Question: Good afternoon. Your meeting was something of a surprise – at least, to the press. What did you talk about?
Nursultan Nazarbayev: During my official visit to the UK, I telephoned Mr Putin to arrange a meeting with him in Moscow on my way home. When we met in Astana, Mr Putin said we would meet in person and exchange telephone calls more often to discuss current problems. The Russian and Kazakh people should, I think, get used to leaders of two friendly allied countries seeing each other as ordinary people do. What do you think?
Voice From The Audience: It’s a good thing!
Nursultan Nazarbayev: That was Mr Putin’s initiative… I have brought him warm greetings from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who intends to visit Russia next week… I know and feel that contacts between the British and Russian leaders are very friendly.
Vladimir Putin: As I can add, we have really devoted a part of our summit to coordinating our efforts on the international scene. The Kazakh President told me about his European tour, and I told him about my meetings in Brunei. Mr Nazarbayev appeared very interested. That was natural, with Kazakhstan and Russia’s proximity to that region. The President needed to know the outcome of discussions in Brunei.
Second. As you know, Russian-Kazakh economic integration has risen to a new level. So we discussed the implementation of existing Russian-Kazakh economic integration agreements and raised a number of bilateral issues in other spheres: contacts in the social sphere, professional training, cultural exchanges, and so on. These were the subjects we discussed.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: I would like to add that we also talked about the promotion of our newly established economic and customs community, the EurAsEC, while I am its President. We have announced its establishment. Now, the new organisation must get on a practical footing. I hope Russia’s State Duma will ratify the relevant agreement in December. If it does, we will make smooth progress to implementing all the decisions made.
We had a detailed exchange of opinions on developments in the CIS. Its Council of Heads of State is meeting in Minsk on December 1. The CIS is a vitally important organisation. We agree on that point. The Commonwealth must survive, make progress, and gradually become what we need it as the whole world is striving to integrate to every country’s benefit. I think we will come to that concept of the CIS. As for bilateral relations, we discussed military-technical cooperation under the Collective Security Treaty, buttressing the Anti-Terror Centre, and problems of the Caspian region and of oil and gas transportation. In short, we talked about things Presidents are supposed to discuss when they meet. We talked about our relations and our countries’ goals. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the Saudi Arabian Prince recently visited Astana. I think what I had to tell about our talks was of interest to Mr Putin. Kazakhstan aspires to join the APEC someday, and we hope Russia will support our membership claim.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev has said everything there was to say. I have nothing to add.