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     17.04.2003

Remarks by President Vladimir Putin at the Ceremony of the Presentation of Credentials by the Ambassadors of Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Cuba, Eritrea, Madagascar, Venezuela and Israel, the Alexandrovsky Hall, Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow, April 16, 2003

Good day, esteemed gentlemen,

I am glad to have an opportunity to greet you at this solemn ceremony at the Kremlin. Today marks the official start of your diplomatic mission to Russia. I hope that it will be effective and will promote the development of the relations between our countries on many planes.

You represent different regions of the planet. But in this interconnected and interdependent world no single region, no single country can fence itself off from the common problems facing the international community. They include local and regional conflicts, international terrorism and extremism, financial and economic crises.

I am convinced that these acute and topical challenges can only be met by joint efforts of the entire world community.

The development of the international situation puts to the fore the topical task of preserving the supremacy of international legal norms and the unique role of global security institutions, above all the UN. Recent realities prove that the universal "rules of behavior" worked out in the course of the many centuries of human history which has been by no means free of problems, are in need of constant adaptation to the changing world and careful improvement.

Summing up, I can say firmly that Russia is a reliable partner in the formation of a genuinely democratic model of the new world order. Russia is ready for the broadest cooperation in this sphere.

Esteemed gentlemen,

Russian relations with the states which you represent are based on trust and constructive partnership.

A long-standing friendship binds the Russian Federation and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. These relations are backed by practical cooperation in our countries' struggle against terrorism, extremism and separatism. Russia takes a keen interest in the successful advancement of the negotiating process on the search of a political resolution of the interethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

We note the positive dynamics in the evolution of ties with Guatemala. Obvious is the constructive role which your state plays in the political and economic life of the Central American region.

We cherish our traditional cooperation with Cuba. Russians have always entertained deep sympathy for your country and for your people. Today we are consistently building our relations on a new basis, while preserving all the best that was accumulated over the previous decades. I am convinced: this approach meets the interests of our two peoples.

We are for the development of cooperation with Eritrea. In the political, trade-and-economic and other fields we still have quite a lot of opportunities. A good potential exists. And all this needs to be developed.

Russian relations with the Republic of Madagascar have a long-standing history. For long years they have been distinguished by a friendly and confidential character. We consider it important to use the amassed experience of cooperation more effectively and to look for new reciprocally beneficial forms of bilateral ties.

We are satisfied with the richness of the political dialogue with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Of great importance in this regard were the Russian-Venezuelan meetings at the highest level. The main thing today is to ensure the practical implementation of the existing accords.

Russian-Israeli relations have markedly advanced, especially in the last few years. To build up the existing many-sided ties and to make full use of their significant potential is our common task. It is very important to deepen the confidential character of our relations.

And, of course, today coordinated efforts by the international community are necessary as never before for the commencement of real progress towards the establishment of an enduring peace in the Middle East.

Esteemed gentlemen,

Once again I would like to wish you success in performing your noble mission. I am sure that by your activities you will contribute to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation among our states. By expanding multilateral cooperation and political dialogue we will be able, through joint efforts, to achieve a great deal.

I would like to stress that you will meet the most committed attention and support in this work on the part of the Russian ministries and agencies.

All the best to you,

Thank you for your attention.

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