President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen!
Our talks with the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mt Badawi, have just ended. In keeping with tradition they took place in a trusting atmosphere and were very fruitful.
I will say at once that this year our countries are celebrating the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations and over that time we have been able to establish a truly strong partnership, a partnership based on the principles of mutual respect, equality and considerateness. And it is very important that today we again confirmed our willingness to expand our multifaceted partnership and outlined new directions for our cooperation.
Among ASEAN countries, Malaysia is one of Russia’s major trading partners. And therefore further developing Russian-Malaysian economic relations was a major point on our agenda. Our trade is growing steadily. Last year our trade amounted to more than 1,1 billion dollars and in the first quarter of 2007 the Russian figures show it to have grown by another 62 percent.
Our priorities involve developing investment cooperation, including cooperation in the fuel and energy sector. In this respect a progressively stronger partnership between Gazprom, Rosneft, and the Malaysian company Petronas is very significant. Military-technical cooperation, cooperation in the high-tech sector and in space exploration are all areas that have important potential for increasing our cooperation.
You know that the first Malaysian astronaut is presently being trained in Russia. It is planned that he will travel to the International Space Station with a Russian crew as early as October 2007.
Fortunately our relations in educational and cultural spheres are growing stronger every year. The peoples of Malaysia and Russia are increasingly interested in one another and field such as tourism and cultural and youth exchanges are actively developing.
More than two thousand Malaysian students and doctoral students are presently studying in Russian universities. I think that this so-called human factor is the key to the successful development of friendly relations between our two nations.
Our talks also confirmed the close nature of our attitudes towards important international issues. We highly value cooperation with Malaysia in the Asian-Pacific region. We place particular value on Malaysia’s partnership with Russia in influential and authoritative forums such as ASEAN and APEC.
Today we discussed a wide range of global and regional issues. Current issues include the situation in the Middle East, Iran’s nuclear dossier, and normalising the situation in Iraq.
During the talks we exchanged opinions concerning further developing the dialogue between civilisations and religions, including within the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
In conclusion I would like to emphasise once again how satisfied we are with the results of our talks. Mr Badawi and I endorsed the Joint Statement by the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of Malaysia. I am sure that its contents will allow us to seriously develop our partnership and bring our cooperation to an entirely new level.
I want to thank Mr Prime Minister for creating an atmosphere of goodwill, a trusting environment, and for the friendly atmosphere that reigned during our contacts today.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Prime Minister of Malaysia Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (translated from a simultaneous translation into Russian): Thank you very much Mr President. I would like to say how satisfied I am with the results of our conversation today, as well as the conversation between our ministries. Judging by the ideas we developed, these discussions have been productive. I would like to emphasise not only the cooperation we already engage in, but also the fact that we are embarking in new types of cooperation. The 40 years of Malaysian-Russian diplomatic relations have been fruitful but it was only recently — literally a few years ago — that our economic, trade, investment and technical cooperation really grew. The decision to accept our suggestion to send a Malaysian astronaut to space so that Malaysia could participate in the field of space exploration is also an important one.
In addition, we have observed increasing cooperation in the oil and gas sectors. There are certainly even more possibilities for such cooperation, and Petronas is satisfied by its partnership with a Russian oil company. We expect to participate in many similar projects in oil and gas exploration and production.
We believe that we could create many opportunities and particularly opportunities for our young people in the field of technical cooperation. Many young Malaysians are presently studying in Russia, particularly in medical institutions of higher education. We expect that even more Malaysian students will receive an education in Russia in the future. We have also decided to establish a Joint [Intergovernmental] Commission in order to accelerate the implementation of the many programmes we have already created. And as per usual, this joint commission will meet twice a year: once in Malaysia and once in Russia. This commission will play a catalysing role in ensuring that the decisions our governments make — decisions made by heads of governments or heads of departments — will be implemented as soon as possible.
We are also pleased that we will sign a number of agreements on topics such as investment guarantees, avoiding double taxation, and protecting intellectual property rights. These are very important agreements that pave the way for more cooperation between our countries. We also made concrete proposals about sending our athletes to Russia to receive training for specific sports. We should also cooperate in developing sports medicine. I think that Russia is satisfied with our request and will help us with this training.
We also discussed regional issues — we placed special emphasis on the Middle East — and have similar attitudes towards these issues. Of course even in this area we would like to see peace and stability. We must continue to cooperate. We must make every possible effort to ensure that we achieve these goals.
As a whole I would like to say that I am very satisfied with the results of today's discussion.