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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: I won’t talk for a long time since my colleagues have already said a great deal.
I think this is a very interesting project, and it is interesting for several reasons. First and foremost, we need to create some sort of a unifying concept for our republics in the North Caucasus. Of course, each republic has its own industry, its own agriculture, as each of them has its own enormous problems, but what they don’t have is a business idea that could unify them. Perhaps it could even be a chain that would create a large number of new jobs and attract investments. This idea seems to be on the surface, but, unfortunately, it has not attracted attention in any serious way so far.
In fact, we started discussing this idea during our brief meetings in Sochi, when we were on holiday, skiing. Our conclusion was that if we were to do something like that, we should do it in the Caucasus, in our republics in the Caucasus, which have all the right conditions for it.
How should we do it? That’s the difficult part. But when we looked at different options, we fond the solutions. There is an opportunity for attracting money and locating various investment sites. It is vital that we use the European experience here, and possibly also the American experience with some alterations, because our Austrian and Swiss partners have many years of experience in this area. We can see how well everything is arranged there and the brilliant success of their resorts.
As part of our preparations for the Olympics, we have a project in Krasnaya Polyana, which looks pretty good. And if we don’t succeed in using this situation to our advantage and don’t create an extensive alpine ski and recreation resort in the Caucasus, then we have just wasted our time.
Therefore, I would like to tell the leaders of the republics, who are present here, that this is an excellent opportunity to change the situation for the better because you have the will of the state and here I am to tell you about it. We have the plenipotentiary envoy, we have colleagues who are working on this, we have the business plan that is practically ready and a series of technological solutions, we have the experience of our partners, which they are ready to share with us, and finally, we have preliminary investment agreements, which are also very important. Do we have the agreements? Yes, we do. They are nodding. So we must act.
I think this session today, the presentation and the discussion here will become the starting point that will lead us to the successful conclusion of all the tasks that lay ahead. And one final point: of course, I understand that everyone has his own interests and that each regional leader looks at his republic as his responsibility. There are land issues that are very complex in the Caucasus and there are some disputed points. But I am going to rely on the diplomacy of our regional leaders, on their ability to resolve disputes and their commitment to building up the economy of each republic. We must abandon the idea that, for example, a given area could be used for some other purpose, to get a quicker profit, to attract someone, to build an oil refinery there or something like that. Let us focus on what makes sense.
And what makes sense in the Caucasus is to build resorts. The people who live in the region are very friendly and warm, and they are at their best in providing different services. I think that if this project receives proper attention, which we have at present, if we make an effort, it will be a huge success and the problems that do exist in the Caucasus, such as security issues, which we also need to focus on, will be no obstacle to us.
I sincerely wish success to everyone taking part in this project. I hope we will meet at one of those alpine ski resorts and enjoy a proper break. Thank you.