President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear colleaguessing my satisfaction with the way the talks with President of Argentina Mrs Kirchner have gone and with the results that we have achieved.
During the talks we discussed practically all the issues on the current agenda of Russian-Argentine relations. We talked about a wide range of issues. Of course we talked about trade cooperation, because it is the quintessential feature of all relations.
We noted with satisfaction that recently – in literally the last few years – there has been a qualitative leap forward, and now instead of very modest figures our relations can be measured in billions of dollars: today our trade amounts to more than a billion and a half dollars, and by the end of the year we hope that it will reach two billion dollars. But this is just the beginning.
We have the capacity to deepen trade relations to a very significant degree, at which point Russian-Argentine trade cooperation will be measured by very different figures. It can grow by a factor of five, perhaps even a factor of ten. More importantly, we need to look at something that we specifically talked about with the President of Argentina, namely what sort of trade to encourage. In addition to simple exchange, we must develop cooperation between our companies and create joint companies. And perhaps that is the principal result of today's discussions. Because our countries have every opportunity to bring economic relations to a level that corresponds with the economic and human potential of Russia and Argentina.
We welcome the increasing levels of investment. In order to promote investment cooperation, we need precisely these agreements that we have just signed. Incidentally, to do this we need to create a good business environment. One of its conditions is easy access for those in business in our respective countries. In this regard we have agreed to finalise as quickly as possible the agreement on visa-free travel for those engaged in business, and for the citizens of our countries more generally. I hope that in the very near future we will witness the signing of this document, which will certainly facilitate contacts between our business elites and the citizens of our countries.
I applaud the major projects that we discussed with Mrs President, I mean the ones in the field of energy. In addition to the agreement in the field of nuclear energy that we just signed, we are looking ahead to the possibility of developing cooperation in the gas sector, including talks about creating a new pipeline that will link Argentina and Bolivia. This is an interesting project.
We expect that we will come to an agreement on the basic conditions for carrying out this project, and it will be done in a way that will permanently resolve the problems that exist among our colleagues in other Latin American countries.
There are a number of other major energy projects in which Russian companies such as Rosneft and Rosatom (which signed a document today) are ready to participate. Today we also talked about agreements that have been implemented at the interface between actual energy issues and transportation issues. Laying the groundwork for the implementation of these projects has already begun.
A separate issue on which we are already working well, working steadily and intensively, is cooperation in the agricultural sector. This cooperation is non-discriminatory and mutually beneficial. And in the course of the discussions I had with Mrs President in our private talks, we talked about keeping in mind two sets of interests as far as agricultural trade is concerned. By this I mean of course protecting domestic producers, on the one hand, and the interests of national consumers, on the other. And this should be a constant concern if we want to build relations in the agricultural sphere in the future. Then these relations will be profitable and mutually beneficial. I am sure that this will happen.
In addition cooperation at the regional level is of course very important. We welcome here the governors who represent the provinces of Argentina, and we are counting on the continued growth of interregional contacts as a result of visits by the leaders of our regions. Such visits will naturally be supplemented by those of our citizens, by the development of tourism and by everything related to interregional cooperation and simple human interaction.
Of course an important component in all this will be our cooperation in the educational and cultural spheres. We will make every effort to develop cooperation in this area.
A separate set of problems that Mrs President and I discussed in depth was the situation in the world, including the global financial crisis. We discussed this issue earlier in Washington, where we actually signed a very important document.
Today we agreed that the signing of that declaration was only the beginning: what’s important is not good intentions but workable solutions. I hope that these workable solutions will be found at the latest in April during the first phase of the next summit of the G-20, which will be held in London. We are going to coordinate our positions, because we view the world’s problems in similar ways and believe absolutely that first and foremost the world must be multipolar.
The dominance of one state – the largest, the most powerful or the most successful – is in any case unacceptable; the international financial architecture should take into account the interests of all nations. Of course this is why we must create safeguards so that events in the market of this or that nation do not interrupt economic growth, or create difficulties, or whip up inflation or, conversely, create situations in which production drops off.
All this should be taken into account in preparing the next summit. In this regard, we are prepared to cooperate fully and work in every possible way with our Argentinian partners and friends.
I would also like to say that, in order to develop these relations we must of course establish a strategic partnership with the Republic of Argentina. This is absolutely essential, and this is now a real possibility. During recent visits to some of the states in Latin America, we discussed these issues with our other colleagues and with the leaders of these Latin American countries.
I think that the Russian side's position today is to work in every possible way in Latin America, to cooperate with nations with whom we have friendly, partnership relations. We are not working against anyone, but we would like to promote cooperation on all fronts: economic and military cooperation, as well as cooperation in the field of the environment, agriculture and foreign policy coordination.
If we can create the framework for cooperation, then I am sure that the world will be more stable, and our relations with our Latin American friends will provide the whole world with a good model for relations.
I would like to sincerely thank my colleague, President of Argentina Mrs Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, for her visit to the Russian Federation and hope that we will continue our work in the future.
President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (translated from Russian): Thank you very much for those words, Mr President of the Russian Federation.
Ladies and gentlemen! It is indeed difficult to imagine a more fruitful official visit as President of the Republic of Argentina than the one I have just enjoyed.
I came here with a lot of business representatives, accompanied by more than 100 businesspeople. At a meeting with business representatives from Argentina and Russia, at which I met and chatted with the head of RSPP [Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs], we talked about creating new areas in which we might cooperate, which would certainly enable us to deepen our relations, relations that are already on the increase.
This is all about trade between our countries. And as Mr President rightly said, we must deepen these relations: it is imperative that the figures mentioned increase by a factor of 10 or 15. We must not limit ourselves to purely trade ties, but rather move into areas such as technology in the nuclear energy field and in space. We need to discuss cooperation and partnership in the energy sector, the mining sector, agriculture and livestock breeding.
As you know, my country, the Republic of Argentina, has made huge strides in the technology used in agriculture and breeding livestock. We also have experience in peaceful nuclear energy, perhaps the most extensive experience in Latin America. So the documents that we signed today will certainly help us achieve these objectives and enable us to concentrate on deepening our relations. Of course these relations should not be commercial only.
We need to understand the importance of trade between nations, between the private sectors of nations. But beyond this I believe that we need to develop policies on how we see our new world, how we see relations in the world, not only economic relations but political relations too, because these two areas are closely linked. It is impossible to separate economics from politics and it is impossible to separate politics from economics. This is something that was recently tried in the world: saying that politics had nothing to do with the economy or, vice versa, that the state has nothing to do with the market, and so on.
Everything in this world is interdependent, as this crisis proves, since not we, not the countries represented here, were responsible for it. Russia, Argentina and a large number of other countries have contributed to economic growth in the world, to the growth of the world’s GDP. But now without any doubt we are faced with the consequences of a failed policy, or let us say with the effects of a policy that came into being in a world in which one state or a small number of states decide for the others, decide for all the other states.
For this reason during the meeting of the G-20 in Washington Russia and Argentina presented their points of view, and many of them are reflected in the document that came out of it. As Mr President rightly said, we should not be satisfied with merely good intentions: we must achieve concrete results and the deepening of our relations.
Relations between Russia and Argentina should be based on a new conception of international relations in politics and economics. So far relations in the international arena in both politics and economics have been guided by the principle of inferiority, where the powerful states get to impose their policies in the economic sphere and in the security sphere, and the rest of the countries of the world must accept these policies. It does not work anymore in either the security sphere or the economic sphere.
The entire planet is paying for the results that we see today, which is why the notion of inferiority in economic matters and in politics must give way to the idea of cooperation. This concept is different from the one we had before, it's a new concept of building relations in the world. I think that it is a model that Argentina and Russia want to follow, and this model works with, fits well with this concept of cooperation.
This strategic alliance is consistent with the concept of partnership in industry and technology. I think these are the key elements of our relationship. Mr President just listed the very important projects in the energy sector and the ones related to transportation, like the Trans-Andes raieway, a vital project. I just talked about this with Mr President.
I said that one of our businessmen, someone who signed one of the documents, was the inspiration for this project, since in all of Latin America’s production, food production, the production of energy, one coast is connected to the another, and this link is forged by river transport, maritime transport and rail transport. And this can have a positive impact on competitiveness, and reduce transport costs, energy costs and the costs of agricultural production.
This is indeed a breakthrough, a revolutionary project (I apologise for using the word revolutionary). We do not want revolutions in the world, but Russia has had some experience with them. I think that what we are doing here, I in my capacity as President of Argentina and my colleague as President of Russia, is developing a new form of partnership between our countries.
In a world that must be multilateral and multipolar, we need to reformulate the rules in the field of economics, in finance and international security. But it would also be nice if these reformulated rules would apply to all, that is, if all countries were to observe them.
Because up until now there have been rules, for example those of the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations, which small and weak countries were obliged to obey. This applied to rules concerning the world’s monetary and financial matters or decisions taken by the UN. But as a rule these decisions were not respected by those who had power and authority.
It is bad to live in a world without rules, but it is even worse to live in a world where the rules are mandatory only for some, for the weak, while the powerful of this world constantly violate the rules.
I think that today you and I can see the results of such a structure. We must not go through this again, we must adopt other methods. Albert Einstein, a great man (I spoke of this at the G-20) said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Therefore, our challenge is to do something different, to build another world, a better world. I am sure that Russia and Argentina will be active players in that world, in a better world.
Thank you very much.