President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends and colleagues,
I sincerely welcome you to the Kremlin and congratulate you on the beginning of your missions in Russia.
You are beginning your work in Moscow at a very significant stage in our country’s development. The consistent implementation of internal transformations is enabling Russia to pursue increasingly ambitious foreign policy goals. We will use this potential to facilitate the formation of a constructive international relations agenda and to take a more active and full part in global processes.
This is reflected in the priorities for our presidency this year of the G8. I am referring here to energy security, combating epidemics and raising education standards.
We are consistently committed to using diplomatic and political means and methods and to a search for compromise and consensus in the resolution of all, even the most serious issues in world affairs.
It is precisely in this spirit that we recently put forward the proposal to create multilateral centres that would provide nuclear fuel cycle services. The aim of these centres is to give all interested countries equal and non-discriminatory access to modern nuclear energy development work. At the same time, our position is firmly founded on the need for strict compliance with the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime and we are open to broad-based international cooperation.
We value the interest shown by the leadership of the Republic of Panama in strengthening its friendship and cooperation with Russia. We also think that we have all the possibilities before us to take our relations to a higher level. Russia will strive to develop cooperation with your country, Mr Ambassador.
We are happy to see that our relations with Romania have been developing positively since the signature of the founding agreement in 2003. Our political dialogue has become more active and our intergovernmental commission is working well. We see this as confirmation of a mutual desire to continue developing our cooperation in a diverse range of areas.
Russia values its friendship and cooperation with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Our trade and economic cooperation has intensified over recent years. We hope to further enrich our relations with new initiatives, scientific and technology projects and humanitarian contacts and there are good prospects before us in this respect.
Russia’s traditionally friendly ties with Greece go back into the depths of time. The unchanging sympathy our peoples have for each other and the common spiritual and cultural heritage that we share form a solid foundation for our trust and cooperation.
We consider Greece an important partner in the work to strengthen peace and stability in Europe. We also have an interest in expanding our economic ties, including in the energy sector.
We cannot call the current state and general direction of our recent relations with the Republic of Moldova satisfactory, but the state of our relations today does not reflect the spirit of trust and friendship that has characterised the multifaceted ties between our two peoples over the decades.
I am convinced that only through an honest and constructive dialogue based on consideration and respect for each other’s interests can we transform our bilateral cooperation into a genuine mutually beneficial partnership. Russia is ready to undertake this work and we hope that our partners will respond with the same readiness.
Our relations with the Czech Republic are also founded on longstanding historic traditions. Our relations are now undergoing new development with the expansion of economic and investment cooperation and more active cultural and educational ties. I hope that my upcoming visit to your country will give our multifaceted cooperation a new development impulse.
We are committed to an active dialogue and good-neighbourly relations with the Republic of Estonia. We want to build our relations on the foundation of mutual respect, territorial integrity, respect for basic human rights and freedoms and consideration of each other’s lawful interests. I am sure that the events of the past, events that are now a part of history, cannot and should not become a pretext for mutual claims against each other and a hindrance to the consistent development of cooperation between our countries and peoples.
There is much potential we can draw on to intensify our bilateral cooperation with the Democratic Republic of Congo. The successful organisation of the referendum on the constitution in December 2005 opens up new possibilities in this respect. We will continue to facilitate the normalisation process in your country and in the Great Lakes region in general.
Russia’s relations with the Republic of Zimbabwe are undergoing positive development. We have built up good political, trade and economic and cultural and education ties. I am sure that we should look for new opportunities to develop our relations, for we have good potential for cooperation and we should now look for new ways to develop this potential more fully.
You are beginning your work in Moscow at an interesting but complicated time.
Many of you have yet to discover Russia for yourselves and provide your respective leaderships with a picture of our country’s present day life and foreign policy.
It is very important that your capitals know that Russia is ready to develop equal and mutually beneficial relations with our partners on all continents.
Of course, your Russian colleagues will always be ready to provide you with any necessary help, attention and assistance in carrying out your missions. I am sure that your cooperation with them will be productive and useful.
I would like to wish you all happiness during your time in Russia.
Thank you very much for your attention.