Russian President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Prime Minister! Dear colleagues and friends!
Allow me to welcome you to Moscow.
Shall we do this without translation?
Prime Minister of Mongolia Sanj Bayar: Sure.
Vladimir Putin: I am very pleased to see you. You worked a long time in the Russian capital as Mongolia's ambassador, and it must be said that during that time our relationship has been strengthened, including in the economic sphere.
We have not yet reached the level that it was in the Soviet period, but trade is increasing at an impressive rate: 20–25 percent annually. And the scope of activities in various areas is expanding. Today Mongolia has tremendous capacity in the field of livestock — more than 40 million cattle — and these are now in demand on world markets and in Russia.
It is gratifying to note that during your visit to Moscow more than ten agreements were signed concerning our joint efforts, including cooperation in the field of agriculture. I am sure that the goal the President of Mongolia [Nambaryn Enkhbayar] and I set at our previous meeting in Moscow in 2006, a trade turnover worth a billion dollars, can and will be reached in short order.
We are very glad to see you. Welcome.
Sanj Bayar: Thank you, Mr. President. I am delighted with this opportunity to see you again in a new capacity.
We have spent two working days in Moscow, days of meetings and intensive negotiations. We are very glad that the talks have been conducted in a businesslike manner: we have signed a package of important agreements. They will expand our traditional cooperation in various fields.
Overall political dialogue between our countries has reached a very high level, and there is a continuous exchange of delegations. We also note with satisfaction the intensification of military and technical cooperation.
On this occasion, I would like to express on behalf of the government of Mongolia our gratitude our for Russia's assistance in upgrading and modernising our armed forces and for training our military personnel. This is very important for us. We have a record of good relations, and we are interested in developing this area of cooperation.
I was telling the Prime Minister [Victor Zubkov] and would like to extend to you our immense gratitude for the grain deliveries last winter. We asked our Russian friends to supply us with grain, and to supply us with petroleum products at reduced prices. Winter has passed and the people are happy.
We were glad to hear that the government of Russia has decided to provide Mongolia with 100 thousand tonnes of grain at a favourable price. Previously Mongolia supplied its own wheat. We are no longer able to do so, but we hope with the help of Russian farmers and our friends in Russia's Ministry of Agriculture that in the coming years Mongolia will become a self-sufficient country, at least in the area of wheat.
Within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission, chaired by the Minister of Agriculture Aleksei Gordeev, who enjoys the status of a special representative of the President of Russia, we are addressing many issues facing Mongolia today, including investment in new areas.
The Mongolian Government is planning to put into circulation some of the country's mineral deposits. We have not made much progress with a law on mineral resources. In the absence of a sound legal basis it is difficult to come to an agreement with our partners on the conditions of cooperation. I hope that this spring we will finish the job, and that we will have a solid, reliable legal framework.
Vladimir Putin: When are the elections?
Sanj Bayar: They are in late June, but we have a agreement in principle with the various political parties that the issues surrounding the development of these deposits should be resolved according to the rules set out in current policies. That is, we don't want to raise issues during the run-up to the elections that are directly linked to the partnership of cooperation and development with Mongolia.
Vladimir Putin: Our experience of concerted action in these fields has been very positive. Three of our joint enterprises — Erdenet [Mining Corporation], Mongolrostsvetmet [a fluorspar and gold mining company] and the Ulan Bator Railway provide almost 20 percent of Mongolia's GDP. This is a good example of effective cooperation. Nevertheless, much needs to be done so that the facilities available are used more effectively and our joint experience can be used in the development of new deposits. And here I agree with you: we should have a good legal basis for long-term cooperation in this field.