13 may, 2009 18:17  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Mongolia Sanjaagiin Bayar held a press conference regarding the outcome of the talks


Transcript of the press conference:

Sanjaagiin Bayar (as translated):

I have just held talks with the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin. Our talks took place in a friendly atmosphere. We discussed current issues relating to the development of the Mongolian-Russian partnership and its prospects. We also exchanged opinions on several regional and international issues of mutual interest.

These discussions are part of an ongoing political dialogue which is taking place at the highest level between our two countries. I think that this has great significance for the strengthening of the traditional friendship between our peoples, and for future development of the strategic partnership between our two countries.

The year 2009 is an important one for both our countries. This year we will mark important events, such as the 70th anniversary of our joint victory at Khalkhin-Gol River, the 60th anniversary of the formation of the Mongolian-Russian venture Ulan-Bator Railways, and the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the reclamation of Mongolia's virgin lands. We have agreed to pay particular attention, to give special importance to these events, and to mark these anniversaries together.

Questions relating to cooperation between the two countries in trade, the economy, and investment, were the main topics covered in our talks.

I would like to note that we have successfully agreed on cooperation between our countries in agriculture, especially in arable farming. I am glad that in accordance with the agreement achieved during the meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow this March, the first batch of agricultural machines and equipment arrived, supplied by the Russian Federation for sowing campaign in our country this year. A modest ceremony for the receipt and transfer of this technology took place involving both countries' Agriculture Ministers. I express my gratitude to the Russian side for all the prompt steps they have taken in response to our request.

In order to reduce Mongolia's trade deficit with Russia, and to expand mutual trade turnover, our side proposed the conclusion of an inter-governmental agreement on the mutual supply of some goods on attractive terms. The Russian side expressed its willingness to begin negotiations on this agreement as part of the ongoing working group on the liberalisation of bilateral trade.

We also agreed on joint action to create favourable conditions for the expansion of regional trans-border cooperation, which accounts for a major share of Mongolian-Russian trade. Both sides expressed the desire to accelerate the preparation of a package of inter-governmental documents on cooperation regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy. I would also like to note that the Mongolian side expressed interest in participating in economic projects as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, including legal projects.

Both sides exchanged views on issues relating to putting the necessary infrastructure in place for the exploration of Mongolia's major natural resource reserves, and in connection with this, we have just signed a document on the creation of a joint venture for railway development.

We acknowledged the importance of the projected expansion of exchange programmes in science, technology, culture, education and sport. We also heartily supported the prospect of opening Mongolian branches of Russian higher educational establishments, and the Russian side's implementation of federal programmes to promote the study of the Russian language abroad.

I would like once again to underline with great pleasure that the talks took place in a very warm and friendly atmosphere. We have discussed all questions and areas of cooperation in detail.

Now I would like to pass the microphone to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much Mr Prime Minister.

We have finished our negotiations with Prime Minister Sanjaagiin Bayar. We discussed in detail the important issues in Russian-Mongolian relations and confirmed our mutual intention to expand the cooperation between our two countries.

For our bilateral relations, this year is a very special one. We will be celebrating two important events in our shared history - the 70th anniversary of the Khalkhin Gol Battle and the 60th anniversary of the Ulan Bator Railway. There are also important economic cooperation events planned for this year.

We attach particular importance to the cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, and investments, all the more so in the times of global financial and economic crisis. 

Together with our Mongolian partners, we are working to promptly launch joint investment projects in the metal mining industry. I believe that we will succeed in implementing the previously agreed uranium mining and processing projects. Prime Minister Bayar has already mentioned this. 

Indeed, we discussed and coordinated further measures to modernise joint enterprises which represent "success stories" of our cooperation. These enterprises have been successfully functioning for many years. The Rostechnology State Corporation will be joining efforts with Mongolia's Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetmet companies in the capacity of a new Russian shareholder. I am confident that Rostechnology will help these Mongolian companies to achieve better efficiency through technological modernisation and streamlined management. Most importantly, it will ensure increased stability against the volatile economic environment. 

The Government and the President of Mongolia place particular emphasis on the development of agriculture and related industries. We discussed this issue today with Prime Minister Sanjaagiin Bayar, and with the President of Mongolia at the Davos Forum. We will continue expanding our cooperation in this area.

Today, we discussed not only loans for Mongolia's agriculture. The first tranche has already been allocated, and farm equipment deliveries have already started. Other important cooperation area in agriculture includes livestock vaccination and Mongolian animal product exports to the Russian market. 

As far as the Ulan Bator Railway is concerned, I believe that our joint efforts to develop the Mongolian transport infrastructure will allow us to create new jobs and new sources of income, as well as to increase the efficiency of the regional cooperation as a whole.  I would like to stress that our project is aimed not only at upgrading the Ulan Bator Railway, but also at developing the Mongolian railway network. We have established the joint venture with this goal in mind. 

Once again I would like to stress the traditionally friendly and trust-based environment during our meetings. It is very important that Russia and Mongolia maintain close or matching positions on key international and regional issues and challenges. I will still have an opportunity to discuss these issues with the President of Mongolia today.

I would like to thank Prime Minister Bayar and all Mongolian colleagues for the constructive and open-armed discussions today.

Thank you very much.

Sanjaagiin Bayar: On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government of Mongolia, I would like to express gratitude to all delegation members and individuals who took part in our meetings and negotiations and prepared the documents which have been signed during this visit. Thank you very much.

Mongolyn Medee TV news agency: In 2008, you visited Mongolia as President of Russia, which resulted in the Ulan Bator Declaration defining major directions and guidelines of the partnership between our two nations. Do you think any opportunities have occurred since then to eliminate the barriers that hinder trade development between our countries?

Vladimir Putin: We were aiming at the trade turnover reaching $1-1.3 billion by 2010, which we accomplished in 2008. As you can see, we are ahead of schedule.

Overall, our trade and economic relations have developed positively. More trustful atmosphere of our partnership and closer cooperation prompt us to reach new agreements, and today you witnessed the signing of a new document.

We have been actively expanding our relations in the cultural sphere and coordinating our efforts in international activities. Mongolian President [Nambaryn Enkhbayar] is a reputable figure on the international scene and known as Russia's friend, which is a considerable factor in boosting our partnership and coordinating further efforts as well.

As you can see, we have established regular contacts with Mongolian Prime Minister [Sanjaagiin Bayar] both in Russia and Mongolia. We are maintaining a regular dialogue both on corporate and higher political levels; this testifies to the fact that Russia and Mongolia have indeed established a strategic partnership.

Interfax: I have a question addressed to both prime ministers. As is well known, we have joint enterprises with Mongolia, such as the Ulan Bator Railway and the Erdenet ore enrichment complex. On the one hand, they are an aspect of our cooperation, and on the other, a major constituent of the Mongolian economy. Do you think these enterprises have a potential for further growth to benefit both countries? Generally speaking, what are the prospects for trade and economic relations between Russia and Mongolia and for their investment cooperation?

Sanjaagiin Bayar: I want to point out that the joint enterprises created with Russian participation (the Erdenet complex which is already 30 years old, and the Ulan Bator Railway which is to mark its 60th anniversary this year) have largely contributed to the formation and development of the material base for our economy. Their contribution to the national economy is still significant today.

To enhance the efficiency of these joint ventures, our Russian partner has changed some procedures thus making it possible to list powerful Russian state-run companies, such as Rostechnology and Russian Railways, with shareholders and participants in the Erdenet and Mongolrostsvetmet joint ventures, and in the Ulan Bator Railway, respectively.

Russian Railways will participate in developing old railway lines in Mongolia and enhancing their efficiency, and also in building new railway networks. I believe our Russian partner's approach opens up new vistas for enhancing the economic potential of these joint ventures. 

Along with strengthening our relations in the traditional areas of cooperation, we have agreed to promote new trends in cooperation, for instance, in building new infrastructure for a comprehensive development of large mineral deposits in Mongolia. I believe this will be of prime importance for raising the national economy to a new level.

The documents signed during this visit show which areas of cooperation have been given priority. I also wish to underline that whereas earlier we talked of investments worth millions of US dollars, now we are discussing joint projects worth billions of dollars.

Vladimir Putin: There are several factors attracting Russian companies to Mongolia. The first one is of course the atmosphere of goodwill and cooperation, the tradition of friendship between our two peoples. This is a very important factor in our mutual interaction.

Furthermore, Mongolia possesses rich minerals and natural resources. Mongolia has an advantageous geographical position; however, energetic efforts must be made to realise this potential, and every aspect of cooperation must be commercially attractive.

We think that in spite of the well-known slowdown linked to the world economic crisis, the metals and mining industries are very much in demand. They require technological renewal, improved management; and vitally, new deposits of various metal ores, as well as coking coal must be found.

In order to increase its economic appeal, Mongolia's transport infrastructure must be developed. And transport itself must work within the market environment, with each segment of it being effective. This also affects the rates of tariffs.

If we cope with all these challenges, Mongolia will be an attractive international cargo transit hub, with the movements of goods from Russia to South East Asia, South Korea, Japan and back again.

We have examined all these issues in our talks today. And we are pleased with the results of our discussions.