27 december 2010

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds talks with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev

During the meeting, Prime Minister Putin pointed out that positive trends are emerging in the two countries’ trade and economic relations and that there are about eleven companies with Russian capital currently operating in Kyrgyzstan. “We hope that your government will create conditions that are conducive to their economic prosperity, above all for the good of Kyrgyzstan,” he said.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Atambayev, ladies and gentlemen. Let me warmly welcome you to Moscow. We are glad that your government institutions have been established, and now we hope that we will be able, first and foremost, to tackle economic problems. Many such problems have emanated from the financial and economic crisis and the turbulent political processes that have been a factor in Kyrgyzstan for quite some time.

I would like to congratulate you on being elected prime minister of Kyrgyzstan. You and I have already met before. Russia was helping its friends in Kyrgyzstan by first providing a $20 million grant and then generous aid amounting to $10 million. Our humanitarian aid has totaled more than $25 million. We have delivered 1.5 million tonnes of grain to Kyrgyzstan, the necessary volume of diesel fuel, and so on. Naturally, these are urgent measures taken to ensure that the country's life goes on. Today we have to focus on normalising this life and facilitating its advancement. First of all, I'm referring to the economic life. Unfortunately, our two countries' trade turnover dropped dramatically last year, but in the first nine or ten months of this year, positive trends began to show. Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go in order to reach the pre-crisis trade level. Eleven companies with Russian capital are currently working in Kyrgyzstan, and we hope that your government will create conditions that are conducive to their economic prosperity, above all for the good of Kyrgyzstan. I am referring to the fact that these companies have a stake in your country's economy.

We are glad to see you. Welcome.

Almazbek Atambayev: Thank you, Mr Putin. I am glad to meet with you, and I am happy that my first foreign visit as prime minister is to Russia. I remember how much good you – both Russia and you personally, Mr Putin – have done for us, especially this year. In the worst of times, Russia was the first to come to our aid. Above all, in the aftermath of the tragic events that erupted in Kyrgyzstan's south, it has been Russian aid that even now plays a vital role in restoring our nation – and I refer even to the aid that you provided last year, which, as you know, we managed to salvage from the previous government.

I have always said – when running for MP and for prime minister and when appointed as prime minister – that Russia is our main strategic partner. There is no alternative to it because we have a historical affinity and a shared past. I am convinced that only a united and common future is possible for our countries. Naturally, we have a vision of Kyrgyzstan in the Customs Union and in the Common Economic Space, and we see Kyrgyzstan inextricably bound with Russia.

I would like to cite a personal example. My father, just like your father, Mr Putin, fought in the Great Patriotic War, and they fought together. I believe that breaking this bond is a sin.

Over my ten – if I'm not mistaken – days as prime minister, I have browsed the agreements signed between Kyrgyzstan and Russia. I saw how many good plans we had and how many good things could have been done in our mutual interest. Unfortunately, I have to admit that because of the previous Kyrgyz government, these plans have not been carried out. Moreover, the drug control issue is very topical, but entire agencies have been closed down despite the fact that Russia offered both its financial and technical support. So, in light of all this, it pains one to realise how much time we have wasted.

We need go no further than our agreement on power production. We have just been talking to representatives of the Kyrgyz hydroelectric power industry and RusHydro, and we see that there have been many plans... And it's better late than never.

Or let's recall the joint plans on Kyrgyzgaz: a lot has been planned between Kyrgyzgaz and Gazprom, and I think that these plans need to be revisited. In any sector, you will find similar circumstances. Unfortunately, our previous government succumbed to promises of a free lunch, and they forgot that there's no such thing.

I'm convinced now that we, Mr Putin, have to improve the relations between Kyrgyzstan and Russia dramatically in order to raise them to the level at which they should be and once were. Naturally, I thank you once again, Mr Putin, for your support and for the attention that you are giving to our country during these difficult times. I hope that our meeting today – a meeting of our official delegation with representatives of the Russian government, including you – will light the first spark of a breakthrough in Kyrgyz-Russian relations.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.