24 july 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev holds a meeting with Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan

“Russia is in favour of Kyrgyzstan becoming a member of the Customs Union, and this is our unwavering stance,” the Russian Prime Minister stressed during the meeting.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Babanov, I consider our meeting, which had been planned well in advance, to be proof of that unwavering line to promote good relations and partnership between Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Obviously, we have a lot to discuss. Not only are we neighbours and close friends, but we are also bound by specific obligations within the format of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation). We address integration projects within the format of the Eurasian Community, we maintain an active presence within the Commonwealth of Independent States, and we are involved in various processes. Certainly, these are all positive factors uniting our countries and peoples.

Despite certain difficulties in our economies, there has been a recent change in the mutual trade turnover pattern. Actually, the bilateral trade turnover is now expanding. At any rate, this enables our analysts to claim that the trade turnover will reach the pre-crisis levels before the year is out, and that will be quite good.

But I will not deny that the point of our meeting is not just to say some kind words to each other, but also to discuss some specific problems. We have such problems as well. I believe that we need to focus on some fairly complicated issues, including the national debt issue. This debt did not appear overnight, and I have discussed this issue with you and your President. Nevertheless, this debt should be resolved, because this is the debt not of specific individuals, but of the state of Kyrgyzstan.

We have repeatedly discussed how to do this, and there are rational solutions to this problem. What we need is to bring our positions closer together once and for all. This would open up an opportunity for implementing many large-scale projects on which we have not achieved any progress so far. We’ll discuss various issues – economic, and if need be, cultural and humanitarian ones. In any event, I’d like to welcome you to the Moscow Region and wish you productive work in Russia.

Omurbek Babanov: Thank you very much, Mr Medvedev. Thank you for your invitation to pay a working visit to Russia. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my condolences on the recent events in Kuban.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.

Omurbek Babanov: The Kyrgyz people share the grief of the Russians. This is an implacable act of nature, from which no one is protected, as we felt it this winter.

Mr Medvedev, I’d also like to thank you for your support when you were the President of the Russian Federation. You rendered us real support… During the Osh events, after 2010, and following the April events when our country faced a major dilemma, you were one of the first to support us during this time of trial.

This shows once again that we are strategic partners with Russia and if we have some outstanding issues, we must resolve them… None of the issues that we have are unsolvable. We have applied for accession to the Customs Union and a group of experts is working in this direction. Our trade is impressive and Russia is our first partner in terms of this economic potential. Many of our citizens work in Russia, and the money they send to Kyrgyzstan is a major injection into our economy…

I’d like to thank you as Prime Minister for inviting me to come so shortly after our meeting in Ashgabat. There are a number of issues that I believe we will resolve today. Thank you very much. 

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. I’d like to point out one thing to make Russia’s position clear. I have told you and Mr Atambayev (President Almazbek Atambayev) more than once that Russia is in favour of Kyrgyzstan becoming a member of the Customs Union, and this is our unwavering stance. We merely need to follow some road maps, coordinating this movement with our partners – Belarus and Kazakhstan. But our position is absolutely firm. I would like for you to study a package of agreements for joining the Customs Union as soon as possible, because they are numerous and quite complicated. However, if you are choosing this road, you will have to follow it quickly.

Omurzek Babanov: We’ve already chosen the road and now it is just a question of time. Thank you very much.

Dmitry Medvedev: The faster we work, the faster we’ll manage.