Vladimir Putin: Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate all the Moslems of Kyrgyzstan on the upcoming Festival of Uraza-bairam. Askar Askayevich said that arriving on this bright, pre-festive day, plus with good news is a good omen. We are very glad it so happened; in this there is an omen of fortune.
Now permit me to briefly inform you about the content of this good news. We, indeed, discussed with the President and with the colleagues in the extended composition the full range of bilateral cooperation, and exchanged views on key regional and international issues.
We indeed, I want to confirm this, have no problems which we could consider outstanding. There is complete mutual understanding on all the matters discussed. This holds for the sphere of politics and for economic and for humanitarian cooperation. Russia cherishes this level of achieved teamwork. It is our common view that Russian-Kyrgyz relations are evolving dynamically, in the spirit of traditional friendship and good-neighborliness. And today's talks have again borne out the two countries' resolve to strengthen allied work.
Askar Akayevich and I dwelt at length on questions of economic cooperation and on ties in the military and military-technological fields.
Mutual trade has substantially grown over the recent period — by 49 percent. In absolute terms this, of course, is so far a modest figure, but the trend is very good.
I am convinced today we need to concentrate on key areas of our partnership. In the economic field it is electric power production, water conservancy, cooperation in the defense and agro-industrial sectors, the stimulation of direct interregional ties.
We also paid serious attention at the talks to questions of humanitarian cooperation and to developing contacts in the fields of science, culture and education. I will especially stress that we highly appreciate the consistent policy of the leadership of Kyrgyzstan toward the Russian language, which is here given the official language status. I consider that this substantially expands the possibilities of Kyrgyz society, of young people above all, to freely orient themselves in the information space of Russia and the CIS, to get an education and develop scientific and cultural contacts. For its part, Russia intends to help this comprehensively. We discussed in what areas this assistance can be realized.
An important part of the talks was discussion of our cooperation involving the CIS, the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Among other things, this is important for the solution of the common task of countering the terrorist threat. Of great importance here we think is our partnership within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty, CIS Antiterrorist Center, and SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure.
Askar Akayevich and I are convinced: combining our efforts and coordinating foreign policy steps will serve to bolster the security of both Russia and Kyrgyzstan, will serve the cause of ensuring stability in all of Central Asia. The just signed Agreement on Security Cooperation opens up new possibilities for that.
In the course of the meeting we also exchanged views on urgent topics of international politics. Among them: Middle East developments, the situation in Afghanistan, other questions. It is important to note here that on all these issues Russia and Kyrgyzstan hold very similar positions.
In conclusion I want to stress: we believe in the great future of Russian-Kyrgyz cooperation and are open for the broadest interaction. And therefore we are convinced that our work in these directions will be successful.
Thank you very much.
Question: What is your vision of the future of the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Community?
Vladimir Putin: CIS is a universal organization, a good platform for our cooperative effort in very many areas of cooperation. I think that if there were no CIS, it would have been difficult for us to solve very many questions which now seem to be natural for solution, or we do not notice that problems exist. In my view, it is a viable structure. We shouldn't only exaggerate its importance. It has to be filled with real content. Therefore we feel that, where possible, relations should be developed on a bilateral basis, or multilaterally, within the framework of such organization as the Eurasian Economic Community or the Collective Security Treaty. They complement the activities of the CIS.
The Eurasian Economic Community was set up recently and has proved its efficiency. It is created on certain principles which differ from the principles of the creation of the CIS. This organization is directed solely to dealing with economic problems of the participating countries. The growth of trade among its member countries is the best proof of the correctness of the steps which were taken at the time of its creation.
This does not mean that the organization mustn't seek better performance. We intend to act in this direction. One topic which we today discussed was just how to adjust our ways of coordination in terms of the organization of the Community's work and of achieving more effective cooperation in the economic field.
Question: What do you think are the prospects of military cooperation of Russia with the countries of the region, primarily Kyrgyzstan, in the light of the recent events which are taking place in Central Asia?
Vladimir Putin: As to military cooperation, it figured prominently in our present talks. We intend to build our relations with the region's countries and with Kyrgyzstan in two directions, on a bilateral basis. We signed the Security Agreement today. This is a good initiative, we actively supported it and we think that this will provide a solid legal basis which makes our cooperation in this field absolutely transparent, understandable to all — our own publics and our partners all over the world. This cooperation is not directed against third countries, it is directed solely to the assurance of our security, the security of Russia and Kyrgyzstan — and we are going to strengthen this collaboration on a bilateral basis, in this case within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty.
You know that the decision has been taken and the Rapid Deployment Forces of the CST countries are already created, with its headquarters in Bishkek. This means that we have about a thousand servicemen detailed by such countries as Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. This is regional cooperation, which also takes place within the CST framework. But the way chosen to form the Rapid Deployment Forces is such that all the detached contingents are stationed within their own territories. Therefore, the creation of an aviation group of these CST Forces, which is to be permanently based in a Kyrgyzstan airfield, imparts to them an entirely different qualitative significance. This means that, first, these Forces now have strong air cover, and second, they have gotten transport aviation facilities for a quick transfer of manpower and resources to the required areas. Including Bishkek, if necessary.