Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on preparations for the President’s upcoming official visit to Bulgaria
Sergei Lavrov: The preparations for the visit are near completion now. A good package of documents has been prepared. The visit itself will coincide with the 130th anniversary of Bulgaria’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke and ceremonies will take place that will include the opening of the Year of Bulgaria in Russia.
Regarding the documents, I mention in particular the tripartite agreement, with Greece’s participation as well, on establishing the company that will do the project work for the Burgas-Alexandropoulis oil pipeline, a contract for building a nuclear power station in Belen, a cultural cooperation programme, and an agreement on cooperation in the tourism sector.
President Vladimir Putin: This cultural cooperation programme, is it an intergovernmental level programme?
Sergei Lavrov: Yes, it is based on an intergovernmental agreement. The Government has already submitted it and we have an agreement with the Bulgarians, so we and they will manage to get through all the internal procedures in time.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, the Prime Minister called and noted that our side is running late, supposedly. That was the signal he sent. I ask you to speed up this matter.
Sergei Lavrov: In fact, after the Prime Minister called, we received confirmation from the Bulgarian side of the text that we sent them back in December, so not everything is so straightforward.
I also note the agreement between our respective Transport Ministries on establishing a rail-ferry link between the ports of Kavkaz and Varna. This will greatly simplify the transit of goods from Russia to Bulgaria and will be good for bilateral trade in general.
Vladimir Putin: So the preparation work is all going according to schedule?
Sergei Lavrov: Yes, it is. All of the documents I just mentioned are ready now and there is a chance that we will be able to get a couple more documents ready.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin on the results of work to establish Russia’s share of the Eurasian Development Bank’s charter capital
Alexei Kudrin: Russia will complete the establishment of its part of the charter capital by February 1, and will transfer an additional sum of around $600 million to the Eurasian Development Bank’s charter capital, thus bringing its total contribution up to $1 billion.
Vladimir Putin: And our colleagues are contributing $500 million?
Alexei Kudrin: Yes, our Kazakh colleagues transferred $500 million last year, and so this month we will complete the process of establishing the bank’s charter capital. The bank has already begun carrying out projects in Kazakhstan and Russia, and is currently examining a number of projects in the energy sector and the mining industry in the regions along the Russian-Kazakh border. But the bank’s objective is to carry out activities above all on the territory of the Eurasian Economic Community and the CIS countries. At the moment, once the charter capital has been formed, we will raise the question of bringing other countries from the Eurasian Economic Community and the CIS into the bank as shareholders and participants in order to make it more representative and expand its presence throughout CIS territory in order to carry out priority investment projects, including projects related to economic diversification in these countries.
Vladimir Putin: Good, keep us informed about the next steps, because much depends on how this bank’s activities will develop, especially as far as the CIS is concerned. This was one of the main reasons for establishing the bank in the first place.
Alexei Kudrin: It is precisely in the CIS that its work is needed at the moment above all, because a number of Western banks think the risks there a bit too high to take on, but we have good experience working in Russia and the other CIS countries where we know how to structure and manage these kinds of risks. All of the countries are showing growing interest in the bank now.
First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on the GLONASS satellite navigation system’s future development
Sergei Ivanov: On Thursday I want to hold a big coordination meeting in Moscow on various aspects of the GLONASS system’s future development, not so much the space side of things as work to manufacture the instruments and reception equipment, on a larger scale than was planned for 2008–2009, and also cartography, including electronic three-dimensional maps. We need to work more actively on getting these made in order to have not just the satellites but also the maps needed to cover the entire territory of the Russian Federation. I also want to discuss financial aspects of this programme’s implementation. In other words, all of the main agencies involved in the GLONASS system’s creation will be taking part in the meeting.
First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on his visit to Murmansk and Kaliningrad
Dmitry Medvedev: First of all, I would like to report on the work to coordinate the social programmes that we are carrying out as part of the national projects and the relevant programmes the Defence Ministry is carrying out for military servicemen. A meeting was held at the Defence Ministry on December 27, and we have already begun work in three different areas.
First is housing. We are looking today at improving the mechanisms for a number of housing programmes, including by developing the “15+15” programme, which has proven its worth. <…>
We will also be examining the development of other financial and economic mechanisms and housing savings schemes and discussing issues related to rent and sub-rental of housing, because these are mechanisms currently being used by the Defence Ministry but still in need of improvement. <…>
We also held a meeting on the Healthcare National Project in Murmansk. <…>
Another area is that of military education. In this area we also want to make use of several methods that have proven their worth in regular national project work. This includes support for leading military academies through the provision of grants for the development of innovative projects, and through support for the best students.