Question: The Kazakhstan delegation and the President of Kazakhstan have completed their first official visit at the invitation of the Russian President since he came to office, and this is very important for us. We in Kazakhstan consider this to be a historic visit and I believe that all the tasks set before the meeting and before these negotiations have been fulfilled. The Kazakhstan side is fully satisfied with the results of the talks.
Vladimir Putin: <…> Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will work with the heads of the CIS countries, the prime ministers, foreign ministers and defence ministers. It is a major CIS event. But we would not like to lump together the visit by the Kazakhstan President and the major event in the former Soviet Union to be held tomorrow and the day after.
We see the visit by the President of Kazakhstan as a separate event. We attach great importance to this visit. We appreciate the fact that the President and the Prime Minister have accepted our invitation and have come to Moscow. We had an opportunity to discuss all the issues of interest to Kazakhstan and to Russia in a very relaxed, but also very appropriate business atmosphere.
I want to stress that we have managed to discuss international problems, the coordination of the actions of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation at international organisations, and “hot spots” problems. <…> At the previous meeting of the heads of state Nursultan Abishevich [Nazarbayev] launched this initiative [of setting up an international Anti-Terrorist Centre – ed.], and I must say that this initiative is being put into practice. The Centre has been set up. We can report that the necessary negotiations have been held there and premises have been found in Moscow, the financing matters have been solved and the ideology of the Centre’s activity has been determined. It is an important practical step in combining the efforts of the states in this area of key importance to all of us.
We have discussed bilateral relations, above all in the economic sphere. We have noted progress on some key issues, notably in the field of energy where tangible progress has been made. After our meeting in Astana we agreed to combine the efforts of RAO UES Russia and the corresponding Kazakhstan facilities. These agreements have got things moving. And now what had been created in the former Soviet Union and has been in disuse in recent years is working again.
Kazakhstan raised a number of issues of concern to it in terms of its national energy interests seeking to make our relations more predictable for Kazakhstan. We think this is a fair approach.
We are satisfied with the talks and I subscribe to the assessment given by the President of Kazakhstan.
Question: Can it be said that all the issues connected with Baikonur have been settled?
Nursultan Nazarbayev: You can never solve all the problems at one go. As Vladimir Vladimirovich said, if all the problems were to be solved now what would we do the next time we met? So, it is the trend that matters, but in the future environmental issues will be raised very forcefully. I think it is in the interests both of Russia and Kazakhstan.
Our agreement is as follows. Our treaty signed for a term of 20 years (15 years still to go), stipulates that if neither side has objections it is automatically extended by 10 years every time. So, no one has expressed any objections so far.
It is another question that Kazakhstan is raising the issue and the Russian side, including the Space Agency, is showing an understanding. Documents have been signed on Kazakhstan’s participation in commercial launches. We have a programme: Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan will together build rockets with non-polluting fuel. Moreover, young people from Kazakhstan are being trained and the Kazakhstan Air Force is guarding the Baikonur space launching site and so on.
Vladimir Putin: Nursultan Abishevich has provided exhaustive answers to all the questions and I have very little to add. I would like to emphasise that it is a facility that is being used jointly. It is not just used by Russia, it is used also by Kazakhstan. We have agreed and set it down on paper that such use will continue on a long-term basis, Baikonur will continue to be used in the light of what the President of Kazakhstan has said. Namely, Kazakhstan will increase its participation in research, training, and the use of its armed forces for security. There are many other areas in which the Kazakhstan side will not only be present, while Russia uses the launching site, but will increasingly be involved in the process of use. It will not only collect rent, but will get comprehensive returns as an equal party to the exploration of outer space in the broadest meaning of the word.
As for tariffs for pipelines, gas pipelines and other transport – there exist several tariffs and prices: internal tariffs of the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, international tariffs and tariffs fixed under separate contracts and agreements. I don’t know exactly whether the internal Russian tariff is higher or lower than the internal tariff of Kazakhstan. According to my information, the internal tariff in Kazakhstan is higher than that in Russia. If our partners are telling us that we should carry goods at internal Russian tariffs, that should be the subject of commercial negotiations. Perhaps it can be done in some cases. We believe we should work towards measures proposed by the President of Kazakhstan as a whole, and I think his approach is very sound and economically valid. We need common customs borders and a common economic space where such issues will be addressed in a uniform way. We will move in that direction.