16 november, 2009 18:14  

Following bilateral talks, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico delivered their statements to the press


“These talks have once again confirmed the high level of mutual understanding and trust recently achieved by our two countries. These relations serve as a model for many countries in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Vladimir Putin Statement to the press following the Russian-Slovak talks

Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would like to express my satisfaction with today's meaningful and constructive talks.

These talks have once again confirmed the high level of mutual understanding and trust recently achieved by our two countries. These relations serve as a model for many countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Next spring we'll be celebrating the 65th anniversary of the victory over Nazism, which is a joyous, significant day for both our countries. The unparalleled courage and heroism of Soviet soldiers will always be in our hearts. Our common duty is to keep the memory of that time alive and to cherish the memory of the victims of that war and the lives of the soldiers who were killed defending freedom in Europe, and who gave their lives to liberate Europe from fascism.

We appreciate the fact that Slovakia continues to maintain the tombs of Soviet soldiers and the monuments in their honour.

Today's meeting resulted in a joint statement on the key issues in the Russian-Slovak dialogue. Of all the questions we touched on today, the issues of trade, the economy and scientific and technological cooperation are among the most important.

Until recently, trade between Russia and Slovakia was distinctive for its positive growth, increasing more than threefold within the past five years.

The global financial and economic crisis has certainly affected trade, and this year it will face a considerable decline.

There is only one solution: We must restructure our trade and economic cooperation, and decrease its dependence on external conditions. This can be achieved by expanding business connections, investment partnerships, and cooperation in high-technology industries.

The Intergovernmental Commission on Cooperation in the Economy, Science and Technology is intended to play a large role in this. Its most recent meeting was held in Moscow, on the eve of today's meeting. The commission not only analysed available resources and the possibility of setting up our business ties for continued growth, but also achieved concrete results, such as a programme on nuclear cooperation.

The energy industry is one of the traditional areas where both our countries have been working together and accumulating valuable experience for years. I would like to underscore that Slovakia is one of the most important and reliable elements in the system of transporting Russian energy to European consumers.

Today we discussed an opportunity for Gazprom and its Slovak partners to launch a joint venture that would distribute gas to Slovakia and resolve other energy issues. Our Slovak friends will have a chance to discuss these issues in detail at the Gazprom headquarters later today.

In any case, Russia will try its best to uphold the commitments outlined in the contracts we signed with our Slovak partners today in full.

Russia will continue supplying oil to the Slovak market and transporting it through Slovakia.

In this respect, the project to extend the Druzhba oil pipeline from Bratislava to the refinery in Schwechat, outside Vienna, appears especially promising, although it requires further study by all those concerned.

We are determined to step up cooperation in advanced technologies and science, including in purely scientific areas such as the International Laser and Cyclotron Centres currently under construction in Bratislava. We welcome the Slovak Government's decision to continue this project and ensure that it receives proper funding. For our part, we will do everything possible to complete this project successfully.

Increasing work on infrastructure is also on our agenda. Possible projects include extending the railway from Kosice to Bratislava, with a branch to Vienna. We recently discussed this issue with the Austrian Chancellor during his visit to Moscow. This project involves one more country: Ukraine. In a couple of days I will have an opportunity to discuss this issue with Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko in Ukraine. The project has been progressing at a good pace so far.

We have noted Prime Minister Fico's remark that this project is critical for Slovakia, not only in terms of building a railway but also due to the possibility of expanding the country's transport capabilities, which means increasing the capacity of ports and airports, directing cargo traffic through Slovakia to southern Europe, and using the transport capabilities of Slovakia proper. This issue will be thoroughly discussed and implemented as a part of a wider programme.

We discussed other issues on which we cooperate in detail, including tourism and cooperation between regions.

In conclusion, I would like to thank my counterpart, Prime Minister Fico, for today's fruitful and business-like conversation. I am confident that we took one more important step today in bringing relations between Russia and Slovakia to a new level.

Thank you very much. Thank you for your attention.

Robert Fico (as translated): Mr Prime Minister, allow me, in turn, to thank you sincerely for our meeting in Moscow and for the constructive and intelligent dialogue that we have had together.

The Slovak Republic is a member state of the European Union, and we have no contentious, unresolved political issues with the Russian Federation. Therefore, we are able to concentrate all of our efforts on cooperation in the areas of science, technology and economics.

The government of the Slovak Republic and that of Russian Federation will work together to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Slovak Republic by the Red Army and the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II as these events deserve. The gravity and significance of these celebrations will be further increased by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the Slovak Republic.

Of course it would also be a great pleasure to welcome you to the Slovak Republic as well, Mr Prime Minister. And I would like to take this opportunity to invite you for an official visit to the Slovak Republic. We have agreed that you may visit at any time that is convenient for you - whenever when you are able to take leave of your important work in Russia.

I would also like to take this opportunity to praise the work of the Russian-Slovak Intergovernmental Commission on Scientific, Technical and Economic Cooperation. As the facts have shown, this commission truly is involved in extremely constructive and positive work. And today we have had the opportunity to sum up the results of this work.

We devoted the major part of our discussion to oil and gas supplies to the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Republic and the Slovak government consider the Russian Federation to be a reliable supplier of these energy resources to our country. Therefore, it was with great interest that I listened to information on the situation that may await us in the future - meaning Ukraine's inability to pay for Russian gas.

We agreed with the Prime Minister that if such a situation arises, we will be informed of it in a timely manner. This issue will be on the agenda in our talks with Gazprom representatives.

The Slovak Republic has signed the agreement. The Slovak gas industry is party to the agreement, and 6.5 million cubic metres of gas will be supplied to the Slovak Republic according to this agreement.

Of course, the Slovak Republic's strategic interest is in upholding this agreement to the fullest possible degree.

It is with great pleasure that I note the political decision that we have reached with the Prime Minister - there are now no obstacles in the way of Gazprom and Slovakian companies launching a joint venture. This prospective company would concern itself with supplying gas for Slovak consumers and companies, as well as with building and operating gas storage facilities. But the devil is in the details, and so we will wait for the results from the working commissions, and we will make a decision based on these results.

We are very positive about the cooperation between the Slovak Republic and the Russian Federation on nuclear energy. The Slovak government is convinced that without safety measures regarding nuclear energy and resolving the issue of nuclear energy, it will be impossible to guarantee the safe use of nuclear power in this country.

The Slovak Republic's nuclear power plants use Russian technology, and therefore we cannot imagine progress in this area without Russia's cooperation.

We also want for our good relations to translate into specific technological and economic projects. We hope that by the spring of 2010, on the occasion of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Slovakia, we will open a Centre of proton beam therapy at the military hospital in Ruženberg, which will save the lives and health of many people.

The Slovak government has made the decision to finish the Cyclotron Centre in Bratislava. Considerable funds were invested in this project. I am referring to one-of-a-kind technology. And our goal is to finish this project.

And I have proposed to the Prime Minister that we establish a joint Slovak-Russian company that would distribute the products of the Cyclotron Centre throughout Europe. There are no political barriers to this proposal.

In closing, I have a few more proposals for infrastructure. I am very glad that work continues on the project to build a broad-gauge railroad from Ukraine to Austria through Slovakia. I would also like to emphasise that the Austrian government fully supports this project.

But as the Prime Minister said, the Slovak government is interested in not only the construction of this railroad, but also in using Slovak ports and airports, particularly the river port on the Danube and the airport in Bratislava.

We hope that the economic situation will begin to improve next year and that the terminal in Dobra will receive a large volume of cargo.

As everyone knows, Russian Railways currently rents this terminal. We also support cooperation between Russian Railways and Tatra Wagonka, which will manufacture cargo platforms for the Russian Federation. And therefore, I consider our meeting today to be very useful, and even indispensable for our two countries.

There are great differences between Russia and the Slovak Republic - in regards to size of territory, population and economic potential.

Thanks to the Prime Minister for the constructive talks, and for his generosity.

* * *

After bilateral discussions, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico issued a joint statement.


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico would like to express their satisfaction with the meaningful and substantive talks held between their two countries on November 16, 2009, and emphasise their shared desire to develop political dialogue at all levels and promote comprehensive bilateral cooperation. Russia and Slovakia will continue to pay special attention to effective cooperation in trade, the economy, science and technology, which are major areas of development for both countries. Both countries also pledge to enhance the competitiveness of their economies in the world arena.

Russia and Slovakia recognise the strategic importance of bilateral energy cooperation and constructive dialogue between Russia and the European Union (EU) to ensure the security and reliability of energy supplies. This includes transporting and delivering energy to consumers.

Based on the need to develop the energy industry and diversify sources of energy, Russia and Slovakia will continue their close cooperation in the nuclear power industry and their peaceful use of atomic energy.

Russia and Slovakia therefore welcome the adoption of a long-term programme calling for cooperation in this area. The programme was adopted at the 14th meeting of the two countries' Inter-Governmental Commission on Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Both countries expect that the construction of the Cyclotron Centre in the Slovak Republic will create the necessary research, development and scientific base for continued Russian, Slovakian, and international progress in this area.

Russian and Slovakia would also like to express their satisfaction with their joint efforts in railway transport, and praise Russian and Slovak experts extending the broad-gauge railway from Kosice to Bratislava, and further to Vienna. This railway is of special importance for increasing cargo traffic in Europe and Asia.

The two countries agreed to resolve all issues of mutual interest, including those regarding their defence cooperation, in a constructive spirit typical of relations between partners.

The Russian and Slovak governments attach special importance to the joint celebrations of the 65th anniversary since the liberation of Bratislava by the Red Army and the end of World War II in Europe.

Finally, the two countries emphasised their shared desire to observe these great historical events and the formation of the new Europe by holding large-scale cultural and educational activities.

Moscow, November 16, 2009