Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Today we are holding another in the series of traditional meetings to discuss relevant international and domestic political problems. I would like to identify the key topics.
First. The Government’s work to create a common economic zone of the “four” states – Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia – in the context of the common efforts of the CIS aimed at further economic integration and synchronisation of our joint work on WTO accession.
As regards Russian-Ukrainian relations, you know that the Treaty on the Russian-Ukrainian border was signed on January 20, 2003 completing the demarcation of the land border between Russia and Ukraine. I would like to discuss this topic with you.
I suggest that we exchange opinions on the prospects for our strategic partnership within the Russia-Belarus Union State and discuss issues pertaining to that topic. You know that there are many questions that are important and call for coordinated actions.
We are also to discuss preparations for the ratification of some international treaties and agreements, in the first place the Russian-American Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, by parliament. That is a key document in the sphere of strategic stability. Its provisions will allow us to maintain our strategic forces at a reasonably sufficient level, taking into account the country’s economic potential and dynamics of the military-political situation in the world.
Russia has repeatedly declared that it is interested in strengthening the system of international relations and security, and compliance with legally binding arms control regimes. I am convinced that differences over specific issues on the international agenda should not create a legal vacuum in these vital areas.
A decision is to be taken on a number of agreements with the Lithuanian Republic. They include treaties on the state border and demarcation of the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf in the Baltic Sea as well as a Russian-Lithuanian agreement on readmission.
I would like to stress that these agreements promote not only bilateral Russian-Lithuanian relations. They form part of our agreements with the European Union aimed at solving the problem of Kaliningrad transit. As you know, we have finally found mutually acceptable solutions. The ratification of these treaties may provide more evidence of Russia’s constructive attitude towards the development of relations with our partners, our closest neighbours.
You will know, of course, that on May 8 this year the Government forwarded a package of laws on further steps in the field of tax reform to the State Duma. I am ready to discuss that topic, too.
These are the themes I consider we must urgently discuss in order to compare notes on all these important issues. I repeat, if you feel that other problems need to be touched upon, we will discuss them as well.