President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, dear friends!
I am very glad to welcome you to the Kremlin and to congratulate you on the beginning of your diplomatic mission to Russia. I am convinced that ahead of you lie not only intense and important tasks but also interesting work. I sincerely wish you successful and fruitful work.
I would like to emphasise that Russia intends to develop multifaceted international cooperation. We aspire to strengthen our ties in all spheres – political, cultural, educational, economic. We will continue to work towards supporting collective and – I would like to especially emphasise – legal principles in international politics.
It is precisely the principles of equality and constructing mutually advantageous relations with all countries, without exception, that constituted the base of the Russian G8 presidency last year. The most important result of the summit in St Petersburg lay in coordinating unified approaches to cooperation in the energy sector, something that without exaggeration plays a key role in ensuring people’s worthy and comfortable living conditions.
It is obvious that true energy security can only be attained when relations between the participants in the energy network are based on solidarity and responsibility. And in this respect I am referring to all kinds of energy: oil, gas and nuclear energy.
For our part and with a view to ensuring energy security for all interested parties, Russia is taking decisive measures to change to transparent, market-based relations with all countries, independently of a given political climate. Common international trade rules must be observed in regular trade and economic relations, including in the energy sector. They must support a balanced approach towards resolving all the problems in the energy sector, including access to modern technologies.
For decades Russia has acted as a responsible provider of energy resources to the world market. We intend to continue doing everything in our power to fulfil our responsibilities in the future.
I would also like to emphasise that our international priorities remain unchanged. Russia will continue to exert constructive influence with a view to resolving global and regional problems. And as we go about this task we expect close and fruitful cooperation with the countries that you, dear ladies and gentlemen, represent.
Russia is interested in strengthening its neighbourly relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We are ready to continue contributing to the search for finding a peaceful solution to the problems on the Korean peninsula.
We confirm that we are committed to developing a political dialogue and pragmatic cooperation with the Republic of Bulgaria. We are convinced that this will not only prove useful for the Russian and Bulgarian peoples but will also help strengthen general cooperation throughout Europe.
Not long ago in Moscow we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the restoration of our diplomatic relations with Israel. Today our relations are characterised by increasing business ties and the development of our cultural and educational contacts. We intend to continue developing our friendly relations with Israel in view of the fact that a significant part of Israel’s citizens today were originally citizens of the former Soviet Union. At the same time, we also aspire to truly strengthening peace and stability in the Middle East.
We value our strategic partnership with France. I would like to emphasise that we completely agree with President Jacques Chirac – someone we consider to be a sincere friend of Russia –on the majority of the questions on the international agenda. We expect to continue to expand multifaceted cooperation with France and to promote some large-scale joint projects in the economic sphere.
We give great value to further deepening Russian-Argentinean cooperation, both on a bilateral level and within the Southamerican Common Market. In the last two years our fruitful cooperation with Argentina, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, confirmed our shared aspirations to develop mutually advantageous ties in all areas.
We are satisfied with the way our dialogue with the Dominican Republic is developing. I consider it important to strengthen this dialogue through more active trade and economic cooperation.
We celebrate the concurrence or affinity of Russia’s attitudes towards key international problems to those of the Republic of Botswana and we intend to expand our business ties.
In conclusion I would once again like to wish you productive work. As far as I know, many of you are quite familiar with our country. Many have already visited our country in one capacity or another. And I hope that you will have the time to become more closely acquainted with Russia’s cultural and historical riches. I am confident that your mission will prove useful both on a professional level and with respect to strengthening mutual respect and trust between our peoples.
Thank you for your attention.