Speech at the Session of the Eurasian Economic Community Inter-State Council in Expanded Format 2006-01-25 21:09:13 St Petersburg President Vladimir Putin: Dear friends, colleagues, It gives me sincere pleasure to welcome you to St Petersburg and to wish you successful and fruitful work. I think it would be no exaggeration to say that this summit marks a milestone in many respects. This is exemplified by the importance of the issues on the agenda for this extraordinary session of the Eurasian Economic Community Inter-State Council. Above all, this concerns the accession of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Eurasian Economic Community and the integration of the Central Asian Cooperation Organisation into the Eurasian Economic Community in general. We welcome Uzbekistan’s accession to the community. As you know, the aims and objectives of both the Central Asian Cooperation Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Community have a lot in common and there can be no doubt that merging the potential of these two regional organisations will have a noticeable positive impact. To achieve this we must work competently to integrate the economic, cultural and educational, and environmental projects drawn up and implemented by the Central Asian Cooperation Organisation into the Eurasian Economic Community’s work. Today we will also discuss crucial and topical aspects of our community’s ongoing development. I want to stress that the vector we follow and the pace with which we move towards integration will depend a lot on the parameters that we set today. The correct choice of strategic guidelines for multilateral cooperation is therefore of principal importance. In my view the key issue is to raise the effectiveness of the integration mechanisms themselves. Judging by the general frame of mind, today’s meeting promises to be very fruitful in this respect. The majority of issues and the subsequent steps we are to take have already received working approval. Today we are to adopt the agreement on cooperation in organising an integrated currency market. The implementation of this agreement will give a powerful boost to carrying out a whole series of plans aimed at the economic development of the community’s member states, including through expanding the use of our national currencies, which will considerably simplify and facilitate foreign economic activity. We view joint action on creating a currency union, including the development of an effective mechanism for mutual conversion of the member states’ currencies, as being of great importance. Dear colleagues, Security issues are also on our agenda today. We all realise the importance of providing reliable protection for the community against the threats of international terrorism, cross-border crime, drugs trafficking and illegal immigration. The peace and security of our citizens, the stability of our countries and a favourable economic situation all depend on our ability to provide this protection. In this respect, I would like to emphasise that we view security as a multidimensional concept. It is an area that requires a carefully considered and complex approach. Based on this position, Russia is firmly committed to expanding cooperation on global energy security within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Community. One of the priorities in this area is to develop cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Cooperation in this field opens up real new opportunities for all of us. Taking into consideration the agreements with the President of Kazakhstan, concrete plans are being drawn up for expanding cooperation between the nuclear energy sector enterprises in our countries. Uzbekistan’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Community creates additional new opportunities for building a nuclear-fuel component that will serve as a reliable element in the energy supply policy for the long term. As far as I know, specialists from Russia and Uzbekistan have already begun consultations and are developing mutual agreements. It is particularly important to develop our countries’ full potential in this area today at a time when demand for quality energy supplies is growing constantly. Dwindling fossil fuel reserves and environmental issues have become questions of crucial importance on the international agenda. We need to create the prototype of a global infrastructure that will give all interested countries equal access to nuclear energy, while stressing reliable compliance with the requirements of the non-proliferation regime, of course. The creation of a system of international centres providing nuclear fuel cycle services, including enrichment, on a non-discriminatory basis and under the control of the IAEA, could become a key element in developing this new infrastructure. Russia has already made just such a proposal and is prepared to establish an international centre of this kind on its territory. Innovative new technologies will undoubtedly be required in this respect to create new generation reactors and their fuel cycles. These kinds of issues can be resolved only through broad-based international cooperation. This is the approach that we will present to the G8 countries during our presidency, and to all our partners in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Dear colleagues, In conclusion, allow me to say once again that the Eurasian Economic Community’s integration model that we have chosen is proving its effectiveness in practice and is bringing real benefits to all its participants. I am convinced that we should not slow down the pace in achieving the objectives we have set, above all with regard to creating a common economic space within the community, a customs union and a common financial market. This policy opens up new opportunities for business initiative and for development of our national economies and is therefore working directly in the interests and for the good of the peoples of our countries. Thank you for your attention.