President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Atambayev, it is a great pleasure to see you, this time in St Petersburg.
As was agreed earlier, we are holding this separate meeting so as to go over our bilateral agenda, above all our trade and economic ties.
Of course, this is also an opportunity to discuss developments in the integration process and assess the situation today regarding our agreements on Kyrgyzstan’s smooth accession to the [Eurasian Economic Union].
As we have said many times, our ultimate goal is to help Kyrgyzstan’s economy adapt to those of its partners in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia. This is most certainly a feasible objective, and the sooner we settle these issues, the better.
President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev: We would like to have this process completed by May 9. You remember that this was the date we set. After all, we still have war veterans who remember the times when there were no customs borders. Of course, this is a good opportunity to discuss various matters on our agenda.
With your permission, I’d like to add for the media that Mr Putin just drove me around the grounds [of the Konstantinovsky Palace], and was at the wheel himself. I say this to dispel the rumours. I often hear various rumours about myself too, but as you can see, the rumours do not correspond to reality.
The President of Russia is not only on his feet but is at the wheel too, taking his guests for a drive, and so, as the saying goes, the rumourmongers shouldn’t get their hopes up.
Vladimir Putin: Life would get boring without rumours.