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Official website of the President of Russia

Transcripts   /

News Conference on the Results of the Russian-Moldovan Talks

June 17, 2000, Chisinau

Pyotr Luchinsky: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen of the press. We have been looking forward to the visit of the Russian President to Chisinau. We have historical ties of friendship with Russia, Russia is our strategic partner – it is our biggest trade and economic partner and many of our people have personal ties with Russia – so of course it is very important that our relations develop normally, to mutual benefit and with mutual respect. Yesterday evening and today we practically covered the programme of a two-day visit. We have worked almost non-stop, we have managed to discuss the whole range of political problems, the problems connected with our bilateral relations in the world, with Russia’s role as the guarantor and intermediary in the solution of the Transdnestr conflict and a host of other problems, including the set of economic problems.

Some questions have piled up connected with past debts. But we have agreed that our relations will be based on mutual benefit and interest. We don’t want to go around with a begging bowl, but Russia, naturally, cannot be in a position when it gives someone something for free. We all have our own problems and you know that our countries are facing major problems. But there are a number of projects and a number of problems on which we can work together, and we have come to an agreement on practically all the issues raised.

As for the problems connected with our membership of the CIS – we see eye to eye on that – it should be an organism of which this or that country should be part only if it wants to. The range of problems in which we are all interested should be identified so that without perhaps trying to embrace everything, we start with concrete issues in which everyone has a stake, and life will show what is more viable, what is better for everyone.

In short, we have found that we have similar views on most of the problems, practically on all the problems. We appreciate the fact that the Russian President, in spite of his busy schedule, has found time to visit Moldova. We have seen the reaction of the people in the streets of Chisinau yesterday. You are a welcome guest. We are happy that you have agreed to come to us. As you have said, the issue was solved within an hour during our conversation.

So this visit, I am absolutely sure, will give a serious impetus to the development of our relations.

Vlarimir Putin: Thank you very much, Pyotr Kirillovich. Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

I wholeheartedly subscribe to what my colleague has just said about the character of our relations and the results of our meeting. We attach great significance to interstate relations, the role and place of Moldova in the CIS and we consider our relations with Moldova to be an important part of the Russian European policy. Let me reaffirm that during the time that we worked together yesterday evening and today, we have indeed managed to discuss very many issues: coordination of our efforts in the international arena, in the international organisations, bilateral contacts in the political sphere, the issues of security and problems of economic cooperation. Needless to say, we touched upon the most acute problem of the region, the problem of Transdnestr settlement. Our Moldovan friends have urged Russia to intensify the effort toward a settlement, and I have decided to set up a Russian government commission with the mandate to intensify this process. The commission will be headed by the man you all know, the former Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yevgeny Maximovich Primakov.

We also spoke of the need to speed up the work on signing a bilateral treaty which should provide the basis of our relations and we have agreed that both the Russian side and the Moldovan side will finalise the work soon. Anyway, our experts do not see any obstacles that could seriously or substantially complicate the final stages in the drafting of the fundamental document.

Thank you and we are ready to take your questions.

Question: A question for both presidents. Do Moldova and the Russian Federation agree with the decisions of the Istanbul summit on the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transdnestr? And will there be a Russian base on the territory of Moldova?

Vladimir Putin: We will proceed both from the decisions of international organisations and from the constitution of Moldova. Moldova has a constitution and we are well familiar with its Article 11. There is the OSCE decision and we will of course seek to comply with these decisions. I think we all agree that the interests of Moldova and Russia… let me stress that it is in the national interests of Russia to see Moldova as a self-sufficient, territorially integral and independent state. We will work toward that end because Russia needs such a Moldova. Russia expects that region to be stable. It meets the economic and political interests of the Russian state. But it cannot be achieved without taking into account the interests of all the groups of the population living in the region, including the interests of the population of Transdnestr. That is why the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Mr. Ivanov, has met with the head of Transdnestr, Mr. Smirnov. I think everyone has agreed with that, and this is the position of the Moldovan leadership. It is an obvious element that needs to be taken into account. All the people living here should feel secure and Russia is ready to contribute to creating such conditions.

Pyotr Luchinsky: You have found that our views on the issue coincide. I will say more: some day – I don’t know whether the time has come or not – we should shed the old cliche that Russia has some geopolitical interests here, that it wants to dig in here with its military base and have a military presence here. Allegedly, this is all Russia is interested in. As Vladimir Vladimirovich said yesterday and today: “Leave it alone and put it out of your mind that we want to keep you on a short leash or something.” You have heard the remarks by the Russian President today. We are partners, we are equal countries. Yes, Russia is a great state, Moldova is a small state. But we are both countries, we are participants in all the processes taking place in Europe and elsewhere. We want to cooperate, to live in peace and friendship. This is the aim of our activities and we are grateful to Russia and the Russian President, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, for such an attitude and such a stance, which was confirmed by the negotiations today and the creation of the commission headed by Yevgeny Maximovich Primakov, who also stresses the importance of this problem and Russia’s readiness to be more actively involved in resolving this conflict, which has still not gone away, although there is no shooting, we maintain contacts and so on. But I would like to repeat what Vladimir Vladimirovich said at the meeting today, that things will never be good between the states if there is no stability. And as you have said, our goal is self-sufficiency. We need stability for people to live normally here. This will be the aim of our joint activities.

Question: Vladimir Vladimirovich, you have said that the drafting of the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation is in the finishing stretch. Could you say what will be the Russian position on this issue?

Vladimir Putin: It is a fundamental document which should provide the basis for the relations between our states. Our line is simple and clear. We see Moldova as the only possible subject under international law, as an integral state with which Russia will negotiate on all the key issues of our interaction. Provided of course there is full respect of the interests of all those who live on this territory and who think that the Russian Federation, along with some other countries, can be a guarantor of these interests.

June 17, 2000, Chisinau