17 march 2011

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev

“The level of Russian-Kazakh relations is very high, largely due to your efforts,”Vladimir Putin said to Nursultan Nazarbayev. Prime Minister Putin also expressed hope that such conditions would continue in the future. He said, “For our part, we are specifically working towards this goal.”

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, I am very glad to see you. As far as I know, you have already had a very productive meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev. It's very good to meet with you in Russia and thoroughly discuss relations between our countries.

Yesterday in Minsk we discussed issues connected to the integration process for both the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) and the Common Economic Space. EurAsEC, and the EurAsEC Court in particular, must regulate disputes that arise between the member states of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. I must say that we've made significant progress. I'm sure you're very glad to hear this since you are actually the main force behind the integration process. Strictly speaking, these were your ideas. And we will implement them successfully.

In terms of bilateral relations, our countries have enjoyed a growth in trade and the development of major investment projects. We are reaching agreements on a number of issues that we have been negotiating for a long time. These issues include transport infrastructure, subsoil exploration, railway transport and energy. In general, the level of Russian-Kazakh relations is very high, largely due to you efforts. We'd like to thank you for that and hope that such conditions will continue in the future. For our part, we are specifically working towards this goal.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you, Mr Putin. It's been a long time and I am happy to see you. We communicate with each other by telephone to ask for advice and to discuss and solve issues. Thus, there are no unresolved issues or problems between our states, and that fact speaks for itself.

Last year was very important since we finally established the Customs Union, and now we are making headway in establishing the Common Economic Space. This is, without exaggeration, the culmination of the entire integration process that we have been carrying out for so many years. We discussed the Common Economic Space for the first time in 2003. Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma took part in the discussion back then. The four of us didn't make it happen then, but now we are making progress. And the results of the first year show that Russia's exports to Kazakhstan grew by 30% to total 12 billion roubles, Kazakhstan's exports to Russia also grew by 30%, but totalled 5 billion (since our economies are different sizes). These are the results of integration, which turned out to be useful for everybody. Those idle talks about who would benefit and who would not do no matter at all anymore – integration is clearly beneficial for everybody.

The fact that we are making progress makes me very happy. In the last five years Russia made $3.5 billion of direct investments in Kazakhstan, and Kazakhstan invested $1.5 billion in Russia. There are about 3,500 joint Russian-Kazakh enterprises in operation. We have been implementing major projects in engineering, aviation, and defence. Things are going really well.

I believe we will resolve the issues related to joint work in the Caspian Sea. We will cooperate at three major facilities. We have agreed on extending the North Caspian pipeline's capacity up to 67 million tonnes. Kazakh oil has been shipped and will continue to be shipped through Russia. In 2012 we will finish the Western China–Western Europe highway going through Russia. All of this will significantly increase our cooperation. I think we will discuss this topic.

Vladimir Putin: I recall our agreements about the border. I also recall our agreements about joint work at major deposits. It turned out that a deposit that the Russian side started working in and which passed to Russia is rich indeed, and the other that went to Kazakhstan... Well, let's just say that the exploration didn't confirm the specialists' preliminary data. But despite that, Mr Nazarbayev, we will fulfil our promises about the 50-50 share in accordance with the agreements we reached earlier.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: 50-50 everywhere, yes?

Vladimir Putin: Yes, at all deposits.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: That's what we need to talk about. But I have some questions about our region and the events taking place there. I would like to talk about that.