President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, Abkhazian friends,
I wish you a warm welcome to the Kremlin. This is the President of Abkhazia’s first big official visit to the Russian Federation.
Since we recognised Abkhazia as an independent country and established diplomatic relations our contacts have developed in all different areas. Last year, as we said just now, we did not sit idle. We worked on laying the foundations for our legal base and concluded a number of agreements. Our meeting today will also conclude with the signature of a large package of agreements.
We have taken steps to rebuild our relations in all different areas. We have intergovernmental commissions drafting proposals on how to develop our cooperation. Our bilateral trade is increasing. It perhaps still has a long way to go, but we have already reached a figure of $130 million. There are countries with which we have had diplomatic ties for decades now but still have not reached such a level of bilateral trade. Of course, this is just the beginning, just the first stage in developing our trade ties, just the departure point for our future work.
Today, I think we will discuss with you in this expanded format various cooperation areas such as transport, communications, major energy projects, and military technical cooperation. We will go through all the different sectors that together make up the spectrum of cooperation between our countries.
Concluding these opening remarks, I note that, as you said when you spoke at the university here, and mentioned in your publications, this year is a year of particular significance in that it marks 200 years since the establishment of close relations between our countries, relations built on the well known document issued by Alexander I on establishing these ties between Abkhazia and Russia. I think it is very symbolic that your first official visit with a large delegation takes place precisely at the date marking exactly 200 years since this event.
I wish you a sincere welcome and I am sure that the Abkhazian delegation’s visit today will produce very successful results.
President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh: Thank you very much, Mr President.
I just want to say a couple of words on behalf of my colleagues from the government and ministries here today, and on behalf of the Abkhazian people.
I want to express once again our profound gratitude for everything done so far, and for the work still ahead. Most important of all is what happened in 2008. This was the culmination of Abkhazia’s development, and it was thanks to the Russian Federation.
Russian government ministers are here today. We have good relations with them. Russia is a country very close to us, a country with which we work to resolve our main problems. I think that the Abkhazian leadership and people, those in Abkhazia’s government today, have much to learn in order to create a domestic, economic and political situation such that the international community, and our foes, realise that, together with our friends, we are fully capable of solving our own problems. We have always had and today have one really good friend.
Once again, I thank you for this day today. We realise full well its significance and all that it entails, and I think that through our acts we will prove ourselves worthy of such good and brotherly relations.