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Address by President Vladimir Putin on Russia assuming the G8 Presidency

January 1, 2014

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,

This year Russia is hosting the 40th G8 Summit, which will be held on June 4–5, 2014 in Sochi. Russia plans to present its partners with an ample agenda for a frank and substantive discussion so as to – most importantly – arrive at concrete decisions.

We see that the world has not become safer in recent years, but it has undoubtedly become more complicated. Threats to sustainable development are increasingly diverse. Trouble zones prone to violence outbreaks and social tensions are multiplying, and the system of international law is losing ground. The planet is also shaken by a volatile economic climate, and natural and environmental disasters. Due to close interdependence, the problems of a single country or region invariably reach global proportions. However, crisis response tools are not always effective.

In this situation, the G8 must focus on present-day and future challenges. It must share the responsibility for the future.

As the holder of the G8 Presidency, Russia suggests that the G8 members should develop comprehensive and cooperative mechanisms to control the most critical risks. It is important to cover the entire chain – from forecasting and preventing particular threats to overcoming their potential adverse effects.

I view the primary goal of our joint work as promoting nations’ wellbeing, progress, and development. This approach is reflected in the motto of Russia’s G8 Presidency in 2014: Risk Management for Sustainable Growth in a Safe World. The priority issues advanced by our country are based on this motto, and include fighting the drug menace, combating terrorism and extremism, settling regional conflicts, safeguarding people’s health, and establishing a global management system to address risks associated with natural and manmade disasters, as well as numerous other issues that have previously been raised by the G8, including in St Petersburg in 2006.

Ensuring sustainable economic growth is becoming the top priority. It will be difficult to overcome instability in other areas without resolving this issue first. We plan to intensify our joint efforts to stimulate the global economy, reduce unemployment, and remove protectionist barriers to trade and investment.

I would like to emphasise that Russia does not consider the G8 to be an elite club of world leaders who discuss the destiny of humanity behind closed doors. Quite the opposite: as in 2006, we firmly believe that non-governmental G8 groups, such as Youth 8, Civil 8, Business 8, and Parliamentary 8, are to provide crucial support to Russia during its presidency. We have high expectations for the meetings on the sidelines of the forthcoming Sochi Summit. Such interaction is vital for improving the G8’s efficiency and transparency, generating new unconventional ideas and attracting a broad-based public support for the G8’s efforts in Russia and around the world.

I am confident that acting in a spirit of partnership based on trust, in 2014 the G8 members will make a major contribution to strengthening security and enhancing the economic and social development of our nations and globally.

Russia is open to cooperation and dialogue. We have much to do, and we are confident that this work will bring about a significant, positive result.

January 1, 2014