President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you to our traditional event that brings the regions of Russia and Kazakhstan together. We hold it regularly. Interestingly, these events were launched in Omsk in 2003, so our current meeting is a little symbolic.
First, I would like to note that relations between our countries as between the closest partners, at least for Russia, are developing well. Last year trade was on the rise. Investment is growing too, and major projects are being carried out. Today, we will have an opportunity to talk about this again.
We meet regularly but there are always issues that require special attention.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev: Thank you.
First of all, I would like to thank you for your hospitality. I am grateful to you, your Government and the residents of Omsk. I have noted that preparations in the city were very thorough. I had a chance to see the city, even if only from a car window, but I still had a most pleasant impression of Omsk. I even had time to watch local television programmes, to get immersed in local life. This is why I am very delighted to be in this city.
Indeed, our first interregional meeting took place in Omsk in 2003. Owing to the efforts of our first President Nursultan Nazarbayev and your efforts, this mechanism was launched at full speed and showed its value as an effective instrument of regional cooperation, which is extremely important.
Indicatively, trade between the regions of our countries exceeded 10 percent of overall trade and this figure keeps growing, all the more so since, as you rightly noted, we have achieved much in industrial and agricultural cooperation. So, I think we have done a lot of groundwork. For my part, I will do all I can to further improve these results.
Let me repeat that the Interregional Cooperation Forum is a very effective and productive event. Naturally, we must do everything we can to continue developing it.