11 november 2008

Vladimir Putin met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif

Vladimir Putin

Meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif

"Egypt is certainly one of Russia’s priority strategic partners, without exaggeration. We have a long history of friendship, interaction and practical cooperative work."

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, welcome to Moscow. I am very happy to be receiving such a high-ranking Egyptian delegation. Egypt is certainly one of Russia's priority strategic partners, without exaggeration. We have a long history of friendship, interaction and practical cooperative work.

President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak has put a lot of effort to strengthen relations between the two countries in the past few years. We regard him as a great friend of Russia. We expect you and the President to give as much attention to developing relations with Russia as you did before.

We believe Egypt to be a leading Arab country. I am happy to have this opportunity of discussing the situation in the region with you, to talk about development of bilateral contacts, especially economic ones.

Ahmet Nazif: (translated) Thank you, Mr Prime Minister. We are happy to be here today, and would like to thank you for the invitation to visit Russia. Please accept the warmest greetings from President Hosni Mubarak, for you and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

We also support the development of a broad dialogue with Russia, because, as you have rightly pointed out, this dialogue is of strategic importance. We have been working hard at expanding it.

We highly value our relations, formerly with the Soviet Union and now with Russia. These relations go back many decades. All Egyptians remember well that Russia was our supporter and ally during the hardest times.

We have a lot of material proof of Russia's friendship, and the dam in Aswan is certainly the most famous of them. We believe we have reached a point when we should make our cooperation even more intensive than before, primarily economic cooperation. In politics, I think we already share positions on many international and regional issues.

This is certainly true of our perspectives on the current Middle East problems and conflict settlement plans. We are strongly interested in progressing to peace in the region through our combined efforts. This is something that was discussed in Sharm El Sheikh, and later at the Russian-Egyptian summit.

President Hosni Mubarak has always said that Russia should play an important role in the Middle East peace process.

As for economic relations between our countries, we believe we have vast potential for expansion and reviving these contacts.

I remember when former Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov visited Egypt four years ago, we both stated that our bilateral trade turnover was $1 billion. Now it is nearing $4 billion, and we expect to double that amount over the next few years.

I have brought a large delegation with me. These people represent the different sectors of the Egyptian economy. We are ready to discuss specific projects in these sectors, particularly energy, transport, trade and investment.

We are happy that the flow of Russian tourists to Egypt is growing with every year. This year, we are expecting two million Russians at our resorts.

I would like to repeat that we are interested in keeping our relations as warm as they are now and in developing and expanding them further.

Vladimir Putin: Goods turnover between Russia and Egypt has grown five fold over the past five years, and certainly there are prospects for future development.



Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif's opening remarks at expanded Russian-Egyptian talks.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,

Once again, welcome to Russia. We are very glad to see you.

At the restricted meeting earlier, we noted that our bilateral trade volume increased five-fold over the last five years. I highly value Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's contribution to it. But we know this is not the limit and our abilities are much greater. We hope and we are sure that the today's meeting and further consultations will allow us to develop comprehensive cooperation between our countries.

Ahmed Nazif (as translated): Mr Putin, Ministers and colleagues,

Let me express my gratitude for the hospitality we have received in Moscow. I would like to wish you health, happiness and success on behalf of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt has made a historic choice in favour of strategic relations with the Russian Federation. We think that Russia is a leading economic power and a great country on the world map, which has enormous opportunities in trade, economic and investment cooperation, and in promoting peace and security in the world.