President Vladimir Putin: I would like to note the high level of intergovernmental ties that has been reached between Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. We are very satisfied, very happy, about the way our relations are developing. We have noted a growth in trade turnover. This is indeed the way things are, and I would like to join you in your high assessment of humanitarian cooperation. The year of Kazakhstan culture in Russia was held. Accordingly, the year of Russian culture in Kazakhstan is a very important event. We expected a few dozen joint events, but I’m even afraid to say how many there were. I think there were a lot more than 100, and maybe several hundreds.
No less important is our cooperation in the economic sphere. And here, of course, energy is in first place, energy resources and electrical energy. You know this, you were involved in this area for many years, and I would also like to discuss all these areas of our cooperation. And on gas, oil and electrical energy.
The Caspian theme I would propose to discuss separately, and not just bilaterally, but as a whole, because there are a lot of questions and problems here. And they are all important. I would like to exchange opinions with you on these issues. I would also like to talk to you on the international agenda, and how the situation is unfolding at the moment in the Middle East and in Iraq, and hear you opinion, especially as preparation for elections is currently underway in quite a difficult, I would even say unusual situation. But we are interested in peaceful development.
I think that we should also say a few words about the tragedy that took place in Asia. I mean the tsunami and the numerous victims. Russia, as you know, is increasing humanitarian aid to these countries, a mobile hospital was sent there with the assistance of the Emergency Situations Ministry and the Defence Ministry, and our specialists have been working there practically since the first days of this tragedy.
We are working in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Indonesia. On Wednesday, an international conference will be held in Geneva by the Paris Club. We will examine what else can be done to help these countries. And of course, there is work in international organisations – the CIS, the CES, EurAsES, which you mentioned, and the SCO. I would like to inform you that I had the honour to receive the Turkish Prime Minister in Moscow yesterday. He asked me to give you his best wishes. And quite honestly, I was surprised to hear an interest from the Turkish side in establishing contacts with the SCO. I think that this is a very positive signal. I would like to talk to you, as the current head of the SCO, about this topic.