President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Colleagues! Ladies and gentlemen!
Let's begin our work. We have set up a simultaneous translation for those who need it.
First of all, I would like to welcome all of you to Moscow and to thank you for having come here to talk about a very important and topical issue. The events that pushed us to meet are rather complex and, I would even say, extraordinary and our meeting was therefore urgently required.
Recently we – or at least many countries present here – have been forced to lay aside all other affairs and work on what we now refer to as the gas crisis. Unfortunately – and I would like to especially emphasize this point – unfortunately, these efforts have not yielded results and people who live in European countries, in many European countries, still do not have heat and the work of various manufacturing companies has been disrupted due to a shortage of energy supplies.
Clearly, however, the conflict that has arisen must be resolved as quickly as possible, despite the fact that previous efforts have not produced results. But in all likelihood a solution can be found (and this is my view, the point of view of the Russian Federation) through collective efforts, a solution that will ensure normal life in Europe, the reliability of gas transit to Europe and solve a number of other problems.
That is why I proposed to hold an international meeting in Moscow on ensuring Russian gas supplies to European countries and consumers. And the fact that you've arrived at such short notice, without preparation, in a flash, as we say in Russia, and accepted this invitation, shows and confirms your collective interest in quickly finding a way out of this situation and reaching certain results.
Of course there are different issues at stake, including questions about who is to blame and who will compensate for the losses that have been incurred. But perhaps these are not the main issues in the context of our meeting. It seems to me that there are two major issues here: first is the search, the collective search for solutions to the problem which remains ongoing; and second, perhaps equally important and what I see as the particular purpose of our meeting: the possibility of creating an effective, permanent international mechanism that will prevent such situations from occurring and enable normal gas transit to take place. And of course the creation of a mechanism that will encourage all parties to respect the rules for working together, to act on the basis of the agreements that have been signed and, if there is no such agreement, on the basis of some fixed set of rules.
The current crisis serves to prove that the current international controls governing this sort of situation are not effective, including international law in this regard. I can say frankly that in my view even the Energy Charter, which has been ratified by some but not all of the countries involved, is not adequate for resolving such issues, and we must think about a new sort of international agreement to prevent such problems in the future.
Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, we are of course looking forward to a direct, frank conversation, and most importantly to one that will produce results. The Russian Federation is ready to have such an exchange and we will do everything to ensure that the current crisis is resolved.