President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
The official visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan to the Russian Federation is taking place in a friendly and business-like atmosphere, which is entirely in keeping with the character of the strategic partnership and allied relations between our countries.
This year, we marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the fundamental Russia-Tajikistan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. I have spoken about this quite recently. I think it came into force on November 17, 1993. A great deal has been done to advance our relations over these years.
At today’s talks, we paid special attention to economic interaction. Russia is traditionally one of Tajikistan’s largest trade partners. Last year, trade went up by 18.3 percent to reach almost US$1.5 billion. I would like to emphasise the record 67 percent growth in food supplies coming from Tajikistan, including fresh vegetables and fruit.
Our country is one of the leading investors in Tajikistan’s economy. Over 300 companies with Russian capital are operating in Tajikistan.
National currencies are playing a growing role in transactions between our countries. The ruble’s share in commercial deals in the first six months of this year has reached an impressive 83 percent. We are consistently developing sustainable channels of interaction between our credit and banking institutions.
Since last year, Russian and Tajikistani citizens have been able to make cross-border money transfers via the Bank of Russia’s Faster Payment System.
The business community is playing an active role in developing bilateral relations. Established in 2022, the Business Council has vigorously joined these efforts.
During the discussion of energy cooperation, it was noted that Russia almost fully meets the Tajikistani economy’s demand for oil products. Importantly, energy sources are supplied without export customs duties. Gazprom Neft, the owner of five oil depots and 44 petroleum stations, is actively operating in Tajikistan.
Our country is also helping Tajikistan develop its electricity generation capacities. Thus, the Sangtuda Hydroelectric Power Plant built with Russia’s participation, generates over ten percent of electricity that Tajikistan consumes. The RusHydro Group is helping Tajikistan operate and upgrade the existing generating capacities. It intends to take part in designing and engineering new hydro energy stations.
We see good prospects in the mining industry. Russian companies are interested in cooperating with their Tajikistani partners in uranium prospecting and production, as well as rare and rare earth metals, including lithium.
Incidentally, Rosatom has recently completed a major project to rehabilitate a uranium processing industrial facility in Tajikistan and is ready to work with the country on other aspects of using uranium for civilian purposes, first and foremost, in medicine. We spoke about this during our talks today as well.
As you know, about a million, or probably a bit more Tajikistani citizens live and work in Russia. They are making a big contribution to the development of the Russian economy and hold the most diverse jobs. Importantly, by transferring money home, they are seriously helping their own economy.
I would like to emphasise that our agencies are trying to provide citizens of Tajikistan in Russia with decent working conditions and social protection. In addition, a representative office of the Moscow Multifunctional Migration Centre has been working in Dushanbe since last year. It facilitates interactions between migrant workers and employers in Moscow and its suburbs.
I would like to note that the President of Tajikistan is paying special attention to the promotion and support of the Russian language and culture in Tajikistan. Our countries cooperate in the humanitarian area, in culture and education. As I said, in Tajikistan, Russian has constitutional status as a language of interethnic communication, and Russia is striving to help create favourable conditions for studying it.
I will recall, in this context, that on September 1 last year, Mr Rahmon and I took part in the ceremony to open five schools with instruction in Russian in Dushanbe and other cities of Tajikistan. About 5,500 schoolchildren are already studying at these schools in the Russian academic programmes, and we are planning together to establish a centre for gifted children at one of these schools, in Dushanbe.
In addition, we are trying to meet the requirements of our Tajikistani partners for textbooks in Russian. We sent over 70 Russian teachers to work in Tajikistan this year under the project, “Russian teacher abroad.” During the current talks in the expanded format, the President of Tajikistan suggested training Russian language teachers in Tajikistan. Of course, this is a very good idea to expand the study of the Russian language on such a broad scale.
I would like to note that over 35,000 Tajikistani students are now studying at Russian universities, their branches in the republic, and at Russia-Tajikistan (Slavonic) University. This academic year, about 900 state grants have been allocated to meet the republic’s requirements. Next year, we will increase this quota – one of the biggest or probably the biggest for the CIS countries – to 1,000 places.
Discussing current regional and global issues, we talked about our interaction in the CIS, the CSTO, the SCO and the UN. Of course, we analysed the security issue in Central Asia, primarily in the context of Afghanistan. We agreed to continue deepening our defence, military-technical, counterterrorism and antidrug cooperation. In general, we will continue working to maintain peace and stability in Central Asia. We intend to continue actively using the potential of the 201st Russian military base in the republic.
I will meet the President informally this evening as well. We will have an opportunity to review today’s meetings. The President of Tajikistan has a busy agenda, including meetings with the Government of the Russian Federation.
Mr President, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation and for coming to Moscow today with such a representative delegation. Thank you for your attention.
President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
I would like to begin by thanking President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for the invitation to pay an official visit to the Russian Federation. We view the current visit as an important step on the path to further expanding our countries’ strategic partnership and allied relations. It is gratifying that Tajikistani-Russian cooperation today maintains stable dynamics. As President Putin said, we have had substantive talks both at the highest level and in the delegation format.
For my part, I would like to stress that the talks were held in a traditionally constructive and trusting atmosphere. We discussed key issues of bilateral interaction and current regional and international issues of mutual concern.
In the year of the 30th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, we praised the current level of cooperation between our countries, spoke in favour of stepping up collaboration in trade and the economy and reached an agreement on boosting this area in the coming years.
Issues related to expanding investment cooperation have also been discussed. In this regard, we agreed to launch major investment projects in various sectors of the economy. To this end, Tajikistan has created a favourable investment climate, and there are also several free economic zones functioning.
Interstate cooperation with Russia in the field of financial information has reached a qualitatively new level. Mutual settlements in national currencies have increased to 82 percent.
The highlight of the talks was energy cooperation, as well as industrial cooperation with a focus on the metallurgical, mining, textile, food and pharmaceutical industries.
Given the huge hydropower resources available, our country is actively developing green energy. Tajikistan has 13,000 glaciers, which account for 60 percent of water resources in Central Asia. Our country ranks eighth in the world in total hydropower reserves, and second in per capita terms.
Today, Tajikistan generates 98 percent of its electricity at hydroelectric power plants, that is, from renewable green energy sources, and ranks sixth in the world. We intend to double the capacity to produce clean energy as an important foundation for promoting a green economy.
Tajikistan also has opportunities for deploying energy-intensive production capacity using green energy for minimal impact on the environment.
We are ready to develop constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia in these areas. About 800 mineral deposits and indications of possible mineral deposits have been discovered in Tajikistan. These include critical mineral and raw material resources that are in high demand today. We are inviting Russian companies to cooperate in developing them.
We discussed in detail the prospects for cooperation on developing oil-and-gas deposits. The possible joint reclamation of former uranium production sites in Tajikistan is viewed positively from both sides. Rosatom is Tajikistan's main partner in this respect.
We agreed that the agricultural sector was a promising area for cooperation. We emphasised our willingness to expand exports of eco-friendly agricultural products from Tajikistan to Russia.
We also noted the expansion of cooperation in tourism. We emphasised the growing interest of Russians wanting to travel to Tajikistan as tourists, and thus, the increase of their number.
During the talks, we were pleased to note the positive results in humanitarian cooperation, which is currently on the rise. In October 2022, Russia successfully hosted Days of Culture of Tajikistan, while Tajikistan cities held Days of Culture of Russia last summer. We discussed our plan to start building the Mayakovsky Russian Academic Theatre in Dushanbe as soon as possible.
We gave a positive assessment to our productive cooperation in education and healthcare. We noted the successful operation of five general education schools built by Russia in Tajikistan, which were officially launched last year.
We were pleased to note the start of the implementation of our joint project with the President of Russia on building an education centre for gifted children in Tajikistan.
We focused on the study of the Russian language, which has constitutional status as a language of interethnic communication in Tajikistan. I will also mention that Russian language study is mandatory at all levels of the education system, starting from kindergarten, in over 4,000 schools. Today, 2.5 million children are studying in the republic’s education system.
Considering the shortage of textbooks and teaching guides in Russian, as well as teachers trained to teach in Russian, we have expressed interest in continuing to work together in these areas. We supported efforts to expand the practice of sending Russian teachers to Tajikistan under the Russian Teachers Abroad project, which today comprises 72 teachers working in our country.
All of the above economic, cultural and educational issues will be thoroughly reviewed at the upcoming Intergovernmental Commission meeting in Moscow.
We attach great importance to promoting and strengthening interregional ties, with 80 federal and economic entities in Russia today cooperating with Tajikistan. We believe that further expansion of our interregional relations geography will help promote trade, as well as economic and other relations between our countries.
I am confident that it also facilitates efforts to strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between our peoples.
Interparliamentary cooperation is showing positive dynamics, and we are seeing the ties between the legislative bodies of our countries become more intensive.
I want to mention the importance of interaction between our countries in security matters.
I would like to express special gratitude to the law enforcement agencies and security services of the Russian Federation for the cohesive work and the coordination of interaction with the relevant agencies in Tajikistan.
Our countries are closely cooperating in countering terrorism, extremism, acts of radicalism, drug-trafficking, cybercrime and other forms of cross-border organised crime.
During our talks, we spoke in favour of stepping up our cooperation at the UN, the CIS, the SCO, the CSTO and other international and regional associations.
We also discussed regional and international matters. In the context of the situation in Palestine, Tajikistan regards the implementation of the UN resolutions on this issue as the only appropriate solution. The importance of creating an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders needs specific mention.
Having experienced the horrors of a civil war, our country is consistently advocating the use of solely political and diplomatic means to resolve all problems and conflicts.
I would like to emphasise that we are satisfied with the outcome of today’s dialogue. During the talks Tajikistan and Russia have reaffirmed their commitment to tap the existing potential in order to take our relationship to a qualitatively higher level.
Again, I want to sincerely thank President Putin and all our Russian friends for their hospitality and warm welcome.
I have invited the Russian President to pay an official visit to Tajikistan at any time convenient for him.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.