President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, media representatives,
I would like to say a few words about our talks with the President of Ecuador, Mr Rafael Correa. First of all I would like to say that we are very pleased to welcome our respected Ecuadorian guest. This is the President of Ecuador’s first visit to Russia. And of course this makes us very happy because Ecuador is one of our important partners in Latin America. I am confident that his visit will give new impetus to the development of the entire range of our ties and establish a solid foundation for the development of multilateral Russian-Ecuadorian relations in all areas.
We just held talks one-on-one where we discussed international issues, the coordination of our foreign policies, the current agenda in international relations, and also held talks in an expanded format.
What was the outcome of these negotiations? The very documents that have just been signed. There are quite a few of them given that they relate to virtually all areas of our cooperation. And I consider the strategic declaration that the President of Ecuador and I just signed to be no less important, because in essence it sets the tone for the development of all our ties: in the economy, cultural and educational spheres, in foreign policy. This is the foundation on which to develop our future relations.
Economic ties represent an important part of our cooperation. I believe that the volume of our current trade is already quite good – last year it was about a billion dollars and this year it will probably be less, although there has been no dramatic reduction yet.
We talked with Mr President about how to optimise our trade, which projects Russia should take on and which ones Ecuador should take on. But in general Ecuador is already our largest trading partner in Latin America and we are very happy about that.
We just signed agreements concerning various economic projects. Our major companies are interested in them. I understand that some of these projects are very relevant for the Ecuadorian economy. I hope that they will be implemented in accordance with the principles that Mr President and I discussed today.
We took other decisions today. We started to cooperate in other areas as well. We identified issues for military technical cooperation and signed a contract for the delivery of two Russian helicopters. This of course remains little, but in any case it is the beginning of our cooperation in this field. I think that there are prospects here too.
I hope we will continue to pay attention to improving the legal and contractual framework for our relations because it is in these documents that our intentions to develop our contacts in the friendliest way possible take form.
But our relations in cultural and educational spheres are no less important. I have already said that we appreciate the decision by the Ecuadorian government to introduce a visa-free regime for Russian citizens. We are now preparing and agreeing on a common document on visa-free exchanges. At the very least this will facilitate contacts between our countries (even though they are far away), create new prospects for the development of business relations, facilitate contacts between people, and help the development of tourism, which is also very important.
We signed documents concerning education. Ten Russian universities have already signed agreements with Ecuador’s National Secretariat for Science and Technology, including some of Russia's major universities such as St Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Gubkin State University of Oil and Gas [Moscow], and various other educational institutions. Contacts in the field of education will necessarily continue because they are building towards the future. I am confident that this approach is shared by our Ecuadorian partners.
We are developing the foundations of our interregional relations. Our capitals just forged twin city ties. Other documents have just been signed between other regions: this also brings us together and is good.
And naturally we talked about how to develop our relations on foreign policy issues. We have a lot of common approaches and coordinate our foreign policy. We are grateful to our Ecuadorian partners for understanding some of our concerns. At the same time, and I mentioned this to Mr President, Russia took the decision to work as actively as possible with South America, with our close partners there, by itself.
Today one of our partners – the President of Ecuador – is visiting so all our foreign policy contacts will evolve in a predictable, foreseeable manner. Moreover, our countries both proceed from the fact that today’s world is complex and multipolar. It is important to strengthen the international security system and international institutions such as the United Nations that have stood the test of time. UN reform must take into account the needs of today’s world and must be agreed with all members of the international community. Because over all the years of this important organisation’s development, virtually not a single new platform on which all the peoples of our planet could agree has been developed.
At the same time we are observing the activities of regional organisations in South America with great interest, as an observer at the forums of some of these organisations. Not long ago there was an ALBA summit. Russia also sent a high representative to this forum. So regional forms of cooperation are not distant or boring for us. We are very pleased to participate in discussions of regional issues. We believe that it is very important for the harmony of our positions and to promote and help our countries’ interests.
I would like to once again welcome the President of Ecuador and say that we are very happy that Mr President came to Moscow. Indeed, this is a historic moment because this is the President’s first visit and I hope it will not be his last. Mr President already said that there are interesting cities in Russia that he would like to visit, including St Petersburg, but Petersburg is not the only one. Therefore, I cordially invite my colleague to visit Russia next time on the relevant official or working visits.
President of The Republic of Ecuador Rafael Correa (as translated into Russian): Mr President, dear friends, members of the Government of Russia, members of the Government of Ecuador,
As you can see, we came with a representative delegation. This underlines the importance we attach to our relations with Russia.
Citizens of Russia, Ecuador and the world, first and foremost, Mr President, I would like to thank you again for the fraternal welcome you have given us. You have indeed made us feel very much at home here in Russia.
Mr President insisted that this meeting take place and that I stay on in this residence where we have been meeting because this is a very beautiful building, and in general the country is very beautiful, not only its natural beauty but also its cultural heritage, its historical heritage. We certainly did talk about history and we know how much mankind owes Russia, a country that won World War II at a cost of 26 million lives in order to defend Russia, the Soviet Union at that time, and the entire planet from the threat of Nazism.
This morning I had the great honour to pay tribute to the unknown soldier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is located here next to the Kremlin. This was a very emotional moment for me, Mr President. We know the historical facts and we know that it is important to remember history if we are to avoid repeating its mistakes. And we remember the sacrifices made by the Red Army, by Russia, the Soviet Union at that time, in order to liberate the people of Europe. Therefore, we are very flattered by this opportunity, we are very proud of heroic Russia, we admire its beauty, the beauty of its historical, cultural heritage and we want to pay tribute to the contribution that Russia has made to the heritage of mankind.
This is a historic moment. It marks the first time that a President of Ecuador has visited this country. It is incredible to think how blinkered we were in Latin America and in Ecuador, how content we were to look only in one direction. Now our government has decided to develop relations with all friendly countries, especially with those who share our vision of a multipolar and democratic world, those who share our concerns about the need to democratise international organisations.
We see that in many cases such international organisations are pursuing only vague and abstract goals. And we hope that our work, the work of our government will not lose itself in that sort of abstraction.
The documents that we have just signed with Russia are historic documents, agreements in the field of science and technology, energy, hydrocarbons, oil refining and financing for our projects. We have also had some very good news: the agreement on twinning two of our cities is very important.
It is important to provide a direct connection between Ecuador and Russia in order to reduce the time needed to transport goods, for example to transport flowers. Maybe someday our flowers will get all the way to Vladivostok.
We have signed some very important agreements for the benefit of our peoples. We hope that they will not simply be filed in some archive but rather that they will be used effectively. Our teams have both worked assiduously, and come up with specific time schedules, helpful indicators and a system for tracking results, and all this will make a real difference for our peoples.
This is indeed a historic moment — the first visit of the President of Ecuador in Russia. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new stage in our bilateral relations. We were once very distant from each other. Latin American nations were cut off from this great nation. Now we can make up for lost time.
During our talks in a restricted format, Mr President, we discussed the fact that humankind owes Russia a lot. I always knew that Russia would regain its position, despite the problems of the 90s, since Russia has everything necessary to do so. It really is a great country with immense natural resources, enormous human potential and great technology. What was missing? There was a lack of social cohesion, something that was destroyed during the change of systems. What was needed was a leader and a national project that would revitalize the sort of healthy nationalism that every nation needs if it is to prosper. And I think the former President, Mr Putin, and President Medvedev have been such leaders for Russia. They have enabled it to regain its position, to restore it to the rank that it has always held among nations.
As I said earlier, we can make up for lost time and bring together Latin America and Russia, particularly Russia and Ecuador. We are very pleased with today's visit and assure you that this visit will bear fruit. We will extend our bilateral relations in all spheres: in trade, technological cooperation, investments and in the political sphere, which is very important. And we will continue to work, continue the rapprochement between Russia and Ecuador for the benefit – and I want to emphasise this – for the benefit of our peoples.
Thank you, Mr President. Many thanks to the people of Russia for the fraternal welcome that we have received. I repeat that Ecuador will always remember Russia’s contribution to humanity and the liberation of mankind from Nazism. Such things are impossible to forget, because our obligation is to fight together for a common vision in order to prevent such mistakes and to create a new world, a multipolar world and, finally, a more just and humane world.
Many thanks for the welcome we have received.