Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds talks with his Mongolian counterpart Sükhbaataryn Batbold
14 december 2010
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to see you in Moscow. Will we need an interpreter?
Sükhbaataryn Batbold: No, we won’t.
Vladimir Putin: Good. 2011 will be a landmark year, considering two important anniversaries – first of Mongolia’s independence and second of Russian-Mongolian diplomatic relations. I am sure that we will mark them in some special way.
As for our trade and economic relations, I would like to note that, despite the economic downturn (a serious slump from 2008, in fact), we have achieved growth this year – 52% in nine or ten months. We are close to the pre-crisis level. This means we are moving in the right direction. There are three leaders in Russian-Mongolian cooperation: the Ulan Bator Railway and two mineral resources companies. We are also establishing relations with Mongolian partners in the nuclear sector. We have good plans to put forward, and we are happy to see you here. Let us try to use your time here as efficiently as possible, adjust our plans and push them forward. Welcome to Russia.
Sükhbaataryn Batbold: Thank you! Thank you very much for the invitation and the warm welcome of our delegation.
You are certainly right to say that we have good longstanding relations and, indeed, next year we will mark the 90th anniversary of the restoration of our diplomatic relations. Ninety years is a long time. 2011 will also be an important year for Mongolia because my country will see a centenary of Mongolia’s national liberation movement and the 90th anniversary of the Outer Mongolian revolution. We would like to organise major celebrations of these events.
As for our relations, we certainly have a lot of positive achievements and good traditions. We also have vast prospects ahead. I am primarily referring to our trade and economic cooperation. I would like to use this opportunity to discuss the specific areas in which we could advance. A visit at this high level provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our relations in general.
As you have rightly noted, trade is growing between our two countries, and will probably retake its pre-crisis level this year or the next.
On the whole, Mongolia’s policy is designed to further develop our relations. We even make unconventional decisions in favour of our relations with Russia on certain issues that are especially important for Mongolia. One of the examples of this policy is the approval of a general railway plan for Mongolia. There were heated debates about the track gauge. It was a serious discussion because it is a critical issue, both economically and politically. Eventually, Mongolia’s parliament and government opted for broad gauge over standard gauge for the sake of relations with Russia.
You have just mentioned equal cooperation. Well, that was not an easy decision due to the other parties involved. Nevertheless, we took a discretionary decision for the sake of our relations.
I am happy to know that we will sign a joint venture protocol or agreement shortly after this meeting. I am sure we have prospects for yet more intensive cooperation. There are great opportunities in Mongolia, including its mining industry, infrastructural development, and other projects.
Mongolian business leaders are as interested as the government in the expansion of our relations with Russia. We expect some tangible improvements that would benefit Mongolia and our relations – primarily the liberalisation of trade. Before the 1990s, Mongolia exported a greater volume of its traditional products to Russia.