President Vladimir Putin: How are you preparing for your new job?
Ramazan Abdulatipov: With the right mood.
Vladimir Putin: With the right mood? I want to say that this is a very important area of our work not only in Central Asia but in the CIS in general. Tajikistan is one of our priority partners, and this for a whole variety of reasons. You understand this and you know this region well. Tajikistan is important to us in itself.
Of course, there are many dimensions to our work together with Tajikistan. One of them, as you know, is our military and political cooperation. We have a military base in Tajikistan and it is developing. We are in the process of handing over control of the state border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan to our Tajik partners. There is no need to explain just how important this area of our work is.
We have a number of agreements and commitments in all these areas of our work. We need to help our Tajik friends strengthen the state border. This is clearly in our own interests because, as we all know, a considerable amount of the traffic in drugs heading for Western Europe and the Russian Federation comes across the Afghan-Tajik border. Our Tajik colleagues are doing everything they can but they need our help and support.
Economic cooperation is no less important for us. The priorities here are cooperation in the energy sector, agriculture, metallurgy and a number of other industrial sectors. We also have a number of significant agreements in this area – agreements that represent billions of dollars. There are plans for both private investment and state involvement in this work.
All of these dimensions of our cooperation require diplomatic accompaniment – competent and balanced diplomatic support aimed at developing our relations with Tajikistan at the bilateral level and also taking into account our work together within the CIS, the Eurasian Economic Community and other organisations.
In general, I very much hope that, under your guidance, the embassy will take a very active part in this work.
Ramazan Abdulatipov: First of all, I would like to thank you for the trust you have shown me in allowing me to represent Russia’s highest interests and the President’s policy in this crucial area of our foreign policy.
The agreements you have reached with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov create a good foundation for developing a new quality of economic, political and cultural relations between our countries. I am sure that this will serve the interests of Russia, Tajikistan and all the peoples of the Central Asian region.
The embassy and I will do everything we can to be worthy of your trust.