Bilateral cooperation and key issues on the international agenda were the main subjects of discussion. The two presidents noted, in particular, the need to develop additional joint cooperation projects, in line with the instructions given to the two countries’ deputy prime ministers. Mr Putin and Mr Nazarbayev also examined in detail issues related to the Eurasian Economic Union.
Mr Putin also thanked Mr Nazarbayev for organising the inter-Syrian talks in Astana.
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President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: It is a great pleasure to welcome you to Kazakhstan. It is our tradition to meet at the start of the year to set our watches and outline our plans and our work together.
Over the 25 years that we have been implementing our basic treaty on friendship and cooperation, a document created for the 21st century, I think that we have built the kind of model relations that countries that are good friends and neighbours should have.
This year, we are set to mark the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations too. Our foreign ministries will mark this occasion, which we welcome as an important milestone in our cooperation.
Our close cooperation has enabled us to establish the Eurasian Economic Union. There is no getting away from the fact that circumstances have had an impact, of course, but I think that this undertaking is a promising and important project that will benefit all member countries.
Today, 7,000 Russian companies are present in Kazakhstan and are opening a huge number of processing facilities there. During your visit last autumn and the big business forum that took place in St Petersburg, we signed 41 contracts for a total of $3 billion. This keeps Russia in place as Kazakhstan’s top partner, whether in politics or in the economy.
We share the same approach with regard to the international agenda. Kazakhstan is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. With Russia’s support, we will resolve the common tasks ahead.
Russia is currently engaged in important international undertakings, particularly your involvement in the Syrian process and the proposal to hold several rounds of talks in Astana.
Talks are underway in Geneva today. Yesterday was a day off, but today, they will sit down to talk. The process has begun, in other words, and this is very important.
We have the chance now to discuss some of the issues on our agenda. We have a series of meetings ahead this year. I know that you have agreed to China’s One Belt One Road initiative, a conference on which will take place in China in April. Then there is the SCO summit on June 8 in Kazakhstan, along with the opening of the EXPO 2017 world exhibition. Our annual interregional conference will take place in autumn. We therefore have many opportunities for meeting to discuss and resolve current issues.
Let me say that our delegation has no issues to raise with the Russian delegation. The delegations met just earlier and discussed everything. All current matters are settled in friendly spirit and I see no problems.
We can move ahead on establishing joint industrial ventures in the processing sector, agriculture, the defence industry, and at Baikonur. We will settle all issues, including, most importantly, those that come up within the EAEU.
I wish you welcome, Mr Putin, and I wish you success.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for the invitation. We have had regular meetings since the start of the year, and in general, we have a busy programme of work and meetings.
I would like to start this meeting by expressing our gratitude for your efforts to organise the inter-Syrian talks in Astana. I know that Kazakhstan played a very positive role in this, not just as the host country and organiser, but also through its influence, which made it possible to produce some very positive results from the two rounds of talks organised in Astana.
I know that you personally took part in this, worked with the delegations’ participants, and were instrumental in bringing these talks to a productive close. The talks produced progress in the form of a new ceasefire mechanism, and this is the biggest achievement really, as it laid a foundation that made it possible to continue the Geneva talks you just mentioned.
Regarding our bilateral relations, our economic ties are the foundation here. Kazakhstan is one of Russia’s key economic partners in the region, and you spoke of this too.
It is true that our trade turnover has dropped somewhat in value terms. As we discussed, this is linked to the exchange rate difference, particularly the price fluctuations on the global markets for our main export goods. But in terms of physical volume, our trade turnover remains at its previous level.
Our task is to increase the physical volume and achieve sustainable growth. This is all the more possible now that our integration efforts have put the needed conditions in place. The Eurasian Bank is working well now.
The bank has already approved a project worth several billion dollars for Kazakhstan. I think this is a good sign and gives us reason to be confident that our economic relations will continue to develop.
As for our foreign policy work, we count very much on the support of Kazakhstan, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, in resolving global problems. Our integration work continues as planned.
Of course, as in any undertaking, there are difficulties and problems that require attention from our countries’ leaders, and I hope that we will discuss all of these matters during our meeting today.
Thank you very much.