Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Chairman,
Dear heads of states,
First of all I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Republic Kazakhstan, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbaev, for his kindness and hospitality. The fact that this meeting is taking place in Almaty is in large part due to his energy and initiative.
The Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is a unique forum. Representatives from states of the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have gathered for our round table.
As you remember, the first session of the CICA took place in 2002 right here, in Almaty. At the time leaders from fourteen countries participated in that meeting. They were united by a common goal: to develop a shared vision of the region’s problems, challenges and threats and to begin a collective search for adequate solutions to these problems. They also wanted to start a multifaceted process to increase trust, friendship and cooperation in Asia.
Today, four years on, we can see that the CICA has proved both viable and necessary, and acts as proof of the advantages of dialogue over disagreements. One of the CICA’s obvious advantages is that member countries cooperate in various formats. This allows us to accomplish the tasks that stand in front of us through various channels and to do so flexibly and promptly.
We have already taken a number of concrete measures to help accomplish our declared goals. They include steps to resolve conflicts and to decrease tension in the region’s hot spots. Within the Conference and with the assistance of Conference organizers representatives from different countries have had direct contacts, even countries who hold opposing points of view.
Developing confidence-building measures and implementing them is our forum’s main task. Confidence-building measures are the fundamental principles that inform interaction between member states and are contained in the political Declaration and List of Confidence-Building measures that we adopted.
It is not by chance that the fight against new threats and challenges held a central place in these documents. Only if we cooperate can we fight effectively against manifestations of terrorism and extremism. And only in such conditions can we win against transnational crime and drug trafficking, and cooperate to lower the rates of outbreak of deadly diseases such as AIDS, avian flu and others.
One more important area in which we cooperate is the social and economic sphere which involves creating advanced methods of transportation and energy infrastructure. I am convinced that by joining our efforts we can accomplish the goals that we set out in the Almaty Act in 2002. And the most important goal consists in forming a shared, indivisible space in Asia in which the peace, stability and development of various countries supplements, supports and strengthens each others’ growth.
I have no doubts that the Conference has assumed its position among the various multilateral associations in Asia. The forum’s work continues to attract substantial interest. I am pleased that our ranks are growing.
Two years ago at the SCO summit in Tashkent we discussed the idea of creating a partner network of multilateral organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. I am convinced that the CICA’s potential to implement this initiative can produce positive results for all member countries.
Certainly, the opportunities presented by our forum have not been fully developed. And we have extensive prospects for cooperation in the economic, environmental, humanitarian and other spheres.
It is important that the Conference’s process develops, avoids duplication and too much bureaucracy, and that it be based on principles such as consensus, voluntary participation and step-by-step development that we have agreed on.
For its part, Russia intends to support strengthening cooperation within the CICA in every possible way.
Today the CICA is taking important steps to achieve the goals it has set for itself. The Declaration we will adopt on the occasion of the second CICA summit will undoubtedly provide a new stimulus to multilateral cooperation.
We are also establishing a Conference Secretariat that we would like to see as one of the forum’s effective instruments and one that facilitates precise coordination between member countries.
I shall emphasize once again that the threats and challenges that stand today before member countries do not allow us to be idle. We still have much to accomplish together. And the Russian party is ready to participate in the Conference in the most active way.
Thank you for your attention.