President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Kremlin for this presentation of credentials.
As ambassadors, you are entrusted with the important and responsible mission to hold talks with the Russian Government, our agencies, parliamentarians and members of the public, and to develop bilateral relations between your countries and Russia. We are interested in efficient and successful work.
You head your missions in a complicated time, when the situation in the world is becoming increasingly turbulent and tense. Participants in the regular United Nations General Assembly session expressed sincere concern about the growing challenges and threats that the global community has to face. In this context, the UN remains the guarantor of stability and predictability in international affairs, and its universal nature cannot be doubted.
The priority for all countries should be strict compliance with the rule of law and respect for the powers of the UN Security Council as an agency that bears the bulk of responsibility for international peace and security. Russia is committed to enhancing the UN’s effectiveness. We support the expediency of reforming it to adjust it to modern requirements. At the same time, we believe that all changes in UN work must be substantiated and based on the agreement of the majority if not all members of the international community.
The UN must focus on finding solid, sustainable and lasting solutions to regional conflicts. Russia will continue to contribute to these efforts, in particular in Syria.
As you know, agreements on four de-escalation zones in Syria have been achieved in Astana with assistance from the guarantor countries – Russia, Iran and Turkey – and these have been supported by a great many countries. These agreements have created conditions for implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254 through a direct dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition and for rallying their efforts to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism as soon as possible and to restore peace and unity in Syria. The Astana process, which is underway in the capital of Kazakhstan, is designed to create favourable conditions for progress towards a political settlement at the Geneva talks.
Another immediate task is to increase humanitarian deliveries and accelerate mine clearing operations in the liberated regions. Everyone who sincerely wishes peace to Syria and Syrians and who want to see refugees return to their homes should join these UN-led processes without any preconditions.
We see increasing confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear missile programme. You know our position on this matter. We condemn Pyongyang’s activities that violate the UN Security Council resolution. But using increasingly militant rhetoric is not just a road to nowhere but also a highly destructive policy. All parties must show restraint and look for a peaceful solution. In a modern world, conflicts must be settled with due regard for many factors, some of them extremely delicate ones, and through compromise.
Speaking about the Ukrainian crisis, this approach is reflected in the Package of Measures, which was coordinated in Minsk in February 2015. This package includes all the key political and security elements of a settlement. To provide an additional impetus towards a settlement, Russia has recently advanced an initiative for a UN mission to protect OSCE observers in Donbass. We hope to be able to hold a business-like and constructive discussion of this initiative at the UN Security Council.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are 20 heads of diplomatic missions here today. As per tradition, I would like to say a few words about relations with each state you represent.
Russian-Spanish relations go back many centuries. This year we marked 350 years since the establishment of the first diplomatic contacts between our states. Our people are bound together by the feelings of mutual sympathy and respect. There is potential for developing Russian-Spanish cooperation in many areas despite an adverse political situation. Everyone is talking about the Catalonian referendum now. Frankly, we are seriously concerned about Spain, even though this is an internal affair of the Kingdom of Spain. We hope it will overcome this crisis.
I believe that the opening of the Embassy of Grenada in Moscow, as well as the recent signing of the agreement on visa-free entry for citizens of both countries, will promote cooperation with Grenada. In the current half-year, Grenada chairs the Caribbean Community. We attach great importance to maintaining ties with this and other integration associations of the Caribbean region.
We are satisfied with the high level of interaction with Laos, an important partner of Russia in Southeast Asia. It is based on the Declaration on Strategic Partnership, signed in 2011. The Prime Minister of Laos recently made a visit to our country. The agreements and contracts signed during his visit will undoubtedly contribute to deepening bilateral cooperation.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Croatia. We look forward to welcoming President of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic to Russia in the middle of this month (in October). We expect to reach new agreements in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres during the talks, including the decision to open the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Zagreb.
We have traditionally friendly ties with the Republic of Zambia. There are good prospects for increasing cooperation in trade, investment, military technology and energy. Russia will provide practical assistance to Zambia in the construction of the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology.
We are open to broadening cooperation with the Republic of Moldova on a pragmatic and mutually advantageous basis, in the spirit of the agreements reached during this year’s visits to Russia by President of Moldova Igor Dodon. We welcome Moldova’s interest in cooperation with Eurasian integration associations. We will further contribute to the political solution of the Transnistrian problem.
We attach great importance to strengthening strategic partnership with Argentina. We are ready to intensify cooperation in energy, industry, agriculture, culture and the humanitarian field. And of course, we will cooperate closely during Argentina’s presidency of the G20 next year.
Our relations with the Republic of Cyprus are gaining momentum. They are based on the cultural and spiritual kinship of our peoples. I am confident that during the upcoming visit of President Nicos Anastasiades to Russia in October, important bilateral documents in a variety of areas will be adopted. Russia has consistently called for a comprehensive, just and viable solution to the Cypriot problem in line with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Our bilateral cooperation with Mexico has come to cover a wide range of issues lately. We held a useful meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto, who attended the BRICS summit in Xiamen as a guest. We spoke, among other things, about specific ways to deepen our political dialogue and boost trade, economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation.
Not long ago, Mexico survived a powerful earthquake that claimed hundreds of lives. The Russian people sincerely sympathise with the Mexican people in their grief and painful loss. We immediately sent humanitarian aid and are ready to continue providing any necessary assistance.
We maintain a constructive dialogue with the Dominican Republic, a dialogue which has become consistent and diverse in nature. The number of Russian tourists visiting your hospitable country is on the rise.
We are convinced that cooperation with Myanmar can successfully advance in the political, trade, investment, military-technical and cultural and humanitarian areas. At the same time, we are concerned about the outburst of ethnic and religious tension in a number of regions in the country. We are calling on all sides to show restraint. Resolutions to problems as complicated as these (we know from our own experience), should be found in the sphere of political cooperation and through political means without human rights violations.
In our cooperation with the Republic of Uganda, we attach importance to the steady development of trade, economic and military-technical cooperation, seeing these as priority tasks. We consider it necessary to step up the work of the bilateral intergovernmental commission. We welcome the positive role of the Ugandan leadership in matters of ensuring peace and stability on the African continent.
We are watching with concern the developments in the friendly Republic of Yemen, where an armed conflict is ongoing. We are convinced that the road to peace and accord lies through a broad national dialogue based on respect for the opinions of all the leading political forces in the country. We are willing to provide all-round assistance to a settlement, if necessary.
We are ready to develop relations with the Republic of Latvia in the spirit of neighbourliness and respect for the interests of each other. Mr Ambassador, you are certainly aware of our attitude to the situation with our compatriots who reside in Latvia. I hope we will be able to discuss this matter as well.
In 2017, we marked 30 years since Peter the Great visited France. My visit to Paris, where President Emmanuel Macron and I held meaningful talks, was timed for this notable occasion. We maintain dialogue with the French President on vital bilateral issues as well as current international and regional matters. In particular, we have agreed to create the Trianon Dialogue civil society forum to strengthen mutual understanding between our peoples. We are willing to maintain and develop the special tradition and role of Russian-French relations in European affairs and in global politics.
We are pleased to note the revival of Russian-Portuguese trade and economic cooperation. Bilateral trade has almost doubled recently: it increased by 190 percent in the first six months of the year. An important cultural event is planned for December. The Moscow Kremlin Museums will host an exhibition titled Lords of the Ocean. Treasures of the Portuguese Empire, which tells us about the rich cultural and historical heritage of Portugal from the Age of Discovery.
Our relations with Malaysia are focused on promoting political dialogue, as well as trade and investment cooperation. One of the issues on our agenda is the first meeting of the Joint Russian-Malaysian Commission on Economic, Research, Technical and Cultural Cooperation.
Addressing the Ambassador of the United States, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to the nation and leaders of your country in connection with the horrible tragedy in Las Vegas. We are mourning with all those who lost their relatives and friends and wish recovery to all the wounded.
As for bilateral relations with the United States, the current level is unsatisfactory. We favour constructive, predictable and mutually beneficial cooperation. We are convinced that it should be based on the strict observance of the principles of equality, respect for national interests and non-interference in domestic affairs.
We consider the European Union (EU) an important neighbour and a key economic partner. Our trade has dropped by half in the past three years. Nevertheless, the EU countries amount to almost half of Russia’s foreign trade. In cooperation with their Russian partners, EU companies are carrying out large investment projects in energy, industry and high technology. We confirm the importance of developing stable contacts between the Eurasian Economic Union and the EU, including the future formation of a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
We have developed contacts with the Republic of Malawi in the political, economic and humanitarian areas. Russian companies are interested in implementing joint projects in agriculture, telecommunications, geological exploration and mining. We will continue an active dialogue with our Malawian partners on the urgent issues of Africa’s development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In conclusion I would like to congratulate you on the official beginning of an important and honourable diplomatic mission. I hope that your activities in Russia will be productive and will promote the development of relations between the states you represent and Russia. The Russian authorities, business and public circles will render all possible assistance to you.
I wish you all the best. I wish you success.
Thank you for your attention.