President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, ladies and gentlemen,
Out talks with President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner were quite intense and fruitful.
First in a narrow format and then with the participation of the heads of key ministries and agencies we discussed pressing bilateral and international issues and set new targets and long-term milestones, and, as you have seen, have just signed a significant package of documents.
This year Russia and Argentina are marking 130 years of diplomatic relations. Our countries have a long history of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation, which have reached a new level of an overall strategic partnership.
In the course of our talks, we paid special attention to the economy. Argentina is one of Russia’s leading trade partners in Latin America. In the past 10 years bilateral trade has grown 3.5 times; however, it dropped by 10.8 percent last year. The President of Argentina and I discussed ways to restore the stable growth of our bilateral trade and increase mutual investments.
Our business communities are clearly interested in the launch of new projects. The President of Argentina came to Moscow together with a delegation of the country’s business leaders. Yesterday they took part in a bilateral forum to discuss major joint projects.
We agreed to more actively assist businesses in organising deliveries of goods and services, in opening production facilities and establishing industrial cooperation. This, in particular, is covered by a joint action plan for 2015–2016. A key role in its implementation is to be played by the intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation and the Business Council.
We believe it is very important to expand cooperation between regional integration associations: the Eurasian Economic Union and the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR). We are currently finalising the approval of a corresponding memorandum.
Russia and Argentina are developing cooperation in the energy sector. Russian equipment accounts for about 20 percent of all the power generated in Argentina. Turbines supplied by our company Silovye Mashiny [Power Machines] have been set up at two major Argentinian hydropower stations. The company is ready to join a project to upgrade the Argentina-Uruguay Salto Grande hydropower station.
In December 2014, Russian companies led by Inter RAO won the tender for the construction of the new Chiuido-1 hydropower station in Argentina. The Russian investment amounts to $1.9 billion.
The Russian company Uralmash is planning to set up a joint venture with Argentina to produce oil extraction equipment.
Gazprom is taking part in drafting the general development plan for the Argentinian gas industry and is considering options for the joint production of hydrocarbons in Argentina.
Rosatom has joined the project to build the 6th power unit of the Atucha nuclear power station. The implementation of agreements achieved today in this area will give Argentina access to the latest Russian technology that meets the most stringent nuclear safety requirements.
We intend to strengthen our cooperation in other high technology industries, including space exploration. The corresponding agencies were instructed to update the bilateral agreement on the use of outer space and to speed up the implementation of the project to deploy GLONASS space navigation system stations in Argentina.
The Programme on Cooperation in Agriculture and Fisheries for 2015–2016 has been upgraded substantially. The document envisages an exchange of experience in the development of biotechnologies and biofuels and in land cultivation, winemaking and fish processing.
We are expanding cooperation between our defence agencies. The agreement on defence cooperation and the protection of confidential information will greatly enhance practical cooperation in this important area.
Our cultural and humanitarian ties are also developing. Mutual culture festivals have been timed for the anniversary of diplomatic relations. Yesterday at the State Historical Museum Ms Fernandez de Kirchner opened an exhibition dedicated to Argentina’s former first lady, outstanding politician and film actress Eva Peron. In June, a festival of Russian culture will open in the city of Mendoza with a gala performance by Russian leading opera singers from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres.
A discussion of pressing regional and international issues figured prominently in our talks. Our views coincided or were similar on a majority of these issues.
Russia and Argentina strongly support the principle of rule of international law with the central coordinating role played by the UN. We highly value the fact that Argentina is one of the co-authors of the UN resolution on the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and regularly votes in favour of UN General Assembly resolutions to resist the glorification of Nazism.
We have agreed to continue our joint efforts within the G20, including on reforming the IMF and regulating the activities of rating agencies.
Russia supports Argentina in its attempts to have direct bilateral talks with Great Britain to expedite a peaceful resolution of the dispute around the Malvinas Islands.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Ms Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and all our Argentinian colleagues and friends for a substantive and open discussion. I would like to add that we have also agreed to hold detailed consultations on the use of national currencies in trade settlements between the two states and commercial partners.
Thank you for your attention.