Speech at the Ceremony for the Presentation of Foreign Ambassadors’ Letters of Credentials 2008-09-18 19:27:51 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen! It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin on the occasion of the presentation of credentials. You assume your positions at a very important time for the international community. A time in which many fundamental values such as humanism, democracy and the rule of international law have been subject to severe tests. The aggression committed by Georgia against South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers and the prospective attack on Abkhazia that was foiled thanks to decisive action demonstrated that military adventurists — supported by external means — are able to put into question the rights of entire peoples. We believe that this represents a challenge to the entire international community. Russia did not allow the dignity of peaceful people to be compromised. And in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of these two peoples Russia has recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and established diplomatic relations with these states. And yesterday I signed treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with them. Thus we have begun to lay down the legal basis of bilateral relations with our new partners. We understand that the process of incorporating Abkhazia and South Ossetia into the system of international relations will not be easy. The most important thing in this respect is to avoid politicizing the issue and to act primarily for the benefit of the citizens. And our joint work with the European Union to resolve this crisis, the crisis that occurred in the region, demonstrates the important possibilities available. We appreciate the position of our partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, who have expressed understanding and empathy for our approach and supported our active participation, the active peacekeeping efforts undertaken by Russia, in this region. Such a response from the international community demonstrates the will of certain countries to approach the situation in the Caucasus carefully and objectively, without employing double standards, and to prevent further escalation of the conflict. We will do everything we can to foster increasing awareness of a clear need for elaborating more comprehensive and stringent rules of conduct to prevent and resolve crises. And the significance of relying on international law in meeting this challenge, on mutual interests and the primacy of humanistic values, is obvious. Several months ago I put forward the idea of preparing comprehensive Treaty on European Security. Recent events clearly show that this treaty can be deferred no longer. Especially since the results of our joint work largely depend on the eventual creation of a just and democratic world order. Russia does not want confrontation. We are open to substantiated constructive dialogue which, of course, as is normally the case in international relations, must be conducted on a mutually beneficial and equitable basis. We intend to work together in order to strengthen global stability and sustainable development as well as expand productive international partnerships. Ladies and gentlemen! We are ready to expand mutually beneficial cooperation with the states that you represent. We intend to develop multifaceted fruitful relations with Belgium. For several centuries now, our relations have contributed to the economic growth and mutual cultural enrichment of both our countries. And today these relations are becoming a more prominent factor in European politics. We believe it is important to continue the effective implementation of joint economic and investment projects as well as our constructive cooperation within international organisations. We attach great importance to strengthening our traditionally friendly ties with Nigeria, one of the most influential states on the African continent. We are ready to intensify our political dialogue. We are also ready to work together to expand cooperation in the trade, economic, cultural and educational spheres. Our relations with Guatemala are characterized by an atmosphere of mutual sympathy. We expect that last year’s opening of a Russian Embassy in Guatemala will contribute to supplementing these relations with concrete and promising projects. In recent years we have done a great deal to increase our cooperation with Turkey. The strengthening of our economic ties and the significant expansion of our political, educational and cultural contacts have enabled us to achieve an advanced, multifaceted partnership. The cooperation between our countries is a significant factor in ensuring peace, security and stability in the Black Sea and the Caucasus. Long-standing relations of friendship link Russia and Indonesia. Improving the quality of our political dialogue, launching new joint projects in the trade, economic, scientific-technical, cultural and educational spheres is in our common interest. We value the tradition of mutual respect that has been established between the Russian and Palestinian peoples. We believe that the international community must intensify its efforts to stabilise the situation in the Middle East. In doing so, one of its priority tasks must be the continuation of the peace process and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state living in peace with Israel on a universally recognized international legal basis. Our friendly relations with Montenegro are developing dynamically. In recent years thousands of Russian tourists visited Montenegro and have benefited from the warmth and hospitality of that state. Today our common agenda includes effectively using the existing potential in the trade and economic spheres, as well as promoting the expansion of contacts in the cultural and educational spheres. We intend to strengthen our tradition of good neighbourliness, pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation with Finland. Our countries have accumulated many years of experience of cooperation in the most varied fields. And we should make maximum use of this solid foundation for strengthening stability in the Baltic region and in Europe more generally. We attach great importance to further developing our mutually beneficial cooperation with Australia, one of Russia’s most important and promising partners in the Asia-Pacific region. I am confident that our relations will become increasingly substantive and diverse. Our consistent implementation of major bilateral mutually beneficial agreements and our active contacts at various levels bear witness to our intentions in this regard. The peoples of Russia and Ukraine are inextricably linked by truly fraternal relations and a special feeling of respect and mutual trust. No short-term considerations, no new foreign policy ” maneuvers“, no internal crises can undermine the foundations of this neighbourly tradition. Our people have paid too high a price for many hundreds of years of a shared life and a shared struggle for a common future. For its part, Russia is ready for fair, comprehensive, very profound and absolutely mutually beneficial cooperation with Ukraine in a true spirit of partnership. Russia’s relations with Tanzania are traditionally friendly. I am confident that together we can give a new impetus to joint projects in various fields. The Russian Federation’s relations with the United States of America remain one of the priorities of Russian foreign policy and defining for the general atmosphere in the world. Despite a number of fundamental differences of approach to certain international problems, we are confident that we possess all the necessary opportunities for engaging in a constructive dialogue on a long-term basis. The history of Russian-American relations has witnessed many critical situations. But in the end common sense, pragmatism and mutual interests will always prevail. Together we have accumulated considerable potential for advancing political dialogue, promoting our relations in the trade, economic, energy and investment spheres, as well as expanding our contacts in the cultural and educational spheres. To exchange these achievements for small change, as they say, and to revive old stereotypes would be politically short-sighted. On the contrary, we must be able to take advantage of all our achievements and to bring our contacts and our relations to a new level. We also hope that the administration of the United States will be able to cope with the severe financial turmoil there, turmoil which greatly affects other states as well. Dear ladies and gentlemen! In conclusion I would like to repeat the well-known adage, for it is one that does not lose its relevance: the most important decisions are based on the responsible work done by diplomats who provide objective information to their governments on the host country and its foreign policy. And we expect to see you work as such honest and impartial professionals. I congratulate you on the beginning of your diplomatic mission to Russia and wish you success in your forthcoming work. This is a new stage in your position, in your career, and in your life more generally. I am confident that you will be able to appreciate the existing opportunities for developing relations between our countries, and that you will be greeted by Russian partners who adopt a business-like approach to addressing any issues that arise. Good luck and all the very best. Thank you.