About Us Russia

STATEMENT BY

H.E. MR. VLADIMIR PUTIN

 PRIME MINISTER OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION  

Mr Chairman,

Mr President,

Ladies and gentlemen,

This is not the first time I have attended events of this kind. In fact I have attended previous summits of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. I should note that the forum has gained considerable prestige as an event for discussing issues of security and stability in the vast Eurasian region, to a large extent due to the efforts of Kazakhstan as the rotating CICA chairman and President Nursultan Nazarbayev who initiated the idea.

The Conference has always focused on progressive projects for partnership and development in Asia, as well as major inter-regional and international issues, challenges and threats.

Unfortunately, the overall situation in the region is far from stable. Along with long-standing local conflicts, there have also been many cross-border issues including extremism, terrorism, drug trafficking, the threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and maritime piracy. These risks are expanding and intertwining, resulting in greater instability and tension. It is only through our combined efforts that we can combat these issues, boosting mutual trust and sharing responsibility, taking into account each other's interests. This is the approach Russia has chosen, and we will pursue it.

I have to admit that the Middle East conflict remains a major destabilizing factor. The tragic incident with the humanitarian convoy bringing aid to Gaza, which resulted in civilian death, has dramatically aggravated the situation. We are deeply disturbed by the gross violation of international law and consider it vital to reduce the tension through a thorough and detailed investigation. We cannot allow a new crisis to occur in the Middle East.

At the same time, we are calling for the prompt termination of the Gaza strip blockade and for real steps to ease the humanitarian problems in Palestinian territories.

Another source of instability comes from the situation on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where international terrorist organizations found refuge, receiving vast financial support, including money from drug trade.

I would like to emphasize that the issue of Afghan drug production and trafficking has grown from an inter-regional problem into the global threat. The UN estimates that Afghan opium and heroin have caused nearly one million deaths worldwide.

Scattered efforts will hardly yield a positive result. We believe that much can be accomplished here through the initiatives at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. I believe the issue is serious enough to warrant special consideration in the United Nations Security Council.

I should also mention another important issue. Politicians and diplomats must seek a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem that has been mentioned by our Iranian colleague, as well as all the problems connected with the North Korean nuclear programme - and certainly, this solution has to be found solely through constructive talks, involving all concerned parties while observing the interests of everyone involved.

By the way, our Iranian counterpart has just said that he has a pessimistic view of the future. At the same time, our cooperation continues despite the current difficulties. The Iranian president knows quite well, and I would like to inform all of my colleagues here, that we are completing the construction of the nuclear power plant in the Iranian town of Bushehr. The plant will go on-line this August.

Meanwhile, we believe that together, and certainly in cooperation with Iran, we should remove the concerns of the international community regarding all aspects of Iran's nuclear programme. If we act together and consider each other's interests, I believe that we will be able to see the future optimistically.

Eurasia evidently needs a more sophisticated security and cooperation architecture. This format should include collective and non-aligned principles of international law. We can achieve this only if we delineate the rules of the game, develop mechanisms for regional cooperation, and formulate a set of measures to foster trust, including in the military area.

Let me refer to the cooperation between Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the People's Republic of China. We began by discussing specific issues of security and trust on our common borders and then proceeded to establishing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a large and significant international organization, currently promoting business, cultural and social ties between our countries. In 2004, the organization put forth the Tashkent initiative on setting up a network of multilateral associations in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is very important since many regional organizations still operate independently without coordinating their actions resulting in decreased efficiency. We suggest that in their cooperation, regional institutions should focus on developing trade and economic ties and the infrastructure as well as on promoting integration and economic projects all with a view to ensuring the prosperity of the Eurasian nations.

I believe it is time we initiated serious efforts to organize our common economic space, to modernize our economies, our industrial and cross-border cooperation, and establish new transport routes, high-tech clusters and energy hubs. I'm convinced that the implementation of such multifaceted and large-scale energy projects as the Blue Stream and the South Stream pipelines, which will deliver hydrocarbon resources to the countries of the European Union and the Asia-Pacific region, including Turkey, as well as the construction of the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline will all foster progress in our cooperation and trust.

These large-scale initiatives, based on interdependence and a clear understanding of our common interests, are the best way to conciliate countries, remove the barriers of mistrust and strengthen regional and global security.

Within the dialogue on trust in Asia, Russia along with Kazakhstan and Thailand has elaborated a concept and a road map for supporting business initiatives and encouraging information exchange between entrepreneurs. We are grateful to our partners for their constructive attitude towards this idea.

It is positive that the discussion on economic cooperation will continue at a business forum in Thailand this September. We plan to take an active part in it.

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen!

The unique format of this conference demonstrates the diversity of our region and the bright range of its spiritual, cultural, economic and social traditions. This is our common heritage and a significant competitive edge for the region. The most important thing is that the mood of this summit speaks to the participating countries' willingness to build a brand new partnership for the sake of security and prosperity of Eurasia.

I would like to thank our Turkish partners for organizing this common work and for their hospitality, and wish them success.

Thank you very much.