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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Gentlemen,
Let me open this ceremony by first of all congratulating you on the official start of your diplomatic missions in the Russian Federation.
I hope your work will be successful and that its results will strengthen the mutually advantageous relations between our countries.
The world faces a number of global and regional problems today. Difficult processes are taking place in North Africa and the Middle East, and there is a debt crisis in the eurozone. The overall situation is complex and the international financial markets are unstable. In these circumstances it is more important than ever to take responsible and coordinated decisions, and to work together openly and productively.
Russia is without question open for broad-based dialogue and partnership with all of the countries represented here today, and with other countries too, of course, in the interests of ensuring international stability and security. We will continue to follow a balanced and proper foreign policy and play an active part in building a fairer world order.
Our country has worked actively on implementing a number of big integration projects over these last years. I note in particular, in this connection, the recent signing of the Agreement on Free Trade Zones within the Commonwealth of Independent States, and also the successful launch and operation of the Customs Union between Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Starting in 2012, we will also be launching the Common Economic Space.
I also note the growing weight that big organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are gaining on the international stage. Forums such as the BRICS forum are also playing an increasingly important part in stabilisation efforts and strengthening global development.
Russia’s dialogue with the European Union receives our constant attention. The latest Russian-EU summit will take place soon, and I hope that we will all show the good will required to further develop the multifaceted ties binding us to the European Union.
”Russia is open for broad-based dialogue and partnership with all of the countries in the interests of ensuring international stability and security. We will continue to follow a balanced and proper foreign policy and play an active part in building a fairer world order.“
The agreement on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation is an excellent example of how it is possible to reach the necessary agreements even in difficult international circumstances. We are pleased that the negotiations have finally ended with a positive result.
It is my hope, too, that we will ultimately find a way to overcome the difficulties you are aware of in our relations with NATO so as to continue developing cooperation with this organisation in the spirit of mutual understanding and in the interests of global stability and security. I am sure that the countries you represent all seek to build relations in just this spirit – relations based on equal partnership, and mutual respect and benefit.
Let me now say a few words about our relations with each of the countries you have the honour to represent.
We greatly value the friendship and cooperation we have with Guinea, which go back more than 50 years now, and will work to further build on and multiply the potential of these bilateral ties.
The Republic of Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to establish diplomatic relations with Russia, and next year will in fact mark the 140th anniversary of this event. We hope these relations will continue to develop, particularly in trade, culture, and education.
We want to strengthen our friendly ties with Guinea-Bissau and work together to open up promising new mutually advantageous fields of cooperation.
We are pleased with the way our partnership with Spain is developing. This partnership is based on close approaches to the key issues facing the modern world, and also on the centuries-old mutual respect and sympathy between our peoples. The organisation of reciprocal cultural years, a big project, which ended in Madrid just recently, was clear evidence of our desire to build closer ties.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of our promising financial and investment partners in Western Europe. It is in our common interest to put this potential to use in trade and the economy, science and technology, and other areas.
Historically, the relations between Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic have been distinguished by friendship and mutual sympathy. This and our desire to prevent any erosion of the fundamental norms of international law and principles of relations between countries define our position with regard to the trials that Syria faces at this present time. Our view is that the most important thing is for the Syrians to act themselves, without any interference from outside, to stabilise the situation, stop the violence, and get an effective nationwide dialogue underway.
The recent visit by the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos gave an added boost to our bilateral cooperation. We concluded some major agreements in the trade, economic, and humanitarian spheres.
We have good and constructive relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain. This forms a good base for working towards concrete results in the oil and gas, investment, and other sectors.
We hope that the opening of Djibouti’s embassy in Moscow will help to broaden the ties between our countries, including in the aim of strengthening peace and security in northeast Africa.
We value our cooperation with Iceland. Our ties are growing fast and reaching out to an ever broader range of sectors, including the innovation sector, of such importance for us. We will build on this capital by working together in the Arctic too.
I have fond memories of my visit to Angola in 2009 and my talks with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. I hope that our joint work to implement our bilateral agreements will enable us to keep up the good pace in developing the ties between us.
I note the high level of cooperation we have with the Republic of Columbia, one of our big partners in Latin America. We want to continue developing this cooperation, above all in the energy sector, the machine-building industry, and other areas.
Russia’s relations with the Republic of Tunisia have been growing over recent years and have reached some solid figures. We now have the chance to continue these efforts and open the road to promising joint projects as Tunisia enters this new stage in its democratic development.
Our cooperation with Great Britain plays a big part in strengthening stability and security in Europe. I am sure that the implementation of the Partnership for Modernisation that we have drafted and signed will develop our ties further. This, incidentally, was one of the main subjects we discussed during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Russia. We confirm our desire to continue developing our relations with Britain in the spirit of constructive cooperation.
Naturally, we will continue to develop the special relationship we have with Belarus. Our relations received new impetus this year, as can be seen from the big agreements concluded recently during the meeting of the Union State’s Supreme Council. We will continue our consistent efforts to develop our integration cooperation with Belarus at the bilateral and multilateral levels. I note too, that the establishment of the Common Economic Space will take us to a truly higher level of cooperation.
I hope that your wealth of diplomatic experience will help us to build on the traditions of friendship and partnership that the Russian Federation shares with your countries.
I wish you good luck and success in your work in Russia. Thank you.