President Vladimir Putin:
This is the Russian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission’s second meeting. The Commission first met in December 2006 in Kiev. Many events have taken place since then that have had a considerable impact on the nature and dynamic of our cooperation. Today we will analyse the results of the work that has been done. Our main task is not only to identify and take note of the current issues but also to outline directions for the future development of our bilateral relations.
Relations with Ukraine are of particular significance for Russia. Ukraine is one of our biggest trade and economic partners. Trade between our countries increased by approximately 20 percent last year and reached a figure of $32 billion. I think there are good opportunities for developing cooperation in areas such as nuclear energy, space, aircraft manufacturing, and the agriculture sector.
A large share of our oil and gas exports cross Ukrainian territory. Not only is it in the interests of our two countries to ensure conscientious compliance with current agreements and maintain stable and predictable relations in this sector; this is also of considerable importance for ensuring Europe’s energy security. Working together in the energy sector and carrying out important joint projects will not only help to strengthen the ties between our two countries but will also contribute to integration throughout the entire Eurasian continent. Despite the current difficulties, it is entirely within our means to take our cooperation to a new level and establish a real strategic partnership between our countries. I am sure that this would be in the fundamental and long-term interests of both Ukraine and Russia. We already have the necessary objective conditions and the required technological and management resources. The main thing now is to mobilise political will.
Russia and Ukraine share not only close economic ties but also a common history and close cultural ties. I think that this can help us develop our bilateral relations successfully. As large European countries, Russia and Ukraine have an important share of responsibility for stability and security in Europe, and this is also part of our ongoing dialogue. I discussed all of this today with the Ukrainian President. We hope that through a process of constructive dialogue we will be able to examine all the different areas of our cooperation and find all the necessary solutions.
We need to work not only on finding remedies for the problems we face – and there are such – but also on establishing a constructive dialogue that engages our citizens with a clear and positive common agenda in order to bring about genuinely respectful and fruitful development of the partnership between Russia and Ukraine. I think that the initiative the Ukrainian President proposed on organising this kind of cooperation is very productive.
President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko:
This, the second meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Intergovernmental Commission, is an important event in the history of our two countries.
We have justified expectations for practical results from the Commission’s work. Ukraine is intent on doing everything it can to ensure that the Commission is active and effective.
I am pleased to report that during the time accorded for our one-on-one meeting, we went through every one of the 26 items on our work programme for 2008.
We have said on many occasions that there are no problems in our relations for which solutions cannot be found. I am sure that today, too, we will continue our good tradition as partners and find mutually acceptable solutions to the many important issues that concern our cooperation.
These issues include delimitation of marine territory in the Sea of Azov, the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait, demarcation of the state border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation (much has already been accomplished at previous meetings of our bilateral commission), and reaching a settlement on all of the issues regarding the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s presence on Ukrainian territory. We need to come up with the optimum formula for moving ahead together.
The strategic partnership between our countries is in need of a new quality of development and depth. We propose focusing our efforts on the following priorities.
The first priority is all-round efforts to activate our trade and economic cooperation. Both sides note the good dynamic in development of our trade ties. Our trade turnover stood at $26 billion and the services sector is developing well. It is in the interests of both countries to bring our trade policy in line with World Trade Organisation rules and standards. As we see it, restrictive measures on trade do not facilitate positive development of trade relations.
The second priority is reciprocal protection on a parity basis for the humanitarian and social rights of our citizens both in the Russian Federation and in Ukraine.
The third priority is to carry out the important joint projects we had the opportunity of discussing today with the Russian President.
The fourth priority is active cooperation in ensuring general European energy security.
The fifth priority is working together to help settle regional conflicts and support peace and stability. This was also something we discussed in considerable detail today.
We confirm our sincere readiness to develop the strategic partnership between Ukraine and Russia and are firmly committed to achieving concrete results from our cooperation.