Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
I am genuinely glad to have another meeting with the President of Kazakhstan. Here in Omsk it took place against the background of the talks on border cooperation, which are important for both countries. But the focus of our talk was on the development of bilateral links. We share the belief that they have acquired a positive new quality and are moving forward ever more dynamically in practically all areas.
The Year of Kazakhstan in Russia will undoubtedly promote our good-neighbourly relations. It has got off to a good start and many interesting, promising events and mutually beneficial projects lie ahead.
They are intended to help the people of Russia and Kazakhstan to learn more about each other’s lives, but, equally important, to create additional prerequisites for greater interaction between the business circles and the public in our countries.
The forum of border areas is a project that encourages such many-sided cooperation.
Another important topic discussed at the meeting was bilateral interaction in the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We discussed ways to speed up the formation of the common economic space, a space within which goods, services, labour and capital could move freely for the benefit of each participant.
We noted that the so-called high-level group which is dealing with this task should intensify its efforts. It has already managed to agree on many fundamental principles. We hope that these consultations will continue at the same brisk pace.
Much attention was paid to the problem of determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea. As you know, we have a number of agreements. We will continue this work on the bilateral basis and with our partners.
We also discussed ways to implement the decisions taken by the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. In addition, we exchanged opinions on pressing regional and international problems, including Iraq.
It is clear that the interaction of our countries within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is exceptionally important for strengthening security in our region. The President of Kazakhstan and I noted the importance of thorough preparation for the forthcoming summit of that organisation.
On the whole I have a very high opinion of the results achieved today, and I am sure that the meeting will mark a milestone in the development of bilateral relations and open up new opportunities for their development.
We noted that it was the first meeting in such a format: the heads of border regions of Kazakhstan and Russia together with the heads of governments of the two countries. Such a format enables us to discuss particulars and graduate from these particulars to the solution of major problems in the near future.
The Governor of the Astrakhan Region raised the issue of preserving the Caspian and proposed to intensify this work. The President of Kazakhstan immediately supported the initiative and proposed signing an inter-governmental agreement on the Caspian environment. Upon return to Moscow I will instruct the corresponding units of the Russian Government, and the President of Kazakhstan will do the same for his part. I don’t want to set concrete deadlines, but we are not going to drag our feet, we will seek to sign the agreement.
Other issues are being addressed in the same way. I repeat it is a very good format. I am highly satisfied with the work that has been done today.