Vladimir Putin: Joint work to form a common security space is powerful proof of the fact that the member countries of the Conference are aware of their collective responsibility for the strengthening of peace and stability in Asia. Today we have discussed many issues and have seen how complicated and acute the problems in Asia are. But we all know well – and this was also mentioned today – that the whole world is watching the development of relations between India and Pakistan with bated breath and special concern. It has been a major topic recently in our meetings with President of the People’s Republic of China Jiang Zemin and other leaders of UN Security Council states. We have paid particular attention to this topic at the summits between Russia and the European Union, the NATO heads of state and government and during the visit to Russia by US President George W. Bush.
Discussing the India-Pakistan conflict with President Bush, we couldn’t help but recall the Cuban Crisis between the USSR and the US in 1961 when the whole world was on the brink of a catastrophe. At the time the leaders of the two countries displayed a sense of responsibility and ended the dangerous standoff. It is hard to even imagine what the fate of mankind would have been if events had taken a different turn.
Today in Alma-Ata we have heard some ideas that give all of us hope. The Indian Prime Minister said it is necessary to take a decision on preventing the first use of nuclear weapons. The President of Pakistan has spoken to condemn terrorism and has assured us that there will be no room for terrorists in Pakistan. Both leaders have expressed their readiness to have a dialogue. This is precisely what the world has been impatiently expecting from the two leaders with hope. I am aware that any step in that direction has to be well prepared if it is to be successful. At the same time, we all hope that the wisdom of the leaders of India and Pakistan will enable them to stop the escalation of tensions through dialogue and to continue the political efforts to overcome the crisis. And finally I would like to thank the President of Kazakhstan for giving us an opportunity to gather here and discuss the most pressing issues that concern all of us.