President Vladimir Putin: Dear Viktor Andreyevich [Yushchenko],
I am very pleased to have this chance to meet again, here in Astana as we agreed. I hope that I will still have the opportunity in the future to take up your invitation to come to the Carpathians. I hope that you enjoyed your time there and had some good skiing.
I am glad that we are meeting today because aside from energy sector issues — the gas question that you, I and our colleagues have worked on so energetically, following a difficult road to come to what is, I think, an absolutely correct solution that will benefit both our countries — there are also other issues on our agenda. These include all the many questions related to economic development, developing our political relations, cooperation in the areas of science and health and contacts between our peoples. There are a great number of areas where we can develop our cooperation and I am absolutely certain that we are capable of taking great strides forward in all these areas.
President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko: Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], dear friends, first of all I would like to say that I am pleased to have this opportunity to meet. I think that the past months, the last two months in particular, have not been an easy time for us, but I think that it has been useful for both sides. We have settled on principles that are clear to us and that we can present to other parties, principles that bring clarity to our relations. This has been possibly the most complicated area of our relations and I would like therefore to congratulate both sides on the fact that our common effort has enabled us to resolve issues of this complexity.
There are a number of questions I consider to be of great importance for our peoples and the draft ‘roadmap’, which I hope we will sign in the near future, provides for their settlement. I think it is generally a good initiative of the two Presidents to oversee the settlement of the most complex issues at the highest level. These issues include energy sector matters, border issues, issues regarding the presence of the Black Sea Fleet and a huge number of other questions. Each issue is quite complex and we therefore hope, Vladimir Vladimirovich, to be able to organise the commission’s work as soon as possible.
Vladimir Putin: Viktor Andreyevich, as I promised, I have already signed the documents for the Russian side and Russia’s members on the commission have already been named and approved.
Viktor Yushchenko: Now we need to organise the commission’s work at sub-committee level. Later, after talking with the press, I would like to make a number of proposals regarding this question. I would like to wish you, your colleagues and the people of Russia a happy Christmas and New Year and wish you all health, happiness and prosperity.
Vladimir Putin: I wish you the same. Thank you.