Vladimir Putin: Today we propose to focus our collective work on the search for effective ways of resolving the most important global problems. The first is the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The second is the fight against international terrorism, and the third is our joint efforts to combat organised crime.
We believe that our most important common task is to preserve strategic stability in the world. Russia is doing all it can not to undermine the basic international agreements that have been reached, including those on the ABM problem. But we are prepared to move further down the road of reducing strategic armaments and to work on START III. The State Duma has confirmed the seriousness of Russia’s intentions by ratifying the START II Treaty and the 1972 ABM Treaty. This indicates, among other things, the unity of Russian society on key international security problems.
We appreciate the fact that many of our approaches to international problems meet with understanding and support in the world. They also meet with support in your countries. I am sure that in this way we are acting for the benefit of all of humankind.
We welcome the noticeable invigoration of Russian-Turkmen relations. Many of the difficulties that used to impede their development are being overcome. I am sure that my meeting with the president of Turkmenistan in Ashgabat, due to take place soon, will consolidate these positive trends.
We also note with satisfaction the positive impetus in the development of Russian-British relations. The recent summit meetings have sent a good signal for the long-term development of Russian-British ties. It is my deep conviction that this entirely meets the national interests and priorities of our countries.
We highly value our good relations with the Lithuanian Republic, and we expect that our cooperation will contribute to greater stability and positive developments in a region that is very important for Russia.
We intend to further strengthen our fruitful cooperation with the Swiss Confederation. I would say that our joint humanitarian work in Yugoslavia signals a new stage of our relations.
Our basic approach to the development of all-round relations with the Republic of Bulgaria remains unchanged. We are prepared to cooperate with the Republic of Bulgaria on the broadest range of issues.
The United Mexican States remain one of our leading partners in Latin America. We are committed to developing our interaction and stepping up bilateral trade, economic, cultural, scientific and technological ties.
It has only been ten years since official relations were established between Russia and the Holy See. The development of ties between the Vatican and the Russian Federation is in the interests of all of humankind. I hope that my forthcoming meeting with His Holiness Pope John Paul II will confirm the stability of these relations.
Historically and geopolitically, the Korean Peninsula has always been within Russia’s sphere of national interests. So, interaction with the Republic of Korea is a priority of our policy in the Asia-Pacific Region. We welcome the agreement to hold the first inter-Korean summit and we look forward to constructive partnership with the Republic of Korea in the 21st century.
The strengthening of long-standing and traditionally friendly relations with the Kingdom of Thailand, a prominent ASEAN member, is a major element of our policy in the Asia-Pacific Region. There have never been any problems in relations between our countries.
Russia is closely following the processes taking place in the Union of Myanmar. We sincerely wish you to successfully resolve the problems that face your people, and we are sure that our joint efforts will promote relations between Russia and your country.
Relations between Russia and the Republic of Angola are more than a quarter-century old. Their foundations were laid in the period of the Angolan people’s struggle for independence. Russia favours the development of multifaceted cooperation with your country. We intend to continue to contribute to stability and durable peace in Angola.
Relations between Russia and Nigeria have a long tradition. We are following with attention and great sympathy the efforts of your country’s leadership to solve the problems facing your people. I am sure that contacts between Russia and Nigeria will continue to increase.
We believe our relations with the Republic of Zimbabwe are positive. The important role your country plays in the Non-Aligned Movement is well-known in Russia. We are ready to strengthen our cooperation in various areas and to interact on the international stage.
Relations between Russia and your countries are built on rich experience and established traditions. At the same time, broad new areas of fruitful cooperation are opening up. This means, above all, healthy economic pragmatism, which should outweigh ideological considerations in international relations.
Permit me to wish you success in performing your important mission.