President Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,
Sergei Viktorovich, let’s begin with your meeting with your Ukrainian colleagues. As far as I know, this was a meeting in which the regional authorities from the border regions also took part.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: The meeting took place last week, on October 18–19, in Belgorod. Regional leaders from the border regions and customs, migration, and transport officials from both sides were present at the meeting. The meeting was useful and produced some good work. We clarified a whole number of issues of interest to the regions in terms of practical steps for developing direct ties, and a number of decisions were outlined. We will report separately on the decisions that require the Government’s action.
A proposal was put forward – which we support – on complementing the Intergovernmental Commission that you and the President of Ukraine established with a body that would work on developing inter-regional ties. This request came above all from our regions, but our Ukrainian colleagues have also expressed their support. I think it is a good idea and we will present a positive report.
Vladimir Putin: You also have this visit to China coming up, don’t you?
Sergei Lavrov: Yes, tomorrow I will be visiting Japan, and the day after tomorrow trilateral talks between the Russian, Chinese and Indian foreign ministers will take place in Harbin.
Vladimir Putin: I spoke just recently with the new Japanese Prime Minister. He and all of his colleagues are awaiting yours and [Deputy Prime Minister] Naryshkin’s visit. I ask you to prepare appropriately. Despite the domestic political events in Japan itself, we and our Japanese colleagues have agreed that our work should proceed without any glitches. Our partners are pursuing just this kind of work, this kind of cooperation, and we must ensure that there are no glitches on our side either.
And Alexander Dmitryevich, you are leaving for Venezuela, isn’t that so?
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov: Yes, I am leaving for Venezuela on Wednesday to take part in a meeting of the Russia-Venezuela Intergovernmental Commission. There is a lot of interest at the moment, especially in our business community, in projects in Venezuela. As you know, they have a lot of mineral resources there. Our companies are working actively now with the Venezuelans on oil and gas production. There are also some important projects in the aluminium sector and a very promising gas pipeline construction project.
Vladimir Putin: In Brazil?
Alexander Zhukov: Yes, the Trans-American pipeline from Venezuela across practically the whole continent to Brazil. Gazprom is currently involved in talks. The Venezuelans are interested in having our companies come in with both investment and technology.
There are also a number of interesting machine-building projects. KamAZ, for example, has plans to organise assembly operations together with the Venezuelans. Overall, we have a big business delegation going to take part. We have established a business council with the Venezuelans and we hope that our cooperation will develop.
Vladimir Putin: Good, you can tell us all about it when you come back, because this is really one of the most promising countries in terms of organising economic cooperation and it offers many opportunities for our companies.