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Meeting with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev

August 16, 2016, Sochi

Vladimir Putin met with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in Sochi.

The two leaders discussed current issues of bilateral cooperation, the advancement of integration, and key items on the regional agenda.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, I am very pleased to welcome you to Russia. This is not our first meeting – I think we are meeting for the fourth time this year. It is also clear why, since the scope of our relationship is very broad. We are developing strategic partnership across the board, and very successfully indeed.

We are predictably faced with difficulties as well, especially in the economy, as you know, in the context of unstable global commodity markets and currency fluctuations. We are experiencing a recession, which is especially notable with regard to currency. However, physical volumes have not plummeted as significantly – by maybe 7 percent, and this is something we can certainly overcome with the cooperation mechanisms we have created, which are working very effectively.

I am referring to the regular meetings of our Prime Ministers. Dmitry Medvedev and Karim Massimov met recently on the sidelines of international events. Our intergovernmental commission is working actively. We have a large volume of accumulated Russian investments in Kazakhstan's economy, amounting to $9 billion. It should be noted that Kazakhstan’s businesses have also invested a significant amount in the Russian economy, almost $3 billion.

We have implemented a number of important large-scale projects, and not only in the energy sector. We both know that a large part of Kazakhstan's oil is shipped to foreign markets across Russia, while part of our oil is shipped through Kazakhstan to China. We are also expanding relations in industry, and they are progressing well.

I am mainly referring to our plans in the mechanical engineering sector. Russian companies are working ever more actively in Kazakhstan. Other plans call for building a helicopter plant there as well.

Overall, things are moving forward. I am not even touching upon the political component, cooperation between our Foreign Ministries, or about our joint efforts on the integration track. All this is progressing rapidly. I would also like to begin by thanking you for your approach to the development of our relations, both in terms of integration and in our bilateral contacts.

I am very glad to see you. Welcome!

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Thank you, Mr Putin. First of all, thank you for the invitation to visit the beautiful city of Sochi. Yesterday I looked at Sochi from a helicopter. I have been here many times and stayed at the local spa resorts. Of course, your effort to modernise and rebuild Sochi for the Winter Olympics turned this city into a gem of Russia, the pearl of the Black Sea.

I am not a mere admirer, because I do have the experience of rebuilding our own capital city. These new beautiful buildings, roads, junctions, sport arenas and sculptural installations are making Sochi so beautiful. I rejoice with you. This is a true success, and a tangible result of the work done.

I have recently attended the St Petersburg Economic Forum and saw that St Petersburg had also been transformed and revived – it is now cleaner, with many modern buildings. I could see the changes in the streets and everywhere – the visible signs of renewal, signs of these cities’ success. When I visit other regions, I notice this as well.

As for our relations, I believe that they are exemplary – both politically and economically. You have listed what we have achieved over these years – 6,000 joint Russian-Kazakhstani companies are operational, and all of them real-life manifestations of our integration.

We have already met four times, with another five meetings ahead of us. Three years ago, you invited me to the G20, and now Mr Xi Jinping invited me to attend the China Summit, where we will see each other. Moving forward, we will also have a CIS Summit in Bishkek, and a very important bilateral meeting on October 4. This will be our traditional, inter-regional meeting, and we also agreed to hold a Russia-Kazakhstan business forum as part of this event.

Deputy prime ministers Igor Shuvalov and Bakytzhan Sagintayev are in charge of preparing this forum. It is for this reason that my expectations are very high. I would like to ask that apart from border regions, Moscow, St Petersburg and eastern Russia are also represented at the summit.

I am aware of the many projects that are in the pipeline along with $25 billion worth of contracts. This will be a highly significant event as far as the economy is concerned. We will discuss all the issues.

You are also expected to travel to Kazakhstan on a working visit. Our respective governments will address all the current issues. I do not think that there are any special issues in this respect. There are always some problems to deal with, but friendly countries can always come up with solutions. For this reason, it is our aim in this challenging environment to be always together and assist each other.

I am pleased that Russia’s relations with Turkey are improving. Russia’s standing in the world, the understanding by the international community that Russia is instrumental in resolving serious global issues, especially terrorism, as well as Russia’s actions in Syria – I think all this works to Russia’s benefit.

Yes, there are diverging views and perspectives on sanctions in Europe. At the same time, these sanctions help the economy better rely on its own reserves and potential. For example, trade between Kazakhstan and Russia is on the rise because some products are no longer available from the West.

Of course, we still face a number of problems, including Ukraine and Nagorno Karabakh. You are closely following these issues, and I also contribute to these efforts whenever possible.

Ukraine. Mr Poroshenko telephoned me recently. He cannot approve the status of Donbass and the second region there, because he does not have a parliamentary majority. On the other hand, there are other matters that could be resolved; I believe he is actually willing to compromise, but for some reason a compromise has not yet been found.

All these issues are certainly a burden for Russia, but they can be resolved. Crises come and go. Kazakhstani-Russian relations remain stable, based on our Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and the Agreement on Alliance for the 21st century. They are working in all areas. I am glad that Kazakhstan and Russia are neighbours and reliable partners and can solve any problems the way they should be dealt with in the civilised world.

I am grateful for your attitude to Kazakhstan and our people. Everyone knows this and everyone values it highly. I think that is how we will continue. Thank you very much.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Nazarbayev, you mentioned the restoration of Russian-Turkish relations. In this connection, I would like to thank you for your mediation. As you can see, it was a success.

We are sincerely committed to fully restoring our relations with friendly Turkey, a country we have built a unique relationship of cooperation and interaction with over the past years. The last visit by the President of Turkey, Mr Erdogan, to Russia has confirmed our mutual resolve to work not only to recover, but also to develop our bilateral ties. I would like to thank you very much for this.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: I was only trying to help. These relations had an impact on Kazakhstan, too, as you may know. We also have ties with Turkey. We strongly adhered to Russia’s position in the conflict, and at the same time, if my help was useful, I believe that it was a good thing.

Vladimir Putin: That is true. Thank you.

Nursultan Nazarbayev: I am ready to continue along these lines.


August 16, 2016, Sochi