Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
International relations are now going through a difficult period. Under these circumstances, Russia advocates a democratic world order based on the rule of law, equality, mutual respect, a balance of interests and a love of humanity.
The UN Security Council must more effectively maintain and ensure international security.
Russia intends to implement a pragmatic foreign policy based on common sense and to guarantee all aspects of its national security.
I am convinced that Russia and France will develop a constructive partnership. Such bilateral cooperation is ensured by the history of our relations and by the interests of our countries and peoples. Russia has always felt something special towards France. The Russian public pays close attention to all events in our relations.
It pleases us to say that Russian-Belgian relations have been invigorated in the last few years. We have become partners in political dialogue. The Russian-Belgian joint action programme for 1999–2000 is developing successfully. Russia is ready to sign a similar agreement for the next two years.
Russia considers its contacts with the European Union as a top political and economic priority. I am convinced that a more profound interaction with the EU will make a substantial contribution to building a global, prosperous and indivisible Europe.
We have a positive opinion of relations between Russia and Zambia. Russia is ready to further strengthen bilateral contacts in every sphere.
Russian-Panamanian contacts are developing successfully. Russia will strive to elevate them to a higher level to ensure their sustained development in the future.
Russia and Equatorial Guinea have traditionally maintained friendly relations. We would like to restore time-tested forms of cooperation, expand such cooperation and search for new opportunities.
In its relations with Jamaica, Russia would like to maintain constructive bilateral cooperation in international affairs.
In conclusion, I would like to say that you are not starting from scratch. The work of your predecessors has created a solid foundation for relations between Russia and the states your represent. I wish you every success in your efforts to expand and improve this base.