Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev on the meeting that took place on 15 and 16 June in Moscow between interior ministers, justice ministers and prosecutors general of G8 member states, and on introducing Russian biometric passports:
On 15 and 16 June a meeting really did take place. In addition to the interior ministers, justice ministers and prosecutors general of G8 member states, deputy director of the European Commission and a representative from Interpol’s General Secretariat participated in the meeting. We examined a wide range of issues linked with increasing the effectiveness of the fight against terrorism, transnational organized crime in communications and information technology, illegal migration, and illegal drug trafficking. We adopted and supported proposals to improve a new counterterrorism strategy, to improve joint efforts in the struggle against extremism, cutting off terrorism’s sources of financing, the propagation of terrorist ideology, and recruiting youth into terrorist organisations. In addition to this we registered the need to take into account the fact that terrorists are more and more interested in acquiring biotechnology and weapons of mass destruction. At the meeting we noted the need to improve the international legal basis that supports the fight against cyberterrorism and cybercrime. We confirmed that we will consolidate our efforts and improve contacts within the G8 member states to take action against the trafficking of human beings and to continue joint work on new biometric identity documents.
Following the meeting we adopted a Joint Statement and endorsed nine documents, including those that the Russian Interior Ministry had prepared with respect to ensuring that the underground and railway systems remain protected against terrorist attacks.
The next meeting between interior ministers, justice ministers and prosecutors general of G8 member states will take place in Germany in 2007. As a whole the atmosphere was friendly. Constructive work took place and, most importantly, we expressed our common desire to unite our joint efforts.
Vladimir Putin: And how is work proceeding inside Russia to use biometric data in identity documents and foreign travel passports?
Rashid Nurgaliev: Vladimir Vladimirovich, up until today we have issued more than 500 such passports. We are conducting a pilot project in the city of Kaliningrad and biometric passports are already being issued there. The data in our biometric passports were read in Germany, Sweden, Austria, and the United States and in general feedback was quite positive. Everything is proceeding according to the schedule that you set out and we shall achieve results that will be in our citizens’ interests, namely issuing reliable documents with protected biometric data.
Vladimir Putin: Fine, as long as it does not become too expensive.
Rashid Nurgaliev: I think that during the session of the council of criminology experts that will take place today we will examine the next stages of preparation. By the way, we are also going to examine pricing policies, including with respect to new technologies, at this meeting.
I want to reassure you and to say that even at the meeting between the ministers of G8 member states we demonstrated the achievements we have already made. We held several sessions during which all the leaders of the interior ministries, justice ministries and prosecutors general were able to see how the passports’ biometric data can be read. And, in general, the common opinion was that we are proceeding according to the recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and the International Standards Organisation (ISO). As a whole this gives us confidence that we will be able to attain the goals that we established together and have already reported on in the allotted time.
Vladimir Putin: Good..
Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref on preparing a federal target programme for nanotechnology:
It is necessary that we establish a federal target programme for nanotechnology. And now we have set up a special working group staffed by members of the Academy of Sciences and led by Mr Kovalchuk who coordinates the directors of the two most important institutes that work on nanotechnology. We have prepared the conceptual foundations for a federal target programme to develop nanotechnology. The danger exists that we will not be able to develop this programme this year and therefore not be able to include it in next year’s budget. However, we agreed that in any event we will try to include a number of events that require budget financing in next year’s budget and if we develop the programme itself by the end of this year then it will already receive financing as of 2008.
We are in complete mutual understanding. Over three months we developed and consolidated our positions in detail. Today a clear programme and clear prospects exist and I think that in the very near future Andrei Aleksandrovich [Fursenko] and I will complete this work. We are in its final stages. The most important thing is that all experts agree that for nanotechnology, just like for biotechnology or information technology, it is very important to set up a system of venture financing. At present all necessary documents have been prepared. I think that in the very near future the government will make the necessary steps. We already discussed the fact that next year we must allocate budgetary resources for this purpose at last week’s budgetary commission. We are proposing up to 15 billion rubles of venture fund capital. It is the first time that such a fund will be created in Russia but it is a key instrument to enable us to develop new technologies.
Vladimir Putin (addressing Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko): Andrei Aleksandrovich, do you agree with this approach?
Andrei Fursenko: I do. I would just like to add one more thing. It is very important that the new programme pay all due attention to purchasing equipment both for research and for production. Examples of this equipment were presented again at the forum. I would like to say that this equipment is absolutely competitive. We are actively putting it on the international market and it is important that this equipment be not only for research and production but also for education. In other words, that we have nanotechnology equipment that can be used in students’ education. We are now planning to create new laboratories, technologies and projects not only for research but also for training specialists in the universities Dmitrii Anatolevich [Medvedev] mentioned that won the competitions; I think there are eight such universities.
Vladimir Putin: Is it possible to say that you have overcome all disagreements within the government regarding how this area should develop and that your various points of view coincide? Is that so?
Andrei Fursenko: Disagreements persist, but they are constructive ones.
Vladimir Putin: Good. Thank you.