President Vladimir Putin: Dear colleagues, dear ladies and gentlemen!
The extraordinary session of the Eurasian Economic Community Inter-State Council has ended. We made a number of decisions that have important implications for furthering the integration process.
The summit’s main outcome was the signature of the protocol on Uzbekistan’s accession to the founding treaty of the Eurasian Economic Community. I shall emphasize that Uzbekistan has accepted all the rights and obligations that follow from the said document.
In general, the task that stands before us consists in overseeing the effective integration of the Central Asian Cooperation Organisation into the Eurasian Economic Community. To accomplish this we intend to widely use the economic, cultural and educational, and environmental projects drawn up and implemented by the Central Asian Cooperation Organisation in the Eurasian Economic Community’s work.
I am convinced that the active, interested participation in the Eurasian Economic Community by our partners in Uzbekistan will significantly strengthen the organisation’s potential and I am referring to Uzbekistan's own value and potential. This will allow us to work more effectively towards creating an integrated market, implement programmes in hydroelectricity and other sectors and, of course, will provide new opportunities for joint projects and refining our cooperation.
Regarding Uzbekistan's accession to the Eurasian Economic Community, we adopted a protocol making the relevant amendments to the Eurasian Economic Community’s founding treaty, both according to the treaty's requirements and Uzbekistan's situation and interests.
During the summit we approved an Agreement on Cooperation in Organising an Integrated Currency market in the Eurasian Economic Community member states. It is designed to increase the sphere in which national currencies can be used, so as to facilitate the external economic activities of Community member states. In essence, this marks the first stage of the creation of a currency union between Eurasian Economic Community member states.
The important task is to assist inflows of investments into joint projects. In our opinion, one of the sources of financing can be the Eurasian Development Bank, that was founded recently. We have already spoken about this many times. Its nominal capital is very solid and amounts to one and a half billion dollars. The bank's activities shall be aimed first of all at the Eurasian Economic Community member states.
I shall point out that multilateral integration within the Community acts as an important catalyst for increasing bilateral cooperation between its participants. And the Russian-Uzbekistan and Russian-Kazakhstan documents we just signed are an example of this.
I should inform you that, of course, we talked about a wider range of problems and joint opportunities than is reflected in the documents, with our partners in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and with the representatives from Kyrgyzstan. We shall also work further in a bilateral format to use the opportunities offered by the Eurasian Economic Community.
In conclusion I would like to once again express my satisfaction with the Petersburg summit. It illustrated the Eurasian Economic Community's growing authority and underscored the common desire of all its participants to further the integration process.
Many thanks for your attention.
Question: A question for the President of Russia. Vladimir Vladimirovich, my question concerns the Eurasian Bank, the creation of which you just mentioned. Please tell us when it shall start operations and what you think of its prospects in the near future?
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the bank, it was an idea formulated by the President of Kazakhstan at our meeting in Tajikistan two years ago. We took quite a long time to implement this proposal. When it shall start operations? You know, we have signed all the documents, and now only the technical implementation of the decisions we have made remains. I think that we can do this over several months. As I already mentioned in my opening address to the press conference, we believe that, first of all, this financial organization will be open and that any member state of the Eurasian Economic Community can join provided that the share of nominal capital they receive will be used to resolve the economic problems of the Eurasian Economic Community. One and a half billion dollars of nominal capital is a very solid base to start on. And I do not know of any problem in our countries' economies that could not be resolved effectively with the help of such financial instruments. Therefore, the Bank's sphere of activity is any viable economic project in the Eurasian Economic Community.
Question: A question for the President of Russia. My question does not exactly concern the theme of today's summit. Vladimir Vladimirovich, in the past few days information on the activities of Great Britain's intelligence services in Russia, in Moscow, has made international news. What are your comments on this and, in addition, how will this be reflected in mutual relations between Russia and Great Britain? Especially since in all likelihood and according to international practice, these citizens shall be expelled from the country. And a follow-up question: has this changed your attitude towards the work of non-governmental organisations?
Vladimir Putin: I expected that more attention would be given to the work and results of the session of the Eurasian Economic Community. There are many things which should capture your attention. You know that the decision Gazprom made today with its partners in Kazakhstan is not commonplace. These are steps along the same lines of agreements that have already been reached concerning the Caspian sea, and joint work in the Caspian sea. Gazprom's agreement with its partners in Uzbekistan is also very important. Pay attention to them. All these decisions shall influence not only energy policy within the Eurasian Economic Community but also, without undue exaggeration, the energy situation in the world. There are also serious proposals in the sector of nuclear energy.
But I do not intend to evade your question. We do not intend to aggravate the situation nor do we intend to spoil our relations with our partners. We only want one thing, namely that our partners act towards us the same way that we act towards them, that is with respect. Of course, what is happening is regrettable… We see that intelligence services are trying to work with non-governmental organisations using the instruments of the special services and that intelligence services are financing non-governmental organizations. I think that no one should be prevented from saying that this money has a bad smell. Noble purposes cannot be achieved by improper means. I also believe that now many understand why Russia adopted the law regulating the activities of non-governmental organisations in our country. This law, I wish to repeat once again, is to prevent foreign states from intervening in the internal affairs of the Russian Federation. And to create favourable conditions, transparent conditions for financing the activities of non-governmental organisations. Regarding expulsion, it is true that over the past ten years a practice has developed whereby the revealed agents working under diplomatic cover are expelled from the host country. I do not know if this practice is correct or not, but it has developed over the past few years. In this case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Federal Security Services must make coordinated proposals. As for my opinion, what can I say — as soon as we send the agents back, then others shall arrive, so what? Perhaps these others will be smarter, and we will then have a new pain in the neck searching for them
Vladimir Putin: I am sorry, I would like to add that I have not fully answered your question. My attitude towards non-governmental organizations remains, of course, unchanged. Society requires such organisations that rigorously control the government's activities and also so that the government itself can accomplish more effectively its tasks regarding protecting human rights and in humanitarian sectors as a whole. Incidents like the ones you asked about cannot compromise this idea. We are going to support the activities of non-governmental organisations in the country.