Russian President Vladimir Putin:
Dear Mr Sezer! Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues! First of all I would like to thank our Turkish friends for their warm welcome and the excellent organisation of our summit meeting.
The increasing economic potential of the countries of the Black Sea region has resulted in the region’s steadily increasing role in today’s world. A significant number of members of the international community are paying increased attention to our organisation’s activities. I shall emphasise that Russia is in favour of cooperation with all interested parties in the Black Sea region.
Despite its obvious successes we consider that the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Organisation’s potential has yet to be fulfilled and that it is too early to talk about establishing new structures. And while we are open to partnership we must recognise that internal consolidation and integration processes must be as effective as possible to allow us to reap important benefits from our geographic situation.
Today we face the very widest variety of tasks: from ensuring economic growth to conserving the Black Sea’s ecosystem and its unique cultural heritage. And we all bear responsibility for accomplishing these tasks and for the stability and prosperity of our shared home.
Improving the economic output of BSEC activities remains a key challenge. Increasing business ties will act as a solid foundation for strengthening trust and good neighbourly relations in the region. And the Russian BSEC presidency from May to October 2006 focused on precisely these issues. As a result, there are now good prospects for improving transport infrastructure in the region and for better links with European and Asian transport arteries. We are in favour of restoring passenger and ferry services between Black Sea ports. Along with this we were able to increase cooperation in fields such as energy, eliminating the consequences of emergency situations, combating organised crime, communications and tourism. We are prepared for further work in environmental issues, education, customs regulation, culture and health care.
Ensuring reliable energy supplies is becoming more and more important. In connection with this we suggest increasing the stability of the Black Sea region’s energy markets, including by introducing more long-term contracts. Diversifying energy routes, introducing new insurance policies, and better sharing partners’ financial risks through the exchange of assets are also on the agenda.
Together with our partners, we are ready to continue accomplishing major tasks that will affect not only the region’s economic well-being but also that of European and global economies.
My dear colleagues and partners, the main issue to which I would like to draw your attention is that all our projects — both large and small — must be economically viable and benefit from adequate resources. Otherwise, this would simply amount to empty talk and, eventually, disappointment.
Together with other BSEC members Russia intends to vigorously pursue projects such as the Black Sea electricity chain and participate in forming an open space and energy market in the region.
We have great expectations that the BSEC Parliamentary Assembly, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, the BSEC Business Council and the International Centre for Black Sea Studies will help us improve the quality of our cooperation.
New horizons are opening up in relations in the cultural and educational spheres, including in sports. The first Black Sea Games that will be held in July 2007 in Trabzon act as an example of this.
As you know the Russian city Sochi is one of the candidates to host the 2014 Olympics. We plan to establish a world-class centre for winter sports open to both Russian and foreign athletes in Sochi before this date. And we are thankful to BSEC members of parliament for supporting Sochi’s candidature to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. Of course we intend to build a truly world-class centre there and our neighbours will always be welcome, especially since it will not be far away.
Dear summit participants!
In conclusion I would emphasise that today I expect to see you restate your determination to strengthen the BSEC and thereby allow the Organisation to truly act as an effective instrument in accomplishing the economic and social tasks that face our countries.