President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr President, ladies and gentlemen.
We are delighted to welcome the President of Mongolia to Moscow.
After being sworn in as head of state, Mr President is paying his first foreign visit precisely to Russia, and this, of course, shows that Mongolia attaches great significance to developing neighbourly ties with Russia. Certainly, we are also interested in maintaining a close partnership with our Mongolian friends.
Mutually beneficial cooperation between both states has a long history. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations. I would like to recall that Russia became the first country to recognise the independence of the Mongolian state. Since then, Russian-Mongolian interaction has grown stronger and expanded, hinged on the principles of respect and consideration for each other’s interests. The people of Russia and Mongolia remember their war-time friendship, which Mr President has mentioned today and which was consolidated in the Battles of Khalkhin Gol and during World War II.
Today’s talks were held in a business-like and constructive manner. Mr President and I adopted the joint Political Declaration that builds upon the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, signed in 2019. And, most importantly, the Declaration sets forth clear guidelines for further deepening bilateral ties in various spheres of cooperation.
Apart from that, both parties have drafted and will sign during this visit a package of intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents covering many aspects of our interaction and cooperation, including the economy and trade.
Russia is one of Mongolia’s largest foreign trade partners. Despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, mutual trade increased by 24 percent in the first nine months of 2021.
The Russian-Mongolian Intergovernmental Commission on Cooperation in Trade, Economy, Science and Technology is working effectively. This past November, Ulan Bator was the venue for its latest meeting, and the participants charted new specific plans for interaction in such fields as infrastructure, ore mining industry, power industry, agriculture, and digital technologies.
The Ulaanbaatar Railway is our flagship and quite successful joint commercial project. Over the past decade, the bilateral freight volume on this system has doubled from 15 to 30 million tonnes annually.
In recent years, Russia has supported a large amount of work to modernise and expand the Mongolian carrier’s rail lines as well as to strengthen its financial stability. In particular, a regular indexation of transport fees has been established, a debt-restructuring plan has been drawn up with regard to old loans from the 1990s, and a number of long-standing land issues have been resolved. We hope that all these steps will make rail transport across Mongolia more attractive and profitable.
Mr Khurelsukh and I have substantively discussed our energy cooperation. Russia is a reliable supplier of energy resources to Mongolia, providing about 80 percent of the country's demand for petroleum products. Russian energy companies are interested in working in the Mongolian market for fuels and lubricants and expanding their presence. In particular, Rosneft is now being registered as an operator of bulk fuel installations at the new international airport in Ulan Bator.
A project to build a Russia-China gas pipeline across Mongolia is under consideration. The discussion is progressing steadily. The new pipeline could be a branch of Russia’s Power of Siberia 2 pipeline. We have identified the best route, length and other parameters, and a feasibility study is underway. I think it will be available in the next few weeks.
Russia and Mongolia have gained solid experience in cooperating on electrical power engineering. Last year, our companies ROTEC and Ural Turbine Works completed the modernisation of the CHPP-4 thermal power plant in Ulan Bator. The upgrade increased the Mongolian national energy system’s capacity by 15 percent. Another joint project to modernise CHPP-3 is under consideration.
Good prospects are opening up for nuclear energy cooperation. Rosatom is exploring the possibility of building a Nuclear Science Centre in Mongolia which would be used to research the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in various sectors of the Mongolian economy, including industry, medicine, and agriculture.
Russia and Mongolia plan to continue to jointly pursue important environmental projects, which the President and I discussed in depth today. In particular, we will cooperate to preserve our cross-border rivers, including the Selenga and the Uldza, which form the unique ecosystems of Lake Baikal and Torey Lakes, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
I would like to emphasise that Russia and Mongolia have partnered in fighting the coronavirus infection. We have organised deliveries to Mongolia of our Sputnik V vaccine and test systems for detecting COVID-19. In addition, there are two Russian mobile laboratories working in Mongolia to identify dangerous viruses.
During the talks, we touched on the topic of humanitarian cooperation. We agreed to step up scientific, cultural and sports exchanges, and to continue the practice of regularly holding Russian-Mongolian Friendship Days and Days of Culture.
Russia provides assistance in training highly qualified specialists for all sectors of the Mongolian economy. Mongolian students are allocated 500 budget-funded places a year at our universities. We are satisfied with the fact that Mongolia has a well-established system for studying the Russian language.
I would like to note that Russia and Mongolia are successfully cooperating in defence and security, contacts between law enforcement agencies are getting stronger, and joint military exercises are held on a regular basis. In particular, within the framework of the annual Selenga exercises, joint tactical methods of fighting illegal armed groups are being practiced.
Russia and Mongolia’s positions on pressing regional and international problems overlap or are very close. Our countries coordinate their actions at the UN.
The possibility of including our Mongolian partners in the EAEU integration processes is being studied. A joint research group has been formed, which is studying the feasibility of creating a free trade zone between Mongolia and the EAEU.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The visit of the President of Mongolia continues, and he has an extensive programme which includes a meeting with the Prime Minister, the heads of both chambers of the Federal Assembly, and a meeting at the Security Council. With this in mind, we can be confident that President Khurelsukh’s visit will be successful and, without a doubt, productive. We have covered practically all aspects of our interaction. I am confident that the agreements to be reached will lead to expanding the comprehensive development of the Russian-Mongolian partnership.
Once again, I would like to thank the President for making his first state visit to the Russian Federation.
President of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh (retranslated): I am happy that my first foreign visit is to the Russian Federation. It is timed to the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia. This visit is of historical significance. During the talks with Mr Putin, we summed up the development of relations over the past century, exchanged in detail our views on further goals and areas of cooperation and on major joint projects, and mapped out prospects for joint actions for the next century.
Both leaders noted with pride our good tradition of mutual assistance, which took shape during the struggle for freedom and independence, in the years of the Great Patriotic War, during peaceful development. We also expressed our intention to develop political dialogue in accordance with principles of equality and respect for territorial integrity and international law.
Close friendly cooperation over 100 years is a rare historical precedent. Our relations are a model of historical relations.
During President Putin’s visit to Mongolia in 2019, we signed a Treaty of Friendly Relations and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for an indefinite term. Both leaders confirmed that it had become a foundation for enriching our comprehensive strategic partnership with new content and for its intensive development.
We have opportunities to develop cooperation in energy, supplies of fuel and lubricants, natural gas, in road and transport sector, communications, infrastructure, agriculture, environmental protection and other areas of trade and economic cooperation.
We consider it necessary to substantially expand our trade, economic and investment cooperation and raise it to a new level. During the visit, our country expressed its desire to develop intensive mutually beneficial cooperation. We invited our Russian partners to take part in infrastructure, railway, energy and other projects. We exchanged views on upgrading the checkpoints on our state border, increasing their throughput capacity and creating a cross-border zone of bilateral cooperation.
We plan to cooperate on the Mongolia-Russia-China economic corridor project, which was approved in 2016, and we are also satisfied with the successful implementation of the trilateral project for the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to China through Mongolia.
In order to develop transport connections between Asia and Europe, as well as to fulfil Mongolia’s national goal, Transit Mongolia, we exchanged views on stepping up cooperation to increase the economic efficiency of the joint Mongolian-Russian company Ulaanbaatar Railway, upgrading its infrastructure and creating new railway, motorway and energy corridors.
Our two countries have a strong tradition of cooperation in humanitarian sphere, in culture, education and scientific research. We are grateful for the Russian Federation’s decision to increase the number of Government grants for Mongolian students.
Our countries closely cooperate within regional associations and international organisations and have confirmed plans to coordinate their efforts at the UN, ASEAN, and the SCO. We support the initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership put forward by President Putin, and we are willing to cooperate to implement joint projects to develop trade, economic and infrastructure related interaction.
During the visit, at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, we approved a joint declaration on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Russia. Important documents on cooperation in the area of checkpoints and customs offices’ operation, as well as in the sphere of intellectual property, education and culture, were signed as well.
Our relations are moving forward despite the pandemic. We are in favour of overcoming the pandemic as soon as possible, restoring the spirit of cooperation and bringing it to a new level. I am pleased with the results of my visit.
On behalf of the Mongolian people, I would like to express gratitude to you, Mr President, and to our eternal neighbour, the great Russian people, for the efforts to promote traditionally friendly cooperation, and I wish you all the best.