P.Rovnov (ROSSIA TELEVISION COMPANY): This was an anniversary summit for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and a perhaps a historic event. In your view, was this summit more about celebrations or about work, and what results have come out of it?
President Vladimir Putin: In content it was a purely working meeting. In terms of positive new developments I would note that we have expanded the scope of our cooperation. Our work together on security issues and our cooperation in this area continue to be a priority. I think that our organisation’s work in this area is one of the main things attracting interest from other countries that would like to participate in one way or another in our work, including as observers in the organisation.
We have also expanded our cooperation in other areas, above all in the economy. The important development in this respect is that business circles in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s member states have created their own cooperation bodies, both in business in the broader sense and, separately, in the area of finance, and I think these are extremely important developments.
I think that this and the organisation’s growing influence in general are very significant because the organisation is playing an ever greater role in resolving the crucial task of stabilising the situation in this vast part of the world. This is especially important for us because we know how sensitive we are to problems in the countries east and south of our borders. There can be no doubt that work in this direction is one of our biggest priorities.
M.Petrov (ITAR-TASS): You have just held talks with the President of China and you said that our cooperation is developing quite well. What new steps were taken at this meeting and did you discuss any new projects?
Vladimir Putin: Our contacts with our Chinese partners take place on a regular basis and at the very highest level. I will soon have the opportunity to meet again with the President of the People’s Republic of China in St Petersburg during the G8 summit.
At today’s meeting we took stock of what has been done since my visit to Beijing. We have confirmed that earlier agreements are being implemented. Our trade is on the rise and I would like to note that over the first quarter of this year it was up 53 percent compared to the same period last year. These are very good results for our trade growth. We discussed the need to expand opportunities for Russia to export civilian machinery and technology to the People’s Republic of China. I will say in a moment what I am referring to here specifically. We also talked, of course, about improving our military-technical cooperation. We are dealing with big figures in this area, cooperation that is worth billions of dollars, and we want to maintain this level.
Regarding the goods for civilian use that I mentioned, you were present for the signature of agreements between Russian and Chinese banking institutions. These agreements are for a value of $500 million and will see China take its participation in joint projects within the framework of inter-bank agreements up to $1 billion, and they represent absolutely concrete industrial production plans. The sectors concerned include glass manufacturing, the pulp and paper industry, increased supplies of aviation equipment to China and a number of other high-technology goods.
All of this gives me reason to consider that today’s meeting was very successful.
F.Mayer (ASSOCIATED PRESS): Could you please comment on the results of the brief bilateral meetings you held, above all with the Iranian President? Did the Iranians make a response to the package of proposals on the nuclear issue?
Vladimir Putin: I think the results of the bilateral meetings that took place are useful for our delegation. This concerns, for example, pursuing our contacts with our colleagues from Mongolia. Mongolia is one of our longstanding partners and we have extensive cooperation. We are very much interested in expanding and raising the level of our trade and economic cooperation.
We have good relations with Pakistan, and I would say, indeed, that our relations have reached a new level, but there is still a lot to do to increase our economic cooperation. We discussed this at quite some length today with the President of Pakistan. So, both of these meetings were without a doubt very useful.
Regarding Iran, I see the meeting with the President of Iran as having been very positive. There are three important points I would note.
First, the Iranians have reacted positively to the proposals put forward by the six countries for ending the current crisis.
Second, our Iranian partners are ready to begin negotiations.
Third, I hope that the Iranians will formulate their position regarding the timeframe for the start of these negotiations in the nearest future.