President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Mr Chairman of the Senate! Dear Mr Chairman of the Congress of Deputies!
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
I am sincerely glad to address the deputies of the Cortes Generales. Over more than 30 years this representative body has demonstrated the impressive gains of modern Spanish democracy. The Cortes Generales have done much to strengthen the Spanish political system and promote its development into a modern rule-of-law state, one that can achieve stability and harmony in your society. Thanks to balanced and constructive work you have earned the respect of your citizens and become an example for parliamentarians in many other countries. There is a great deal of respect in Russia for the contribution Spanish legislators have made to the development of friendly relations between our countries. Thanks to your efforts our political contacts have markedly intensified and become more inclusive: in fact, they largely set the tone for our day-to-day relations.
Russia and Spain are very serious and reliable, and I would dare to express my conviction that they are also very promising partners. This is confirmed by the intense political contacts between our nations, between individual elements of our political systems, between individual elements of our democratic systems. And over the past few years mutual trade has grown almost fivefold and last year exceeded 9 billion dollars; this is also visible proof that contacts between our countries — in the business, political, cultural and educational spheres – are expanding and growing stronger.
I am confident that we shall have every opportunity to engage in continuous and constructive cooperation, including by coordinating our actions in the international arena for the benefit of European and world security more closely.
Our inter-parliamentary ties have played and will continue to play an important role in these processes. I am referring to cooperation between the leadership of our respective parliaments, professional committees and parliamentary commissions, and joint projects and programmes. This happens not only in the framework of our bilateral relations, but also within international organisations.
The work of the Cortes Generales, as well as the work of the Russian Federal Assembly — our Parliament – is especially in demand with regards to improving the legal framework of our bilateral and international relations. We hope that our parliaments will elaborate an appropriate legal framework for the development of a Russian-Spanish dialogue.
I would like to say that during this state visit (and this is especially gratifying for me) we have been talking about signing a very serious, important package of agreements. The most important element, or mainstay of these agreements is a declaration of strategic partnership. It broadens the horizons of our cooperation in virtually all directions and may indeed become the prelude to a new treaty.
I would note a number of other agreements that have a direct influence on international law and implications for international politics – they include an agreement on Spanish military transit to Afghanistan, which was initiated by Spain and is part of a broader collaboration between the Russian Federation and the North Atlantic Alliance. Our nations are equally interested in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Russia is ready to contribute to these relations and do its part to assist the Spanish contingent currently operating in Afghanistan.
The upper chambers of our respective Parliaments could also play a special role in enhancing ties between Russian and Spanish autonomous regions, especially since there are already a number of good projects, good developments. Regular contacts have been established between Moscow and Madrid, the Nizhny Novgorod Region and Catalonia. On the Russian side the Leningrad, Saratov and Penza Regions have all demonstrated their interest in closer cooperation as have Aragon, Valencia and Galicia on the Spanish side.
Direct communication between regions — that is, joint projects, joint ventures, cooperation between businesses, and not only large ones, (something which, of course, is very important in our relationship) but also between small and medium businesses, is what actually cements our relationship. And we expect to pay the utmost attention to these issues in the future.
I am confident that Spanish and Russian members of Parliament will continue to regularly synchronize their watches on the most topical issues on the international agenda and in our bilateral relations.
I wish you fruitful work, significant new advances for the benefit of Spain, and in promoting the very best partnership relations between our countries.
I would like to sincerely thank you for having invited me to give this brief talk and to visit one of the most famous and longstanding Parliaments in Europe.