President Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen!
My regular meeting with the President Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbaev of Kazakstan has just concluded. As always, it was conducted in a businesslike, constructive manner. We discussed a wide range of issues concerning Russian-Kazakhstan cooperation.
But I would like to begin with the event that you have just witnessed, given its tripartite significance and strategic importance. We have just signed an exceptionally important agreement between Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on cooperation in the construction of Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline.
The creation of this new energy artery will provide major long-term gas supplies to our partners and will be a major new contribution to the strengthening of our countries’ energy security, not only in the Eurasian region, but also for our main consumers in Western Europe.
The importance of the signing of this tripartite document was underscored in the course of the telephone conversation that Nursultan Abishevich and I had today with the President of Turkmenistan. We reaffirmed our shared commitment to consistently implement existing agreements and to cooperate in the future.
As for bilateral issues, as you may know in recent years our strategic partnership has developed at an impressive rate. And we greatly appreciate such a dynamic and progressive development of our relations, and the multifaceted and fiduciary nature of our bilateral ties.
We discussed the implementation of Russia and Kazakstan’s joint action plan for 2007–2008. It includes a set of priority measures in Russian-Kazakhstan relations. And our overall assessment is that it has been implemented quite successfully.
Today, the focus of our attention involved the expansion of trade and economic cooperation.
The priority area of cooperation is still the fuel and energy sector. On the basis of existing agreements we have made serious efforts to extend cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. I have in mind the initiative of establishing an international centre for uranium enrichment, the establishment of several joint ventures and the advancement of major innovative projects in the field of atomic energy. There are serious plans to unite our efforts in world markets in this area. At the same time we intend to proceed with issues of integration with a long-range perspective, as I said.
We noted that we have made a good start in implementing joint projects in energy and metallurgical producing facilities. Here there has been real progress and we have agreed on the joint efforts that must be made.
We paid a lot of attention during the negotiations to the subject of outer space, as well as to new joint projects in the military-technical sphere, the development of transport infrastructure and co-operation in frontier zones.
We have re-emphasized the need to intensify the process of integration in the Eurasian area. Russia and Kazakhstan have always been the driving forces behind such integration. In particular, the second meeting in Astana this November of the creative and scientific intelligentsia from the countries of the Commonwealth [of Independent States] was a major impetus in the development of our cultural ties. Today we identified other new and practical steps for the promotion of our multilateral cooperation.
There was a serious exchange of views on the main international issues and on how to address them from a joint perspective. This will extend our cooperation in the international arena. The outcome of the recent meeting of OSCE in Madrid, at which Kazakhstan, with the backing of its supporters, was unconditionally chosen as head of OSCE, shows just how effective such coordinated action can be.
In conclusion, I wish to thank Nursultan Abishevich for his consistently constructive attitudes to the resolution of important problems. I am confident that the results of today's meeting will further strengthen the strategic partnership Russia and Kazakhstan.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich! Dear representatives of the media! The end of the year is a good time to take stock: the elections for the State Duma have been successful. I want to congratulate the President of Russia and Russians in general on this success. As a result, conditions have been created whereby you can take the programmes that are now very successful in the Russian Federation and move forward with confidence.
We are very grateful for the warm reception we have received. First and foremost in our relations we focused on the fuel and energy sector, the field of space exploration (joint endeavours at the Baikonur Space Launch Centre). We talked about expanding opportunities for the export of Kazakh oil through the Atyrau-Samara Pipeline. Negotiations between the various departments went well. We can increase the oil pumped through this pipeline from 10 to 20 million tonnes.
We have agreed in principle to expand the CTC [Caspian Pipeline Consortium] project and to include Kazakhstan in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis Pipeline Project. To make the CTC project successful and profitable, we need to invest as much as 67 million. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan will guarantee the 17 million already requested, but I don’t think there needs to be any linkage because we are behind schedule with the power station.
We discussed cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, particularly the construction of a nuclear power plant in the city of Aktau, as well as the further integration of our countries’ nuclear industries. We have an agreement in principle, and we have asked the relevant departments to reflect on this issue and report back by the summer of next year.
We touched on the issue of creating a route to facilitate the transport of goods between western Europe and western China. This would be a major project for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Such an agreement will be reached soon in Orenburg.
Regarding our cooperation in the area of outer space, we have talked about the possible flight of Kazakh cosmonauts who have all the necessary training [at the Cosmonaut Training Centre] in Star City, as well as training our students in Russian universities for space-oriented activities.
We were all present at the signing of the agreement on the Trans-Caspian Pipeline, which is a very important moment in the history of our cooperation.
We are ready to agree to the joint construction of the GRES-2 [State District Power Station −2] in Ekibastuz, together with the UES [United Energy Systems of Russia] in February. This is the biggest project. And the three oil fields in the Caspian Sea are also a reason for speeding up our joint activities. These are our joint projects.
At the talks, we focused in particular on the implementation of the joint plan of action on economic cooperation for 2007–2008.
Kazakhstan and Russia are rightly considered to be the driving forces behind many of the integration processes in the post-Soviet area. In Dushanbe, we agreed to establish a customs union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. There will be nine agreements ready to sign by the beginning of next year. In February, we could sign such a document, for example, in Kazakhstan.
The decision by the OSCE to make Kazkhstan its president in 2010 is a real achievement for our country. Once again I wish to express my gratitude to the Russian side for their faithful support of Kazakhstan’s application. We see this decision as a shared victory, and we will work to ensure that the organisation functions for the benefit of all its members on an equal footing.
The outcome of the negotiations allows me to express my great satisfaction with the state of and prospects for our countries’ bilateral relations. I am firmly convinced that the friendship and strategic partnership of Kazakhstan and Russia will continue to grow from year to year for the benefit of our peoples.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate once again the Russian side on the successful holding of elections to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of Russian Federation. Happy New Year to all Russians and I wish you prosperity, well-being and happiness in the coming year.