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Presentation by foreign ambassadors of their letters of credence

January 16, 2014, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin received letters of credence from eighteen ambassadors to the Russian Federation. The ceremony took place in the Grand Kremlin Palace’s St Alexander Hall.

President Putin received the letters of credence from Cesare Maria Ragaglini (Republic of Italy), Ziad Al-Majali (Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya (Republic of Rwanda), Carmelo Brincat (Republic of Malta), Vasile Soare (Romania), John Ronald Kur (Canada), Mohamed Abdelsattar Mohamed Elbadri (Arab Republic of Egypt), Jean-Maurice Ripert (French Republic), Mehdi Sanai (Islamic Republic of Iran), Shri P.S. Raghavan (Republic of India), Abdulaziz Ahmed Saud Al Adwani (State of Kuwait), Antonio Jose Vallim Guerreiro (Federative Republic of Brazil), Vladimir Remek (Czech Republic), Alex Van Meeuwen (Kingdom of Belgium), Ousman Badjie (Republic of the Gambia), Bernard Francis Shamlaye (Republic of Seychelles), Lameck Nthekela (Republic of Botswana) and Wilfred Eduard Christopher (Republic of Suriname).

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Speech at the presentation by foreign ambassadors of their letters of credence

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Moscow, to the Kremlin.

I would like to begin by wishing a stable and prosperous New Year to each of your nations, despite the fact that the New Year has not yet arrived in some of your countries.

I would like to wish you and your loved ones happiness in the New Year, and I wish you success in your responsible and honourable mission in Russia.

Our joint tasks in 2014 will be to strengthen and develop the initial achievements made in resolving a number of key international issues, those of Syria and Iran first and foremost.

We should actively support efforts of the international community to prepare the conference on Syria. We expect all parties that can have a positive input into the resolution of this conflict to attend this event. We will do everything to make sure that the conference helps establish dialogue and end the pointless confrontation and bloodshed.

It is also crucial to make sure that the Action Plan on the Iranian nuclear programme, adopted in Geneva in November 2013, does not remain on paper. Its implementation will create conditions for an overall solution to the problem and will give Iran the right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes under IAEA’s control.

We proceed from the understanding that through joint efforts we can resolve other pressing regional and global policy issues.

Russia, for its part, will continue to act in a rational, responsible and predictable manner. We intend to continue promoting traditional values and norms of international law. We will promote cultural, inter-faith and inter-civilisational cooperation in every way.

During its G8 Presidency, Russia will focus on searching for common approaches to combatting present-day threats to security and maintaining stable development. Our goal is to prepare the ground for the G8 Summit, scheduled to take place in Sochi on June 4–5, and ensure its success.

As you know, we are completing preparations for the Olympic Games in Sochi, which are to open in three weeks. We expect over 6,000 athletes from 85 countries and hundreds of thousands of fans to attend the Games. We are doing everything to turn this event into a great festival of sports not only for this country, but also for sports fans all over the world.

I would like to note – and this is especially significant here and will be appreciated, I believe, by this audience – that for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games all participants will be able to visit Russia without entry visas; they will only need to be accredited for the games. Our missions in different countries have opened special Olympic Offices to process such applications as a matter of priority.

The Games will certainly be held in full compliance with the Olympic Charter – with no discrimination of any kind. Russians will undoubtedly support their own athletes, but we wish success to all participants. We always appreciate the success of athletes from any country and are happy for them.

I am sure the Olympic Games will serve to bring nations together and to promote friendship, trust and the spirit of partnership the world over.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The heads of eighteen countries’ diplomatic missions are present here today. Allow me to say a few words regarding Russia’s relations with the nations you represent.

Italy. We have a multi-faceted strategic partnership and traditionally friendly relations with Italy. My recent visit to Rome and Trieste was very fruitful. We discussed new promising projects in a number of areas with Prime Minister Enrico Letta and other representatives of the Italian authorities. I am certain that holding reciprocal Tourism Years will serve to further bring our nations together.

Last year we marked 50 years of diplomatic relations with Jordan. We maintain regular contacts with your country’s leadership and with King Abdullah personally. We believe our joint defence and energy projects have great potential.

Russia’s relations with Rwanda are growing stronger. In 2013, the embassy of that country resumed its work in Moscow. There are good prospects for expanding contacts in trade, the economy and other areas.

Relations with Malta are developing steadily. Constructive dialogue between our countries helps maintain a good-neighbourly atmosphere in the Mediterranean region and in Europe as a whole.

We expect our cooperation with Romania to become more substantial and mutually advantageous. We are prepared to work together to strengthen political, economic and humanitarian ties.

We attach great importance to cooperation with Canada – our Arctic neighbour. Our countries have a great deal in common: our geography and climate; we are both federated nations with multi-ethnic populations and vast mineral resources. Another thing we have in common is our love for ice hockey.

Egypt is one of Russia’s most important partners in the Arab world. We hope that Egyptian society will overcome the current political, social and economic hardships and the country will return to the path of stability and growth. We are interested in invigorating the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Egypt. I would like to use this opportunity to ask you, Mr Ambassador, to convey my best greetings to the Egyptian leadership on the success of the referendum on a new constitution.

We value our historically close strategic relations with France – one of the leading nations in the European Union. We maintain a high level of political dialogue and expanding cooperation in trade, the economy, science, technology, culture and humanitarian spheres.

Our relations with Iran are entering a new stage. We are conducting a fruitful dialogue with President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Government on issues of bilateral cooperation as well as on the situation in Syria, Afghanistan and the Iranian nuclear programme. Mutually beneficial relations between Russia and Iran have great potential that has not been exhausted yet.

Cooperation with India – our truly strategic partner – is a priority of Russia’s foreign policy. We maintain a dynamic and constructive dialogue based on coinciding long-term interests, mutual sympathy and sincere trust. Negotiations in Moscow with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have resulted in the signing of joint programmes in science, biotechnology and innovation. We have set specific plans to further develop our defence cooperation.

Our contacts with Kuwait are developing constructively. We are satisfied that our countries share similar views on major international and regional issues. We are interested in expanding trade and economic ties between our countries.

Brazil is one of our leading partners in Latin America. We are actively cooperating within the G20 and BRICS and hold similar views on numerous issues on the current international agenda. We have established a beneficial and confidential dialogue with President Dilma Rousseff and the Government of Brazil. Both parties are expressing their commitment to enhancing cooperation in trade, energy and high technologies.

Many years of good-neighbourly relations connect Russia with the Czech Republic, which is our valued trade and investment partner. We expect to see consistent implementation of joint projects in energy, including nuclear energy, and in the cultural and humanitarian spheres.

The history of our diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Belgium dates back 160 years. Today these relations are characterised by stronger cooperation in the economy and in foreign policy.

We have stable relations with the Republic of the Gambia. We are ready to further develop our dialogue on international issues and to strengthen ties in various fields, including defence and education.

Cooperation with the Republic of Seychelles is picking up speed. We have organised cooperation to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, and we are expanding tourist exchange.

We are satisfied with the friendly nature of our relations with Botswana. There are good prospects for cooperation in the mining and diamond industries, among others. We will continue to assist in training students and professionals from Botswana.

In our relations with the Republic of Suriname, we need to create a reliable legal contractual basis that would serve to strengthen ties in a number of areas. I would like to note that we are ready to work jointly with our colleagues in Suriname.

In conclusion, I would like to stress, ladies and gentlemen, that we value good relations with each of the states that you represent. I hope your diplomatic mission in Moscow will serve to promote bilateral cooperation.

I am confident that all your useful ideas and constructive proposals will find support and understanding on the part of Russian authorities, our ministries and agencies.

I wish you success in your work and thank you for your attention.

January 16, 2014, The Kremlin, Moscow