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Meeting with President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari

August 18, 2010, Sochi

The two Presidents reviewed the state of the political dialogue between Russia and Pakistan, looked at current bilateral cooperation issues and regional matters, and discussed cooperation on fighting terrorism, drug trafficking, and organised crime.

Among the items on the agenda at the meeting were ways to activate trade and economic ties, including by carrying out joint projects in the fuel, energy and metals sectors and rail transport, and opportunities for improving the investment climate and expanding direct contacts between the two countries’ business communities. The Russian-Pakistani Intergovernmental Commission will hold its first meeting on September 21, 2010.

The meeting also examined in particular Russia’s emergency aid to Pakistan to help in the relief effort following the most severe flooding ever to hit the country.

Dmitry Medvedev once again expressed his condolences to his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, over the many victims caused by this unprecedented natural disaster.

Russia was one of the first countries to express its readiness to help Pakistan deal with the disaster, which has already claimed the lives of more than 1,600 victims and affected more than 20 million people in total. Acting on Mr Medvedev’s instructions, Russia’s Emergency Situations Ministry sent an Il-76 plane with emergency aid supplies to Pakistan on Monday.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, Pakistani colleagues,

Before starting our talks, I first of all want to express our profound condolences over the floods in Pakistan. This is truly a very serious natural disaster that has killed a large number of people and caused huge devastation. We share your grief and are ready to do everything we can to help the Pakistani people. 

Our relevant agencies are in touch with each other and we have already sent a number of humanitarian deliveries, but we remain at your disposal and express our sincere condolences, because we know from our own experience what natural disasters mean. This August has not been an easy month for our country too. Therefore, we are ready to do whatever necessary, and will work in contact with your government, Mr President, and your relevant agencies.

Today’s discussion, of course, continues the talks that we already had earlier. I think that now unlike in the past, we have very regular, frequent contacts, and this is good, as it enables us to promote our relations with Pakistan, our economic ties, and our contacts on security issues and regional problems. We live in an unsettled region and the way we work together is crucial for the way a whole number of complicated processes will unfold. 

We want to continue our cooperation on counterterrorism and on fighting drug trafficking and international crime. We can therefore resume our earlier discussions on all of these challenges.

It is important to have this good political dialogue, of course, but it is also very important to expand our economic ties too. We have not made such good progress in this area yet, although we did review possibilities for economic cooperation at our previous meeting. I hope that we will continue these discussions now, looking at opportunities for our bilateral economic cooperation and development, and possibilities of working together in four-party format, given the meeting we will have today between Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. This then is the agenda I propose for our meeting today, and if you also have something to propose I will be grateful.

President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari: Thank you, Your Excellency.

First of all, let me thank Your Excellency and the government and the people of Russia, for their sentiments and for the aid that you have already sent us. Of course, this is a difficult time for yourselves; I understand the natural disaster that you had. Please accept my condolences regarding the disaster that you have had, and I accept your condolences on our tragedy. One has to come out of them stronger than one goes into them. These are tests for nations, and all tests make nations stronger. Pakistan will come out of this a stronger nation. We have a good resolve, we have the capabilities, we have the people, and all tragedies unite nations. This tragedy, again, will unite us, and we will come out of this a better nation, a stronger nation.

Once again, thank you. This is our fourth meeting. It has never happened before that a Pakistani President and a President of Russia have met four times, so I must compliment you and thank you for this gesture.

We would like to extend a formal invitation to you to come to Pakistan, to be our guest, to see it for yourself. I myself have never seen Moscow. I would love to come to Moscow, too.

We have our bilateral relations. We have a responsibility. Where there is natural trade, there are also drugs. We had never heard of heroin while growing up. It was a creation of the world, and now we have to fight the effects of it. And the effects along with – we have seen that in Europe and in the First World, where they have tried to fight the spread of drugs, they haven’t been able to be totally successful.

In our case, it is a mindset which is trying to change the world order which is not in your favour, not in our favour, not in the world’s favour.

So we would not be doing anybody a favour. We would be doing ourselves a favour if we stand together and make everyone come together and fight against this war of ideology, this war of mindset – this particular mindset.

But we can do it. All together, we can do it. Nobody alone can do it.

Our neighbours should understand that creating negativity will eventually fall back on negativity. It’s time that we produce productivity throughout. We cannot afford any negativity. Our generations have suffered enough. Let’s move forward into a better world. We should be partially responsible for creating a better world.

Thank you.

August 18, 2010, Sochi