Speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Ceremony of Presentation of Credentials, the Kremlin, Moscow, January 31, 2002
I am sincerely happy to welcome you to the Kremlin on the occasion of the presentation of your credentials.
Your mission in Moscow is beginning at a watershed period for international relations. The time is setting in when the traditional perceptions of the world pattern are getting rid of stereotypes and adjusted to conform to the solution of new tasks.
We in Russia are convinced that there are all the opportunities for a breakthrough development of a truly equitable international system of relations today. System that is based on the force of law and respect for the interests of each state and which can ensure equal security for all countries and peoples.
The foundation for it is already there. It has been built by the entire world, having lived through the wars of the 20th century and become aware of the fatality of "cold" confrontation.
Russia is taking the most active part in this construction. We regard any model based on the dominance of a line emanating from a single power center as futile.
Geopolitical and historical logic convinces us that only well considered and agreed decisions truly unite the potential of the world community. Among other things - for counteraction against such global threats as international terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the militarization of outer space, and transfrontier crime.
The present developments in Afghanistan have shown how effective the coordinated efforts by the world community - organizational, military-technical, informational - are. Already hardly anyone doubts today that international terrorists, wherever they may be - in Chechnya, the Middle East, the Balkans, Central Asia - will suffer just punishment.
Russia intends to continue to play an initiating role in the international processes - both global and regional. We expect the states which you represent to be our reliable partners in this responsible work.
Russia is disposed to develop truly friendly, respectful relations with our neighbor - Latvia. In the last few years a new experience of businesslike cooperation has been accumulated, and it is necessary to make the most use of these opening possibilities for the promotion of stability and trust in the Baltic Region of Europe.
Of course, an essential precondition for building relations of long-term cooperation is the observance of democratic standards in the domain of human rights and the status of national minorities. Our compatriots in Latvia should feel worthy and full-fledged citizens participating in the sociopolitical life of the country. It is important that this position today finds support not only from influential European structures, but also at our bilateral level. I recall my meeting with the leader of Latvia and very much hope that our interstate relations will develop in the same spirit.
I would like to note with satisfaction the consistent building-up of interaction with Brazil. Today we are reaching the level of closest partnership. This has once again been borne out by the concrete decisions taken in the course of the visits of Chairman of the Russian Government Mikhail Kasyanov to Brazil and Brazilian President Fernando Cordoso to Russia.
We highly value relations with the Republic of Tajikistan, our traditional ally and strategic partner. Russia actively supports moving forward the peace process, and stabilizing the sociopolitical life in the friendly republic as a whole - ensuring the security and conditions for economic growth of the entire Central Asian region.
Lasting traditions of friendship have developed between Russia and the Republic of Ghana. We well know the weighty contribution of your country to stabilizing the situation in Western Africa, to resolving conflicts in the continent as a whole. We are ready to continue to strengthen cooperation and open new areas for long-term joint work.
Today cooperation between Russia and Italy, political, economic and cultural, has become an important factor of molding a climate of trust and stability in the European continent and it can be said without exaggeration, throughout the world. We expect that the upcoming visit to be paid in 2002 by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to Moscow will impart new dynamics to the whole range of our ties.
At the base of the truly equal and mutually beneficial relations between Russia and Spain lies the centuries-old friendship of the two peoples, common approaches to dealing with the main questions of our time. We highly value the disposition of the Spanish leadership to deepen the dialogue and practical cooperation across the board. A visit by President of the Spanish Government Jose Maria Aznar to Moscow is due at the end of May this year. Already next week, Crown Prince Felipe will arrive in Russia. I am confident these meetings will serve the further expansion of many-sided contacts, and that the period of Spain's Presidency in the EU will enhance the quality of our cooperation with the European Union.
For years traditional relations of friendship have bound Russia and Algeria. The results of the visit made to Russia last spring by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and in the first place - the signed Declaration on Strategic Partnership - have confirmed that our cooperation has a great future.
We are ready to exert efforts for the consistent development of friendly ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina. We believe that this fully meets the interests of promoting stability in the country and the Balkans as a whole. Russia intends to continue to actively participate in the process of the implementation of the Peace Agreement.
We attach great importance to the development of relations with Malaysia. Today this is one of the most promising partners of Russia in Southeast Asia. We have regular contacts at the highest level, and we very much hope that the upcoming official visit to Russia of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is called upon to play an important role in the further promotion of cooperation.
Russian-Luxembourg ties, which have deep historical roots, are assuming an ever more dynamic character. We hope that Luxembourg will continue to be among the consistent supporters of the development of partnership between Russia and the EU.
I wish all of you success in your upcoming work in Moscow.
I do not doubt that your sojourn in Russia will become a fruitful and interesting stage both in your diplomatic service and in your life. I am convinced that on the part of the Russian colleagues, on the part of Russian citizens you will meet with a truly open and businesslike approach in the discussion and solution of any questions.
All the best to you.