Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Mongolian Prime Minister Sükhbaataryn Batbold make press statements following the signing of bilateral agreements
14 december 2010
Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
We have concluded negotiations with Mr Batbold and our other guests. I would like to say that, as in previous years, the talks proceeded in the fruitful and friendly atmosphere customary to our relations.
We have analysed critical matters on the bilateral agenda, paying special attention to trade, economic contacts, and investment. We are working together to begin overcoming the negative effects of the global downturn. Russian-Mongolian trade grew by more than 50% in the first nine months of this year or, to be more precise, in the first ten months (the figures have just become available), and they have approached their pre-crisis level.
It is possible to consolidate these dynamic improvements by accelerating the pace of major joint projects – mainly in energy, infrastructure, and mining.
The several dozen Russian companies present in Mongolia are actively investing in the transport infrastructure, railway construction, and the prospecting and development of coal, uranium, and other deposits. No doubt, all this will build upon the export potential of the Mongolian economy – particularly through the use of Russian ports for trade with third-party countries. This mainly concerns the greater use of ports in the Russian Far East.
We are also seriously upgrading the Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetmet Russian-Mongolian joint ventures. I am sure that they will become much more competitive as a result and will benefit the entire Mongolian economy as they strengthen its manpower, resources, and technological potential.
Today Mr Batbold and I discussed the prospect of merging these major companies in the hopes that IPO [Initial Public Offering] will attract funds for their development and modernisation.
I would like to note the importance of stepping up our partnership in mining, especially where the prospecting, mining and processing of uranium ores is concerned. This is the goal of the emerging Dornod Uranium joint venture. I would like to add something that does not directly apply to Russian-Mongolian relations. We have noted between ourselves today that at the beginning of last year, Russia made a rather difficult decision: even in the midst of a recession, we allocated a significant additional sum to our leading Rosatom Corporation – 60 billion roubles – to acquire overseas assets. The company worked actively with them and made necessary investment in a falling market. As a result, all its investments have grown by 150% now that the market is on the rise. So not only has the resource basis of the Russian nuclear industry expanded but the company will also increase its capitalisation.
Let us return to current problems. I would like to note that the tradition of friendly Russian-Mongolian relations is certainly not limited to the field of economics. Personal interaction and cultural, scientific, and other humanitarian ties have always mattered to our nations. We place an emphasis on educational and youth exchanges. There are several thousand Mongolian students in Russia. I think it is essential to strengthen the academic aspect of bilateral relations, and we will continue this work in the future. Today, Russian universities, including industrial ones, are ready to offer Mongolian applicants pioneer curricula for the professions in greatest demand.
You have witnessed the signing of documents on military-technical cooperation. This work is successful enough, and it will certainly continue, particularly in the field of personnel training. It involves quite a few young people, among others. The first Mongolian cadets, still in their teens, have enrolled in a military school in Omsk. Our military universities continue to educate Mongolian experts.
Next year will mark the landmark date of the 90th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. I am sure that celebrations will be held at the highest level, bring positive results, and come as another incentive to our broad interaction.
I would like to say in conclusion that we and our Mongolian partners have drawn ambitious plans for cooperation. Their implementation not only promotes Russian and Mongolian interests but is also of major regional and global importance. We are determined to do everything we can to make these plans a reality.
I would like to thank my colleague, Mr Batbold, for today's work and to note that, without a doubt, this visit has been very successful. Apart from the major projects that we discussed today and that I have mentioned here in passing, I want to say that we have settled a number of practical issues that open further avenues of cooperation to us. We have worked for many years on problems pertaining to the Mongolian debt to Russia, leftover even from the Soviet era. Now, we have settled it on terms as beneficial as possible for our Mongolian friends.
We have also agreed that Russia will urgently make its contribution to the registered capital of the Ulan Bator Railway without waiting for our Mongolian partners to make their instalment.
Last but not least, as we agreed during extended negotiations, Russia will grant free assistance in the amount of 375 million roubles towards the inoculation of Mongolian livestock in an effort to increase exports to the Russian market. Thank you very much.
Sükhbaataryn Batbold (as translated): I'd like to greet all those present – the press and the esteemed prime minister, Vladimir Putin. Today's talks with Mr Putin took place in a very confidential and businesslike atmosphere. We have discussed a broad range of issues pertaining to political, economic, and military-technical cooperation. Our talks have produced impressive results. We have not only discussed urgent issues of bilateral cooperation but have also mapped out our prospects for the future.
We have agreed that our talks will be followed by a joint communiqué. As you know, we have signed 11 documents at various levels. First of all, I'd like to mention our intergovernmental agreement pertaining to Mongolia's financial obligations to Russia. As Mr Putin noted, Russia has resolved this historic issue, which we have discussed for many years, on the best possible terms for us. We have signed a medium-term programme for developing trade and economic ties in 2011-2015, and we have also approved a plan for improving the terms of our regional and cross-border cooperation. This is a very important issue for us because this cooperation accounts for 70% of our common trade.
I'm pleased to mention that the Mongolian Ministry of Roads, Transport, Construction, and Urban Planning and the Russian Ministry of Transport have signed a memorandum on railway rates. We attach much importance to this document because it lays the groundwork for our cooperation in this field, which will not only promote our bilateral trade and economic relations but will also provide Mongolia with access to sea. In addition, our energy ministries have signed a memorandum on the investigation of opportunities for gas and energy cooperation.
The departments in charge of geology and mining in our respective nations have signed a document that lays the foundation for our cooperation in exploring Mongolia's natural resources and developing its mineral deposits, which is of interest to both sides. It will encourage investment in this area.
We have agreed to establish the Dornod Uranium joint venture and are now completing its formation. This is a landmark event because cooperation in this field is of strategic importance to us. We have signed documents to further develop our military-technical ties, both with regard to arms supplies and the training of military personnel. The fact that we intend to cooperate in the training of underage people shows that, apart from trade and economic ties, we attach much importance to humanitarian cooperation.
We've discussed many military-technical issues. Apart from the modernisation of our armaments, we have talked about the supply of air defence equipment, which illustrates our plan to expand our cooperation.
The meeting and the talks have reaffirmed our intention to enhance the historically strong bilateral relations we share with Russia and steadily raise them to the level of a strategic partnership.
In order to develop that strategic partnership, we have discussed opportunities for promoting trade and, in particular, for increasing Mongolia's exports to Russia. Proceeding from this premise, both sides have expressed an interest in signing an agreement on free trade in the context of Russia's forthcoming accession to the WTO, which Mongolia wholeheartedly supports. We have established a working group to study the issue.
In addition, we have discussed how to encourage Russia's major companies to invest more resources in Mongolia. We have also spoken about how to improve the performance of our joint ventures, such as Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetmet. We have talked about amendments to the 1949 agreement on the Ulan Bator Railway joint-stock company, and we have discussed how to improve the railway and make it more efficient.
We have also agreed to continue our traditional cooperation in agriculture. We are planning to develop cross-border cooperation that will eventually allow us to supply Russia with more meat and meat products. We have already come to terms on a programme for improving the quality control of Mongolian cattle. In order to guarantee its immediate implementation, the Russian side has decided to allocate 375 million roubles for livestock vaccinations. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Putin and the other ministers for this decision.
We have also reviewed a broad range of issues relating to our ties in the field of culture and education as well as in the military-technical sphere, as I have already mentioned.
We have agreed to celebrate the 90th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. During the festivities, we will conduct large-scale events to emphasise how our friendly relations have taken shape historically, and our intention to continue this good tradition.
In conclusion, I'd like to thank you very much on behalf of our delegation for such a warm reception, for our businesslike conversation, and for the efficiency of our talks. I'd also like to thank all of our Russian friends, primarily Mr Putin, for such impressive results. I hope very much that our bilateral cooperation will continue to progress in the same spirit.
We always rejoice at the successes and achievements of Russia, our northern neighbour. We are happy that you have won the bid for the FIFA World Cup in 2018. This was Mr Putin's initiative; therefore, let me convey our most sincere and cordial congratulations on winning this much-deserved privilege.