On the results of Russian-Austrian talks
The Federal Chancellor and I skied together for half a day. Naturally, we talked during that time, especially while riding on the ski lifts. Such person-to-person contacts help to solve a number of problems.
The Federal Chancellor of Austria proposed that Russia help to restore navigation along the Danube. Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and I talked to each other twice during this time and have decided that Russia will allocate money for restoring navigation along the Danube and will assist this process in several other ways. Russia, which is part of the Danube Group, will work to attain this goal and will contribute its share of funding. But we hope that favourable conditions will be created for our companies planning to bid in navigation-resumption tenders.
Much has been done in Austria to expand bilateral relations. We have agreed that Austria will receive fuel and energy on a long-term basis. This is good because Austria feels secure; and we also feel secure because we know where our guaranteed market is.
The Federal Chancellor and I also discussed cooperation in other spheres. In my opinion, this will also benefit our economy. We have signed many agreements; and we are focusing on cooperation between our respective regions. The Russian delegation included regional governors; and some of them, including the Governor of the Altai region, have signed cooperation agreements with their Austrian partners.
All my colleagues and I are quite happy with the results of our talks with our Austrian counterparts.
On talks with the Prime Minister of Slovenia, the President of Slovakia and the President of Latvia during President Putin’s visit to Austria
We had an opportunity to meet with the leaders of Slovakia and Slovenia, two other highly important Central European countries. Although nearly all regional countries are now striving to join the European Union and other international organisations, they remain our traditional economic and political partners. In spite of stagnant mutual economic relations, we believe that such relations can be expanded.
I had a very detailed, interesting and useful conversation with the Prime Minister of Slovenia. The President of Slovakia and I discussed economic issues. It is common knowledge that we have had problems transporting our fuel and energy via Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. Thank God, we have solved our problems with Ukraine and have reached an agreement with Poland. And now, we have also closed a deal with Slovakia.
I also had a very important meeting with the President of Latvia. It is my opinion that we should not sulk and keep silent. We are ready to negotiate and to tackle all problems, no matter how complicated.
Nobody can accuse us of conducting an imperial policy with regard to the Baltics. We have done nothing to suggest that Russia is implementing a rudimentary imperial policy. We have not introduced any restrictions, nor are we demanding any special privileges for our compatriots living in the Baltics, Latvia included. All we want is that they have the same rights as those enjoyed by EU minorities. This would prove quite enough for us and our compatriots in the Baltics.
(Courtesy of ITAR_TASS archives)