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Press statement following CIS and SEEC summits

October 11, 2017, Sochi

Following the meetings of the CIS Heads of State Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, Vladimir Putin made a statement for the press.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.

Allow me to briefly inform you about the results of our work today.

The Itinerary of today’s events in Sochi has been busy and substantive. The meetings of the CIS Heads of State Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council took place in a very constructive atmosphere. There was a detailed exchange of views on the entire range of cooperation within the framework of both integration associations, and concrete plans for the future were outlined.

During the CIS Heads of State Council meeting, we informed our partners about the results of Russia’s Commonwealth chairmanship this year. Following discussions in a restricted and expanded format, decisions were made on adapting the Commonwealth’s multilateral cooperation mechanisms to modern realities.

In particular, there will be a redistribution of authority between the Heads of State Council and the Heads of Government Council. Now the governments will deal with a broader range of issues while the leaders will not be weighed down with routine matters and will be able to concentrate on formulating strategies and key areas of the association’s development.

In addition, the CIS Executive Committee’s proposals on further streamlining the activity of the CIS Economic Council and the Foreign Ministers Council were approved. We agreed to extend Executive Committee Chairman and CIS Executive Secretary Mr Lebedev’s mandate by two more years. We hope that under his leadership, the Executive Committee will continue working efficiently to achieve the Commonwealth’s goals.

We discussed in detail with our partners how to use the potential of the CIS to increase trade and investment and expand industrial and technological cooperation.

We agreed to take further efforts to encourage trade, which has increased by 25 percent to reach $75 billion since the start of the year. To do this we should work more actively to harmonise norms and standards of the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Union and remove barriers to the free movement of goods and services.

Cultural cooperation has special significance for our countries. We have decided to continue the practice of holding thematic years in the CIS. The Year of the Family is coming to a close. Next year, 2018, will be the Year of Culture, and 2019 – the Year of Books. The year 2020 will be devoted to the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.

In addition, we have chosen the next cultural capitals of the CIS – the Azerbaijani city of Gyandzha will be succeeded by the Armenian city of Goris. Then Brest will be the CIS cultural capital, followed by Kazakhstan’s Shymkent.

We have agreed to continue close coordination on foreign policy and security. The CIS states are together confronting the threat posed by the spread of terrorism and extremism, and intend to increase the exchange of information and experience between competent bodies, including in the effort to counter the laundering criminal proceeds.

With this aim in view, we have endorsed today the concept for cooperation in countering the financing of terrorism and the concept for combatting corruption, as well as a number of other important documents.

The CIS chairmanship will pass from Russia to Tajikistan on January 1, 2018. I am sure that our colleagues in Tajikistan will continue working effectively to develop diverse cooperation in the CIS. We sincerely wish them success and are naturally ready to help them in this work as much as we can.

At the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, we exchanged views on the status and prospects of the Union’s development and noted the growing positive influence of integration processes on the economies of our countries. I am pleased to say that the leaders of all Union countries reaffirmed their interest in the continued comprehensive deepening of integration and supported the accelerated completion of domestic procedures to ratify the common Customs Code to make sure it comes into force on January 1, 2018.

We agreed to expand cooperation in the digital economy. To that end, the Council approved the main components of implementing the Union’s digital agenda until 2025. The Group of Five made the decision to develop an interstate programme for cooperation in outer space services and in integrating existing national systems of Earth remote sensing.

We invited our partners to make more active use of the resources of the Eurasian Development Bank and the Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation to finance joint industrial, agricultural and infrastructural projects. This will provide an additional boost to the diversification of national economies.

Of course, we did not fail to address issues related to the Union’s cooperation with other countries and integration associations. Priority in this area will be given to deepening our cooperation with CIS member states that are so far not members of the Eurasian Economic Union.

I would like to note that, as you could see, the Eurasian Economic Union’s expanded meeting was attended by a guest, President of Moldova Igor Dodon. It is noteworthy that all Union member countries support his aspiration to establish closer cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union and Moldova. It may be recalled that the Eurasian Economic Commission has been entrusted with drafting a statute on Eurasian Economic Union observer countries.

According to the President of Moldova, the overwhelming majority of his country’s citizens take a positive view of his intention to expand relations with Eurasian Economic Union countries. But that is only natural, as the main market for Moldovan goods are, of course, Eurasian Economic Union countries, primarily Russia. For our part, we – I am talking about Russia now – will build our relations with Moldova based on the extent to which Moldova itself and the people of Moldova are ready to expand this cooperation.

It was noted at the meeting that the Eurasian Economic Union should continue to foster cooperation with potential partners among foreign countries. We will do all we can to facilitate this process.

In 2018, the chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union will pass to Russia. We intend to maintain the high pace of integration efforts that has been achieved and hope for closer cooperation with our Union partners.

As part of the CIS and SEEC summits, there were bilateral meetings, in particular with the Presidents of Tajikistan, Moldova, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. My colleagues and I had substantive discussions of key issues of the bilateral and regional agenda.

Overall, we are satisfied with the work that has been done. We believe that the results of today’s summits will help further deepen cooperation in the CIS and the EAEU.

Thank you for your attention.

October 11, 2017, Sochi