Question: Vladimir Vladimirovich, how would you characterise the results of this visit? Of course we are less interested in political cooperation than we are in economic and military-technical cooperation, and in commercial arrangements more generally.
Russian President Vladimir Putin: First of all I would like to say that we are pleased with the outcome of this visit. This visit has been on the agenda for a long time, and we have agreed on some long overdue steps in the political and economic spheres. Suffice it to say that the talks to resolve the problems related to debt have been going on for several years, most intensively in the last year and a half.
We are satisfied with the way in which this problem has been resolved. I am absolutely convinced that we have come up with a plan that will benefit both the Russian and the Libyan economy, and the Russian and the Libyan people. We will use this plan not simply as a way of creating business for Russian defense companies and to increase Libya’s defensive capabilities, but also as a way to meet the challenges in the civil sphere, in particular in dealing with a major challenge that confronts the Libyan leadership, the development of infrastructure.
On the other hand it will benefit one of our largest companies, Russian Railways, which in the Russian Federation is important in manufacturing and the economy more generally, as well as in performing a social role: I mean in transporting passengers. Up to this point the state has not been of much help to this company, which has had to bear a large portion of its operating costs.
I don’t want to downplay the importance of agreements in other areas. Let me draw to your attention the fact that we signed ten agreements, including several large contracts.
In the political sphere, I would remind you that in 2008–2009 Libya will be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This creates new opportunities to expand our cooperation in the international arena, and to tackle together with our Libyan partners major international issues in different parts of the world, including those with a large explosive potential. We shall also work on the development of the United Nations itself.
In addition to everything else, I must say that I am grateful to the leader of the Libyan revolution for the warm welcome. It is perfectly clear that the Libyan leadership is committed to actively engaging with Russia in all areas of our cooperation. I wish to convey my most sincere gratitude to the Libyan people.