President Vladimir Putin: Vladimir Nikolayevich [Voronin] and I had a very substantial meeting and discussed practically the entire spectrum of our bilateral relations, including cooperation in imports of Moldovan agricultural produce to Russia – meat and wine too – and also the energy sector and political contacts.
Regarding agricultural produce, specialists in both countries, Moldovan and Russian experts, have carried out a great amount of work together on quality controls and certifying produce. We have agreed to resume imports of meat and wine from Moldova. Our experts and their Moldovan colleagues will carry out joint quality controls at Moldovan enterprises. As a first step in organising imports of Moldovan wine on the Russian market, we have agreed to follow the one-window principle, that is, imports will come through a specialised warehouse, through specialised companies, in order to follow the product from start to finish and ensure that no counterfeit produce enters the market.
As far as the energy sector goes, I hope that our specialists will conclude their talks soon and arrive at a final decision. I have every reason to hope that these talks will be completed very soon and with a successful outcome. In any event, the President and I outlined today the principles that could form the foundation of these decisions.
Finally, regarding political settlement in the region, this is an issue concerning both bilateral and multilateral relations, if we’re looking at settlement in the region overall. Vladimir Nikolayevich and I agreed that we would resume consultations very soon, especially since a considerable amount of work has gone on at expert level over the last 6–8 weeks, and steps have been taken to bring the positions of those interested in settlement closer together.
President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin: I am, of course, very happy with the talks I have just had with Vladimir Vladimirovich. We have resolved issues that had built up over recent months, issues that were causing problems for us in Moldova. I think that we have learned the lessons from the agricultural produce import restrictions we faced and we have now carried out inspections at all the wine-making companies and established a central state laboratory that will certify wine products and issue European certificates. We have also taken a number of additional steps to ensure that the economic actors who’d put their tentacles round this very profitable sector have now been cut off from it. Overall, we have carried out a thorough overhaul of the entire wine-making market and we will continue to work together with Russian specialists to bring order to the sector and ensure that Russian consumers receive high-quality products from Moldova.
As far as the energy sector is concerned, we are indeed in the process of drawing up a number of investment projects that we will propose to Gazprom and other Russian companies for joint investment in developing Moldova’s energy sector through gas consumption and through other means. I am happy with the recent work by the experts in Moscow and with the results achieved. The agreement that Vladimir Vladimirovich and I reached about beginning full-scale political negotiations to resolve all of our political issues, including settlement of the problems we face in our region, opens the way forward for good results. I am confident that these talks will enable us to resolve all of these problems.
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the energy sector, I can add that our relations will be based upon market principles, of course, but within a framework that will satisfy both sides, Russia and Moldova.