29 january 2009

Vladimir Putin met with Mongolian President Nambariin Enkhbayar


Vladimir Putin: Mr President, I'm very glad to see you again and note that Russia's share in trade with Mongolia has grown considerably, reaching 61%.

We have good prospects, and by that, I mean agriculture, ore mining, railway development, and nuclear power engineering. I discussed all these questions with the Prime Minister, who took part in the Economic Forum in Irkutsk. We agreed that he would pay a working visit to Russia in the near future, this spring. It is very encouraging to note that our contacts are developing at all levels, both at the top government level and at the level of business partnership.

As you know, Russian businessmen are very interested in cooperating with their Mongolian colleagues. Not everything has been resolved timely of late, but both sides want to move forward.

Against this positive background, I'm very glad to see you again. I hope our conversation will be useful for the development of our relations.

Nambariin Enkhbayar: I'm very glad to see you here in Davos. I remember that when I was Prime Minister and you were President, and now vice versa, we have maintained warm feelings for each other that exist between the leaders of our two friendly states.

I agree with you that we have common interests in a whole number of issues. It goes without saying that we should work on this. I think that in this context, your visit to Mongolia as Russian President in 2000 was very important. This was the first visit from our northern neighbour in 25-27 years.

This visit played a very significant role in intensifying our cooperation. It laid a good foundation for our partnership, and we are now again awaiting your visit.

It is likely that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit our country next summer. In August, we will celebrate one of our common holidays - the 70th anniversary of our victory in Khalkin Gol. We should recall the exploits and heroism of our veterans and our common victories. We should sign new agreements based on these achievements.

Our Foreign Minister recently visited Moscow and had a very friendly meeting with his counterpart, Mr Sergei Lavrov. Our Prime Minister is planning to pay a working visit to Moscow. In February, we expect to see Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin in Mongolia.

We are hoping that every visit will allow us to resolve a set of problems, which will create a very good foundation for the active promotion of our cooperation. I fully agree that we should develop infrastructure. Russian Railways could initiate big investment projects in Mongolia. We welcome this. We should discuss this in detail, and draft investment projects on this basis.

We know that Russian businesspeople take an interest in ambitious mining projects. The official stance of the Mongolian leadership is such: we don't see how we could implement those projects without the contribution of Russia, our long-standing partner. In this respect, we welcome active Russian participation in every respect.

The ambitious investment projects you have mentioned, such as nuclear energy, are among the tentative areas of our partnership. We think we need to prepare bilateral visits on those themes and draw up relevant documents so that every visit produces positive results. I find ad hoc team meetings necessary in this respect. It is up to the Foreign Ministry to coordinate everything. Joint intergovernmental commission meetings are also necessary to draw up relevant papers for the implementation of all those large projects.

We ask our Russian friends for information exchange on a par with what we have had at previous meetings. When Russia joins nuclear energy and other major projects, it might establish partnerships with third countries, such as Korea and India. In that instance, we would have a more comprehensive view of finance, logistics, and technologies.

Both parties have been busy with energy dialogue of late. We know that Russia is rich in mineral resources. The same can be said of Mongolia. We would like to have a good, large package of relevant agreements that both Russia and Mongolia would find beneficial.

We have always spoken in favour of the opportunity of laying oil and gas pipelines to China via Mongolia, and Russia has always supported us in this respect.

I think our Chinese friends will also be interested in it because of their economic progress. Such infrastructure projects would be very timely in establishing a joint energy environment of Russia, China, and Mongolia.

As for economic partnership, I want to add something to what I have said. Regrettably, customs tariff regulation occasionally hampers bilateral trade. I am glad that we have reached the billion-dollar mark in bilateral trade, but I see far -greater potential for further progress.

To achieve it, we must settle the issue of a mutual differentiated approach to customs tariffs. We may start a dialogue with Russia on this matter. We will have a relevant meeting in Ulan Bator. We are also planning to receive observer status in the EurAsEC, which has the potential to be an effective tool of customs tariff protection. That is to say, we are using every means possible to find new opportunities and channels for settling customs issues with consideration for our determination to step up bilateral trade.