Opening Remarks at Informal Summit of the Presidents of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV:

Colleagues,

First of all, I want to thank this summit’s host, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has received us all today for this informal meeting.

Experience shows that these kinds of informal meetings are extremely useful. They give us the chance to discuss all kinds of issues without being bound by protocol and formalities. This way, we can talk things over openly and sometimes obtain some very good results, make real breakthroughs, and come up with good ideas that we then carry out.

One example is the idea we came up with a year ago to establish an economic support fund, the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund. I think, given the situation, we set it up quite rapidly. The whole ratification process is now complete and the fund has started work. This is the sort of direct result that these kinds of informal meetings produce. We should not forget that the idea of creating the EurAsEC itself arose at one of these informal meetings.

We do not have a set agenda today, although, three of our countries, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation, agreed during the meeting in Minsk to meet again at the end of the year in Kazakhstan to discuss our plans for building the common economic area between our countries. This follows on from the recent signing of a separate agreement on creating a common customs zone that will apply in our countries. We are therefore here today to discuss these and other matters of interest to our colleagues.

Indeed, all sorts of things are happening around the world today. I can share with you my impressions from the recent climate summit in Copenhagen. There are results, but they are modest. The working process turned out to be very difficult, unfortunately, but we did finally manage to put together a declaration reflecting the different countries’ views on what we should do to improve the planet’s environment, and what steps we can take to prevent adverse effects of climate change.

There are also other issues of concern that we always examine: the economic situation, the regional problems our countries face, above all challenges such as terrorism, drugs trafficking, and organised crime. We are working actively on countering these threats through the regional organisations in which we take part, on a bilateral basis and in other forms.

This meeting, like our last meeting in Kazakhstan, is part of what has become a good tradition. I am sure that we will be able to exchange views on all different issues today. I think, if our partners have no objection, we will discuss the Single Economic Space, and will look together for answers to the complex problems our countries have faced over this difficult year.

I therefore thank you once again, Mr Nazarbayev, for inviting us here and organising this informal meeting. As a rule, we come away with good results.

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