President Vladimir Putin (addressing Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin): Alexei Leonidovich, you are set to fly to Washington. Could you please tell us about what is planned there.
Alexei Kudrin: The boards of directors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are set to hold their spring meeting at the end of the week. The G-8 finance ministers will also be holding a meeting, in which I will be taking part. We have serious traditional questions regarding the World Bank’s work. This year, they are linked to the fact that the World Bank will be getting a new president very soon and at the moment an evaluation and summing-up process is going on. We are taking part at all levels in developing the bank’s main strategy and principal objectives. Serious discussion is taking place regarding additional support and additional debt write-offs for the poorest countries because the millennium objectives, a considerable reduction in diseases, the end of illiteracy and improvements in education, have still not been reached. The World Bank will therefore be focusing on these issues at its meeting. I will also be taking part in the International Monetary Fund and G-8 finance ministers meetings.
Vladimir Putin (Addressing Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov): Sergei Viktorovich, you had a meeting with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister. How is work going on providing the aid that they requested from us?
Sergei Lavrov: That was the main subject of discussion at our talks. First of all, acting Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan Roza Otunbayeva expressed sincere gratitude for the way the agreements reached during your conversation with acting Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev are being carried out. Following the visit to Bishkek of our specialists from the Emergency Situations and Agriculture Ministries, concrete proposals have been drawn up and are already being implemented in part as far as urgent aid, above all, humanitarian aid, is concerned. The government is working rapidly on the second lot of these proposals, which concern above all Kyrgyzstan’s needs for the sowing campaign and in other areas, including reconstruction work.
They highly value this aid and value the fact that it is coming in response to Kyrgyzstan’s specific request. They are also satisfied with the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s ’s visit to Bishkek and have expressed their interest in having the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation continue to play an active role in assisting efforts to stabilise the situation. Kyrgyzstan confirmed its commitment to international agreements, including the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Committee. The Kyrgyz leadership is also preparing with interest for CIS events, including the Commonwealth of Independent States summit in Moscow. They have an interest in its success.
In accordance with your instructions, we confirmed our readiness to examine further requests from the Kyrgyz leadership for aid that we can provide both on a bilateral basis and through international organisations, including those I already mentioned and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This would be aid in response to specific requests from the Kyrgyz leadership.
Vladimir Putin: Good. As you know, I took part in the opening of the Hanover Fair and our exhibition there. (Addressing Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov) Mikhail Yefimovich, I would like to ask you to thank all the people in the various ministries who helped all our firms organise this work. In any case, the event got off to a good start. I hope that this will benefit not just our cooperation with Germany but also with many other countries. The Hanover Fair is one of the biggest events of its kind in the world and has a lot of experience at organising this kind of work.
It got off to a good start. Right at the start, as you know, a large number of agreements and contracts were signed in key areas of our cooperation with Germany. I would like to mention one of them in the energy sector. For the first time, Gazprom has decided to let a German company become its partner in developing one of our biggest gas fields. In return, it has received assets that are part of the gas transport system on German territory. This is also a first. This clearly demonstrates Russia’s integration into the European economy in a very important sector – the energy sector. At the same time, it definitely bolsters our energy cooperation with Europe and creates a favourable climate for addressing other major objectives that we have before us.
In general, I want to send this signal to everyone who helped prepare these events and I want to thank them and ask you to pass on my thanks as soon as you can when you meet with your colleagues.