President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
Our talks with President of Uruguay Mr Vazquez have just ended. Let me start by saying that the talks took place in a friendly atmosphere and were constructive and substantive. We met in a narrow format first, and then together with the heads of our ministries and agencies we had a detailed discussion of our bilateral relations and plans for the future.
Uruguay is Russia’s reliable partner in Latin America. We are celebrating a remarkable date this year – the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. We reaffirmed our common desire to further develop our bilateral cooperation in the Joint Declaration we have just signed.
Our talks focused particularly on developing trade and economic ties. Unfortunately, our bilateral trade has decreased over the past four years, and this situation is at the centre of our intergovernmental commission’s attention.
Agriculture is a key area of our cooperation. Foodstuffs and agricultural produce account for more than 90 percent of Uruguay’s exports to Russia. Quality has improved of late and Uruguay has started exporting greater volumes of other agricultural products, fish and seafood. Advanced Uruguayan agricultural technologies are also of interest.
We discussed the prospects for joint projects in the energy sector. In particular, companies such as Gazprom and Siloviye Mashiny could take part in modernising Uruguayan hydroelectric power stations and supplying the necessary materials. We also proposed that our partners examine the possibility of buying Sukhoi Superjet and MS-21 aircraft.
We agreed to continue our cooperation in the healthcare sector. President Vazquez will visit the Dima Rogachev Federal Research Centre for Paediatric Haematology, Oncology and Immunology tomorrow, where our colleagues will present the latest Russian developments in treating children’s diseases, and Mr Vazquez will give a lecture.
We noted the importance of cultural and humanitarian bilateral ties. Last year, Uruguay hosted with success the Days of Russia, and a monument to famous Russian navigator, Admiral Bellingshausen, was unveiled in Montevideo.
We value Uruguay’s good treatment of our compatriots abroad. We have more than 7000 compatriots in Uruguay. We are grateful to our partners for their support of Russian language studies.
We exchanged views on a number of key issues on the international agenda. Russia and Uruguay have identical or similar views on many issues. This is the basis for our effective cooperation at the UN, and the Security Council in particular, where Uruguay is a non-permanent member in 2016–2017.
We discussed in detail prospects for developing Russia’s cooperation with Latin American countries and underscored the importance of developing cooperation between regional integration organisations in which our countries take part. This concerns above all the Eurasian Economic Union, and MERCOSUR, the South American common market. We noted the importance of political dialogue between Russia and the community of Latin American and Caribbean countries.
In conclusion, I would like to thank President Vazquez and our Uruguayan colleagues for the substantive and engaged discussion today. I am certain that these talks will contribute to further developing our bilateral relations.
Thank you very much. Thank you for your attention.
President of Uruguay Tabare Vazquez (retranslated): Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
I would like to say once again that we are greatly honoured to be here today with President Vladimir Putin. As he said, we have held robust and productive talks. As part of my visit, I would like to thank the Government and all the people of this wonderful country for the wonderful hospitality that was accorded us, as well as for the kindness and welcome extended to the Uruguayan delegation as a whole.
Now regarding the bilateral agenda that we are determined to develop. I would like to single out the following.
First of all, we have consolidated and diversified the ties that exist between Uruguay and Russia and stressed the strategic importance of these relations for our small country. We discussed the bilateral agenda. We talked about what needs to be done for bilateral political, economic and cultural activities. Yesterday we were at the Bolshoi Theatre. I simply must express my admiration.
We also addressed defence and security cooperation. All points of view that coincided, the consensus and bilateral initiatives were reflected in the Plan of Action that we adopted during this official visit, and the implementation of this plan will be indicative of our countries’ pragmatic approach toward our future. Indeed, this is an important point. It is an important point for the future. Next year the World Cup in football will take place here and I hope Russia and Uruguay will play the finals.
Indeed, this visit has allowed us to take another step forward in developing our wonderful bilateral ties. In politics, we have an open dialogue based on mutual respect. This strengthens the ties between Uruguay, a small country, and Russia, one of the world’s leading powers. We will be marking the 160th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries.
Our history is rich. Russian families came to us in the past and they forged ties between our countries. They helped establish deep ties that exist to this day. A wonderful case in point is the city of San Javier and the Russian community in Rio Negro Province. Russian settlements played an important role in South America and they wrote our history. These are Russian families. These are people who worked tirelessly and who studied. These are people who introduced us to their traditions and their history. Our relations are marked by numerous historical events. For example, the Russians who lived in San Javier were the first to cultivate sunflower in Uruguay. They contributed to production, to my country’s economy.
And I would also like to note that we emphasise the importance of the documents signed during this visit – those related to customs, defence and education, among others. This reflects the diversity of Russian-Uruguayan relations. And now we have added a strategic dimension to them.
As for multilateral relations, Uruguay and Russia share important positions on disarmament, nuclear disarmament, fighting terrorism, development and defending human rights, among others.
As you know, Uruguay is taking part in the work of the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the second time in the country's history. As part of these activities, we have had the opportunity to carry out political cooperation, important cooperation with Russia on major issues of the international agenda. We hope this cooperation and these links continue this year as well, particularly in May, when Uruguay will for the second time take over Presidency in this major body of the United Nations.
As for trade, I would like to emphasise that Uruguay is also interested in expanding cooperation in food deliveries, primarily dairy and meat products. We must develop stable, mutually beneficial trade relations, as Mr Putin mentioned. There are opportunities for boosting this cooperation and diversifying it through adding new products with high added value.
I believe that Uruguay can become a stable, important and attractive platform for bringing in foreign investment, and we welcome all Russian businessmen that show an interest in cooperation with Latin America. In Uruguay, they will find favourable conditions for doing business in our country and our region.
President Putin and I discussed the importance of cooperation between MERCOSUR and the EAEU. We spoke about cooperation and how it is essential to identify issues that are of interest to all in order to move forward.
As I have said, the present international context speaks to the need to eliminate impediments to international trade. Protectionism is not an option to us and in this respect, Uruguay believes it is very important to maintain dialogue and hold talks. This is an important tool for economic cooperation in the world and for building an international architecture that is just, balanced and open to all. Therefore, I would like to reiterate: our country is open to investment and trade. Our business people have come here with me. We told our Russian colleagues about business opportunities in Uruguay. I invited Russian businessmen to use the platform offered by Uruguay, as well as the opportunities that we provide.
Once again, I would like to thank you, Mr President, for your kindness, hospitality and the welcome that you extended to us. And I would like to thank the fraternal Russian people for the warm welcome.
Vladimir Putin: Mr President, thank you for your kind wishes to our athletes at the World Cup. Uruguay is a small country but it was the champion of the first World Cup in football. I do not know where the secret lies – maybe in the quality of the Uruguayan meat and milk you feed your football players with, but let me assure you that the quality of Russian food today is excellent as well.
We will cooperate in agriculture, industry and naturally in humanitarian areas, including sport.
We will look forward to the results of your visit, which will definitely –I have no doubt about this whatsoever – provide a strong boost to the development of our bilateral ties.
Thank you. Thank you very much.