Vladimir Putin meets with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev
20 march 2012
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan is one of our closest partners. To a great extent, owing to your efforts we have made significant progress along our integration track, including the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Today we are already discussing the possibility of forming a Eurasian Union, which represents an even deeper degree of integration. Trade between our two countries grew by 30% last year, which means that we have chosen the right path for building our relationship.
I’d also like to remind you that soon this year, on May 25, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: The basic treaty.
Vladimir Putin: Yes. It has a good track record. I’d also like to discuss the renewal of this treaty with you.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you for arranging this meeting, Mr Putin. First, please accept my sincere congratulations on your election victory. The vast majority of Russian voters voted for you. This choice is fully supported by Kazakhstan and, certainly, me personally. I’ve known you for many years, and I’m sure that time and future developments will prove that this was the right choice. What is most pleasant for me is that we will be able to continue working together on promoting cooperation between our countries. Our joint project – the Eurasian economic union – is following this path. Everything, including the Customs Union, is working out well for us. Indeed, last year our bilateral trade reached an all-time high at $24 billion. According to my data, trade is up 42%, which is a telling figure. The Customs Union and the opening of the customs borders help bring our economies closer together, and headquarters are being transferred from one country to the other and joint ventures are being set up as well. This is something that we have always wanted. I’m an advocate of the Eurasian Union and I’ll do all it takes to make it happen.
Indeed, this year marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries, but most importantly, our basic Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation is also turning 20. I think we should, first, celebrate these anniversaries properly and, second, renew this treaty, because many of its articles have become outdated. We should replace and renew things regarding the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space that have been already achieved and update our treaty in accordance with our new goals. Accordingly, as soon as we reach the agreement, we should celebrate it in a proper way with the involvement of our intellectuals, business people and artists.
You are aware of all other issues. Yesterday, we discussed that we would return to the issue of merging the EurAsEc Secretariat’s Executive Office and the new union executive committee of the Common Economic Space. We still have to adopt another 50 documents and we will be able to announce the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015, as we wrote in our basic treaty. I believe that this is an ambitious goal. This will serve both states well and is a necessary thing to do today.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you. We are good at celebrating things, both in Kazakhstan and in Russia.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: To keep up with tradition, I invite you to visit Kazakhstan after the inauguration. This is an established tradition that works well.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.