Letters of credence were presented to the President of Russia by: Joseph Nkurunziza (Republic of Burundi), Cham Ugala Uriat (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia), Dauren Abaev (Republic of Kazakhstan), Seydou Kamissoko (Republic of Mali), Lee Do-hoon (Republic of Korea), Ebrima Ceesay (Republic of the Gambia), Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (Federal Republic of Germany), Neo Ek Beng Mark (Republic of Singapore), Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter (Kingdom of Sweden), Darja Bavdaž Kuret (Republic of Slovenia), Thomas Reisen (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg), Muhammad Khalid Jamali (Islamic Republic of Pakistan), Boumediene Gennad (People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria), Rashed Hammad Al-Adwani (State of Kuwait), John William Geering (Australia), Deman Mohamed Hamar (Islamic Republic of Mauritania), Tanju Bilgiç (Republic of Turkiye), Nigel Philip Casey (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland), Esen Aydogdyev (Turkmenistan), Ekaterini Xagorari (Hellenic Republic), and Alejandro Arias Zarzuela (Dominican Republic).
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Speech at the ceremony for presenting foreign ambassadors’ credentials
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to ask you to show understanding for some delay in holding this ceremony to present your letters of credence. During the first half of the day I had to take part in some public events, primarily a visit to an exhibition at VDNKh. I advise you to find a few hours to see it. You will have an opportunity to see graphic examples of how Russia lives and what life is about here. You will be working and living in this country for several years.
First, I would like to congratulate you on the official beginning of your diplomatic activity in the Russian Federation. This is not an easy time, but first I would also like to tell you that at the exhibition, I did not just look at our achievements but also took part in presenting awards to the winners of a volunteer competition. Tomorrow we will celebrate Volunteer Day in Russia. Representatives of 95 countries took part in this competition, including those states whose leaders are restricting relations with the Russian Federation in one way or another. Some participants achieved great results in this competition. Thus, a team of volunteers from the Republic of Turkiye won the competition in its category, support for low-income families. These are large joint efforts in people’s diplomacy. I would like our relations to duly develop not only through people’s diplomacy but also through official diplomacy.
You are heading embassies in a very complicated period for international relations when crisis phenomena in global politics and the economy are mounting and regional conflicts are escalating. Indicatively, in case of the deep-rooted Palestinian-Israeli conflict, this tragic situation has taken on the characteristics of a full-on humanitarian crisis.
The world entered a time of turbulence. It is undergoing cardinal transformation. The underlying change is that the former unipolar world system is being replaced by a new, more just multipolar world order. I believe this has already become obvious to everyone. Naturally, such a fundamental process will not be smooth, but it is objective, and – as I want to emphasise – irreversible.
As for Russia, we pursue an independent, consistent, and principled foreign policy, and we are open to constructive partnerships with all countries without exception, and do not accept bloc confrontation or any steps that run counter to the UN Charter. Our country has no biased or, more over, hostile intentions towards anyone. And of course, we expect that all our international partners will adhere to the principles of equality and mutual respect for each other’s interests.
Whether others like it or not, our activity in international affairs will only increase. Next year, Russia will have a number of important foreign policy functions. We will be the first to chair the expanded BRICS association. And we will do our best to help the new members smoothly integrate into the activities of this organisation.
In general, we will do our best to promote the group’s role in resolving pressing issues on the global agenda, as well as to make efforts to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnerships within BRICS, and to develop cooperation in the economic, financial, and other fields. We will enthusiastically prepare for the BRICS summit to be held in Kazan in October 2024 with the new, broader composition. By the way, BRICS sports games will also take place in Kazan next summer.
Next year, Russia will also chair the Commonwealth of Independent States – our closest natural partners. And we aim to contribute to building up diverse interaction between them. Of course, we will also further develop integration processes in the Eurasian Economic Union and deepen cooperation within the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
We will pay special attention to working with our partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which became the institutional pillar of Greater Eurasia after India, Pakistan and Iran joined the organisation. Let me emphasise: another of our key foreign policy projects is building cooperation through the Greater Eurasian Partnership, the creation of which we initiated a few years ago.
Let me repeat: Russia is willing to develop close partnerships with any country that is willing to meet us halfway. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, we will continue to contribute to the resolution of serious regional and global challenges, and to consistently advocate approaches to ensuring equal and indivisible security, to forming an equitable system of international economic relations that are free from unfair competition, unilateral sanctions, and politically driven restrictions.
Without a doubt, we intend to expand contacts with our international partners in the humanitarian and cultural spheres. By the way, very soon, in March, we plan to host the World Youth Festival in Sochi, which will bring together young people from all continents. Representatives from over 180 countries are expected to attend.
In addition, preparations are underway for the innovation-driven Games of the Future in Kazan which combine classical sports and esports.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Now, as is customary, I will say a few words about our country’s relationship with each of the countries you represent.
Russia and the Republic of Burundi are bound by relations of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation, a fact that was clearly confirmed during my meeting with the President of Burundi at the Russia–Africa Summit in July, during which important agreements were reached on further expanding our cooperation.
In particular, Russia provides targeted help to the republic in its efforts to develop the national healthcare system. For example, in October, an Infectious Diseases Study Centre opened in Bujumbura, and early next year, another mobile medical laboratory for express diagnostics will be made available to our partners.
Russian-Burundian cooperation covers many other areas, including peaceful nuclear development, justice, education, and personnel training.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is our long-standing and reliable partner in Africa. This year, we marked the 125th anniversary of diplomatic relations.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s official visit to Russia in July was quite useful and productive. An array of intergovernmental and trade agreements in transport and logistics, telecommunications, as well as in the sphere of peaceful atom were concluded during this visit. Once implemented, these agreements will undoubtedly help diversify Russian-Ethiopian cooperation.
Russia supported Ethiopia's application to join BRICS from the time it was submitted. We will facilitate the effective integration of our Ethiopian partners into all interaction mechanisms within the association during our chairmanship in 2024.
Cooperation and strategic partnership with Kazakhstan are based on the time-tested historical, cultural, and fraternal ties that bind the two nations. November marked the 10th anniversary of the signing of the founding Agreement on Good-Neighbourliness and Alliance in the 21st Century.
In full accordance with the spirit and letter of this agreement, our countries are expanding cooperation across all areas. Bilateral trade shows record-setting figures, and numerous humanitarian projects are underway.
Constructive interaction is being built within the EAEU, the CIS and within other international platforms. Russia will do its best to help Kazakhstan perform its functions as chair of both the CSTO and the SCO next year.
Our recent visit to Astana has given a strong boost to expanding all aspects of bilateral relations. I will see President Tokayev in St Petersburg later this month during the traditional meetings of the EAEU and the CIS leaders.
We welcome the leadership of the Republic of Mali's commitment to forming long-term strategic partnership with our country. We remain in constant contact with Interim President Assimi Goïta. He and I have held productive talks at the Russia–Africa Summit. Our countries stand together in combating international terrorism and religious extremism in the interests of strengthening peace and security in the Sahel-Sahara region and all of West Africa.
Russia will continue to provide comprehensive assistance and support to the people of Mali, including shipments of food, fertilizer, and manufactured goods. A large consignment of Russian grain was recently shipped to the republic at no cost. We will continue to collaborate in the humanitarian sphere, expanding, in particular, the number of openings for Malian citizens wishing to study at Russian universities.
A number of ships with Russian grain will soon sail to six countries in need. Some ships are being unloaded at the ports of destination, some are currently on their way, while some are being loaded at Russian ports.
As we know, unfortunately, bilateral relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea are not going though the best times. Just several years ago, these relations were developing in a most constructive way and were mutually beneficial, especially in the economy. We also worked together on the political and diplomatic settlement for the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
It depends on Seoul as to whether Russian-Korean cooperation will be returned to a trajectory of partnership that is so advantageous for our countries and peoples. Esteemed Ambassador, I would like to emphasise that we are ready for this.
Russia’s connections with the Republic of the Gambia are stable and constructive. There is every opportunity to make them even more dynamic. Russia is ready to offer specific projects for cooperation in the economic, humanitarian, and other areas. In addition, we will continue expanding the practice of educating professionals for Gambia at our universities.
We managed to develop pragmatic business cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany for more than half a century. This brought benefits to both states, and probably, not only to us but also to all of Europe. Importantly, energy was always a serious area for bilateral interaction. For decades, our country sent the Federal Republic of Germany ecologically clean natural gas, oil, and other energy-yielding materials at affordable prices and in a reliable, secure way. This cooperation was literally undermined, including by the subversive action at the Nord Stream pipeline.
The current frozen state of relations with Russia – and I would like to emphasise that this was not our initiative – is not beneficial for you or us but, I think, it is primarily bad for Germany. This is also reflected in the suspension, in addition to political and economic ties, of our contacts in the scientific, educational, cultural, and humanitarian areas and between our civil societies – contacts that we developed so successfully before.
I would like to emphasise that Russia has always advocated and is advocating today the development of Russian-German relations on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and respect for each other’s interests. Let me repeat that such relations are important not only for our two countries but also for all of Europe.
Throughout the past few decades, we have maintained productive ties with the Republic of Singapore, with a particular focus on the economic aspect. Business contacts have also flourished. Singapore has actively participated in establishing cooperation in regional stability and security issues through the dialogue mechanism between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
We regret to state that there are no longer any political contacts with our Baltic neighbour, the Kingdom of Sweden. Trade, economic collaboration, as well as cultural and humanitarian ties have been significantly reduced.
Clearly, each state is free to determine the most optimal ways to ensure its security. However, Stockholm's renunciation of its 200-years-old policy of non-involvement in military alliances raises questions. This policy, which brought Sweden undeniable benefits and contributed to the overall atmosphere of security and stability in the Northern European region. However, the current situation in our bilateral affairs is clearly at odds with the true interests of both our countries, the region, and Europe as a whole.
Over the past three decades of diplomatic relations, Russia and Slovenia have come a long way. We have developed strong trade and economic cooperation, as well as extensive cultural and humanitarian collaboration. The annual Day of Russian-Slovenian Friendship has symbolised the deep affection between the people of our two countries.
Currently, the bilateral dialogue has been suspended. While we regret this, we are ready to resume mutually beneficial cooperation and even enhance it, provided Slovenia shares the same approach.
Our relations with Luxembourg have deep historical roots. It could be said that Russia played a significant role in the establishment of Luxembourg's statehood in the 19th century. Until recently, political, economic, and humanitarian interactions between Russia and Luxembourg have developed constructively. We are in favour of returning our cooperation to its traditionally positive trajectory.
This year, Russia and Pakistan celebrated the 75th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. These relations are truly friendly, as confirmed by our meeting with the Caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan in Beijing in October of this year. Mutual trade has been growing dynamically, and we have maintained mutually beneficial cooperation in various economic sectors, including energy and agriculture.
Our countries’ partnership is carried out within the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and through mechanisms to support the Afghan settlement, such as the Moscow format of consultations and the regional “four.”
Solid and friendly relations link Russia with the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria. In June 2023, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune paid a state visit to Russia. The visit elevated fruitful cooperation between our countries to a whole new level. We adopted a declaration on in-depth strategic partnership.
Russian-Algerian trade and economic cooperation is developing at a dynamic pace. Bilateral trade has already exceeded US$2 billion, and we are consistently expanding our cultural and humanitarian ties.
We appreciate the well-balanced foreign policy of the Algerian leadership. In 2024–2025, Algeria will assume the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Naturally, we will actively align our cooperation efforts with the Algerian side on the international and regional agenda.
Our relations with the State of Kuwait are developing constructively. We prioritise the expansion of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation. We are interested in strengthening our foreign policy interaction that hinges on traditionally similar positions on a wide range of regional and international issues. Given Kuwait’s OPEC membership, we continue to coordinate our positions on energy policy issues, a collaboration we intend to uphold in the future.
The people of Russia remember Australia’s alliance with the Soviet Union in the struggle against Nazism during World War II. Later, our nations maintained friendly and mutually beneficial relations. Regrettably this is a thing of the past, as bilateral contacts have been curtailed across virtually all spheres today.
We feel concern about Canberra’s active participation in closed-end blocs being established in the Asia-Pacific region, as it undermines the atmosphere of trust and cooperation in that part of the world.
Relations with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania are evolving on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, with due consideration for the well-established traditions of friendship and mutual understanding. We see ample opportunities for expanding bilateral economic ties, particularly in the sphere of sea fishing. Additionally, we aim to enhance coordination in Arab and African regional affairs.
Russia's partnership with the Republic of Turkiye is strong and built on years of effective cooperation in various areas. Both sides are committed to further developing ties based on principles of good-neighbourliness, partnership, and mutual benefit. All key bilateral issues are on the agenda of our regular contacts with President Erdogan.
I want to emphasise the strategic nature of Russian-Turkish cooperation in the energy sector. Rosatom is currently building Turkiye’s first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu. We also have close collaboration in the gas sector through the operation of the Blue Stream and TurkStream pipelines. Furthermore, we are working together to create a gas distribution hub in Turkiye. In addition to energy, we have many interesting projects and joint endeavours in trade and high technologies.
Turning to our relations with Great Britain, I would like to mention that we recently celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Tehran Conference of the three Allied Powers, which laid the foundations for the modern system of international relations. In the post-war period and until recently, our countries built interaction based on the understanding of our special responsibility as permanent members of the UN Security Council to maintain global peace, stability, and security. However, it is well known that our current dialogue with London is not ideal. We hope that the situation will change for the better in the interests of our two nations.
We are developing multifaceted cooperation with friendly Turkmenistan. Our political and economic ties are complemented by a wide range of contacts through parliaments, regions, and the public. In the humanitarian sphere, noteworthy projects include the establishment of the Russian-Turkmen University, the construction of a new building for the State Russian Drama Theatre, and an additional building for the Pushkin Joint Secondary School in Ashgabat.
Russia has great respect for Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality. We are ready to continue fruitful cooperation on multilateral platforms, particularly within the CIS, the Caspian Five, and the Central Asia plus Russia format.
As far as relations between Russia and Greece are concerned, we have taken care to establish constructive and friendly cooperation for over two centuries. This helped both of our countries to achieve good results in the economy and the humanitarian sphere. For this reason, we cannot help being concerned about the current situation in our bilateral affairs. We can only hope that the traditional bonds of spiritual affinity, mutual liking and respect between the Russian and Greek peoples will ultimately help to revive both mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries and normal business relations.
In recent years, our relations with the Dominican Republic have become progressively dynamic. In many respects, this is the result of a remarkable increase in the Russian tourist inflow, with Russian tourists attracted by the natural beauty of your country and the broad opportunities for rest and recreation that it offers. As is only natural that we are interested in promoting political, economic and cultural cooperation with the Dominican Republic. Given that Dominicans are keen on getting a higher education in Russia, we will increase the quota of scholarships for your citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In conclusion, I would like to stress that Russia attaches much importance to relations with each of the states you represent. During your ambassadorship, you can certainly count on our support, on support from the Russian leadership, the executive authorities, the business community, the public, and, of course, from the parliament.
I sincerely hope that your work in Russia will also bring you personal satisfaction. You will be able to literally feel what our country lives and breathes, what our multi-faith power, with its rich and diverse culture, lives and breathes. You will feel Russia’s beating pulse and connect with its rich culture.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish you good luck, good health, and all the best. I think we are unlikely to meet as a group before the New Year. So, happy upcoming New Year and Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it in late December. My very best wishes to all of you!
I regret that for medical reasons we cannot have a more detailed talk and contacts. I hope better times will come not only in politics but also in the area of healthcare, and we will be able to do that. At any rate, both I and Foreign Minister [Sergei Lavrov], my foreign policy aide, are always at your disposal in the normal course of business.
Once again, I wish you all the best. Good luck to you.
Happy upcoming New Year! All the best.