between Moldova and Russia. The course for developing a strategic partnership on which our countries have embarked has already got the necessary legal basis. The document provides for broader bilateral cooperation in diverse areas: political, economic, diplomatic, legal and scientific-technical.
We see Russia as a guarantor of the process of political settlement of the Transdnestr problem. And I would like to take this opportunity to say that we appreciate Russia’s position on the issue whereby the settlement can only be based on the principles of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. The Russian position is extremely important for us.
The Treaty seals an important provision confirming the right of our citizens to freely choose the language of communication, the right to education and training in accordance with international standards. I have to note that the republic’s leadership has already taken concrete steps on the issue. And by the same token I confirm our commitment to removing all the complications in this sphere….
I have already had a meeting with State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov. I am sure that the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova will ratify the Treaty shortly.
Question: Russia and Moldova have just signed the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation. Mr Putin, do you think problems may arise with its ratification by the State Duma, as happened on the previous occasion?
Vladimir Putin: I don’t think so. You see, a lot has changed recently inside Moldova and in the Russian-Moldovan relations. You have heard the Moldovan President’s assessment of the character of relations between Moldova and the Russian Federation. We see that the Moldovan leadership is changing its attitude to Russia, its attitude to the Russian-speaking population and the basic principles of our relations. Let me tell you that I have been listening to Moldovan speech now and it occurred to me that all those in Russia who work with Moldova, especially in the economic field, would be pleased to learn the Moldovan language because it is a very beautiful language. But naturally, we assume that the Russian language used to be the language of international communication on the territory of the Soviet Union and it should continue to perform that role. And the attitude of Moldova cannot pass unnoticed. And secondly, I am deeply convinced that the State Duma deputies will react to some changes in the Treaty compared with the old one. And thirdly, I am deeply convinced that it is in the national interests of Russia that the Transdnestr conflict be settled on the basis of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Moldova with due respect for the interests of all the peoples and ethnic groups living in Moldova, including Transdnestr. Russia for its part is ready to act as a guarantor and a participant in the settlement process.
We discussed it today in some detail and we are sure that this position is shared by the leadership of Moldova. So I am optimistic about the future of this document at the State Duma and the Federation Council and I am planning to have early meetings with the corresponding Duma and Federation Council committees on this issue and on the development of our relations with the CIS countries, and I will be ready to brief them on the results of my visit to the US.
I would like to stress again that, in my opinion, the ratification of the Treaty by the Russian Parliament will not take long.
Question: What are the prospects of bilateral cooperation between Russia and Moldova? And what concrete projects are currently under consideration?
Vladimir Voronin: We have a lot of concrete projects. To lend dynamism to our cooperation and to achieve better results we are switching to relations between ministries, relations of cooperation and integration….
Vladimir Putin: The past six months have seen some processes in the Moldovan economy which our experts consider to be positive. The fears expressed by some experts to the effect that after the left-wing forces have come to power we will see a resurgence and a return to a planned economy have not come true. On the contrary, we see that on the one hand, there are market mechanisms and on the other hand, we see a positive start to the process of cleaning up the logjams in the economy and improved management. All that creates a good foundation for the development of economic ties. In the last six months our trade grew by 15%, but that is only the beginning. We have reached agreement on some basic issues in the field of energy, cooperation, in the sphere of industry although many loose ends still have to be tied up. The prerequisites are good, and I very much hope that the process will develop positively.