President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I am glad to have this opportunity to meet with you and get to know you better.
You know our country well, and the occasion that you are here to celebrate is the anniversary of the founding of the university from which you graduated, the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. Of course this is also an opportunity to exchange views on global concerns and international issues, as well as to discuss bilateral relations and to outline our plans for the future.
I think that this is a good opportunity to meet, get to know each other and to touch base. So I cordially welcome you and your delegation to our country. Let me say again that although you are very much at home here that in no way diminishes the relevance of this sort of meeting.
Presdient of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo: Mr President, I wish to thank you for taking some time to meet with us. I know you must be extremely busy.
I’m very happy to be back in Russia. Russia is a second home to me. Please forgive me for not speaking in Russian, but it’s been 20 years since I left and I don’t have the confidence to do so. I’m sure that in the next few days, I’ll probably pick up some of that.
I’m really glad for the opportunity to share with you some of our thoughts, because we would like to see Russia play a greater role in our hemisphere and in the development process that’s taking place there. So I want to take the opportunity to share with you some of what is happening in the Caribbean – the 50 countries of the Caribbean.
And as you may know, Guyana will assume the chairmanship of UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] in August of this year. So Guyana is now part of the South American integration process. We will chair that body for one year, so whatever we can do to strengthen Russia’s ties with Latin America and the Caribbean, we are willing to do so.
Dmitry Medvedev: In fact, last year the development of relations between Russia, Latin America and the Caribbean was quite active. During that period I visited the four countries; delegations from Latin America and the Caribbean visited Russia; and your colleagues came too. I am glad that it is now your turn to visit.
I will continue this policy this year – we have planned several activities in Latin America. Why do I mention this? Simply because Russia is a country that has long been absent in Latin America and the Caribbean. You are well aware of what happened in the 1990s. But now we have taken the strategic decision to develop our relations with Latin America and Caribbean countries. We believe this is very important in light of the balance of powers and interests in the world. Furthermore, it will help the development of economic, social, educational processes and, incidentally, help us address a range of global challenges such as climate change. I know that you too are interested in this issue and we can talk about this as well.