President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Press statements following talks with the President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin

05.10.2012 17:25, Dushanbe city

PRESIDENT OF TAJIKISTAN EMOMALI RAHMON: Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome Mr Putin, President of the Russian Federation.

This official visit by the Russian President is taking place as we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Our talks took place in a friendly atmosphere of complete understanding and gave us the chance to take an in-depth look at the full spectrum of our relations and exchange views on their future development prospects.

The results of the talks are set out in the joint political statement we have approved. This document also outlines the measures we will take to develop key bilateral cooperation areas over the coming period and our cooperation policy on the international stage.

What I particularly want to stress is that our relations and cooperation are growing, and we want to continue deepening these ties in all different areas. We expressed a mutual desire to strengthen our political contacts.

Economic cooperation and comprehensive development of our economic ties were at the heart of today’s talks. We agreed to intensify our common efforts to develop the economic side of our relations and put it on the level of our military and political partnership. We also expressed mutual interest in expanding our mutually advantageous cooperation in hydroelectricity.

In this context, both sides spoke in favour of constructive solutions to the region’s pressing hydroelectricity and water use issues.

In this respect, we think it necessary to highlight once more that, in accordance with the UN Charter and other international legal provisions, Tajikistan has the right to use its natural resources, including its hydro-energy resources, for the good of its people. But this does not mean that in developing our hydroelectricity sector we will pursue only our own interests. In setting its policy, Tajikistan always follows the principle of finding a reasonable balance between national and regional interests. This is the main imperative underlying our actions and we will continue this policy in the future.

In this context, we have repeatedly put forward regional and global water initiatives, the logical continuation of which we see in the UN General Assembly’s decision to declare 2013 the International Year of Water Cooperation. We hope that 2013 will become a real opportunity for constructive and open dialogue on current water issues at all levels.

As far as other issues on our agenda go, in the area of increasing social and legal protection for labour migrants we agreed to find rapid positive solutions and extend the deadlines for labour migrants’ registration and the validity of their work permits.

We also agreed that Russia will deliver oil products to Tajikistan for our domestic consumption needs without imposing export duties.

As part of our ongoing cooperation against global threats and challenges, we agreed to intensify the fight against drug trafficking and signed an agreement in this area. We thank Russia for the financial assistance it provides to our drug control agency’s work.

We gave close attention to the issue of making fuller use of our opportunities for developing cultural and humanitarian ties.

We have made progress in developing our military and military technical cooperation too. We share the view that close cooperation in these areas is in our strategic interests and strengthens stability and security in the region.

We have signed a new package of agreements in this area, including an agreement on the status and terms applying to the Russian military base on Tajikistan’s soil. In accordance with this agreement, Russia will modernise and technically upgrade Tajikistan’s armed forces and provide them with modern weapons. Russia will also help to provide training for service personnel and assist in other areas of strengthening Tajikistan’s defence capability.

We exchanged views on a wide range of current regional and international issues, including Afghanistan. We share the view on the need to get Afghanistan actively involved in regional cooperation. We noted that this will help to mitigate the social and economic consequences of the new transition period that Afghanistan is going through in its national development.

We noted our common and similar views on all of the regional and global issues.

In conclusion, I express my great satisfaction with today’s talks. I am sure that this official visit by the President of Russia, our friend, will open a new page in the rich history of our countries’ relations.

It is with great pleasure that I now give the floor to my colleague, the President of the Russian Federation.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Thank you very much.

Mr President, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I want to congratulate the President of Tajikistan on his birthday and wish him good health, well-being, and success in his important state work.

The President of Tajikistan, Mr Rahmon, can take a lot of credit for the high level of interstate relations and the strategic partnership and cooperation that we have. He has done much to strengthen our ties and continues his efforts in this direction. We see the results in the agreements signed just before. I will speak about them in more detail, adding to what President Rahmon has already said.

Tajikistan is an active supporter of deepening the integration process in the CIS in general, and we greatly value and support Tajikistan’s efforts in this area.

Let me say a few words about our talks today. They took place in a very friendly, frank and business-like atmosphere. We discussed in detail a broad range of topical issues related to our political dialogue, trade and economic ties, defence and security cooperation, and humanitarian matters. You saw that we just signed a solid package of agreements, and I am sure their implementation will give our bilateral cooperation a big boost.

Key among these documents is the agreement setting the terms for Russia’s stationing of its military base on Tajikistan’s soil for the next 30 years – until 2042. This step will guarantee reliable protection for our strategic interests and will strengthen security and stability throughout the Central Asian region.

In the area of jointly fighting drug trafficking we agreed to allocate more than $5 million to Tajikistan’s Presidential Drugs Control Agency. We will continue to help Tajikistan train drugs control personnel at Russia’s training facilities. This work is already in process and will continue, indeed, it will become more specifically targeted in nature and more effective.

We gave priority attention to business cooperation opportunities. As I said at the expanded-format talks earlier, we cannot be satisfied with the current trade figures of $810 million in 2011 and $413 million for the first half of 2012. This level of trade is not high enough for what our two countries could achieve.

The investment situation is a bit brighter. Total Russian investment in Tajikistan now comes to $1.2 billion. In 2011, our companies invested more than $133 million in Tajikistan - $133.6 million to be precise. The Intergovernmental Commission will play an active part in making our economic cooperation more effective and creating a favourable environment for expanding mutually advantageous contacts. To this end we recently raised the level of the commission’s co-chairman on the Russian side.

We see good opportunities for intensifying our industrial cooperation. Over the last three years we have established 15 new joint ventures. There are now 125 joint ventures at work here, working in all different sectors, from construction and retail to producing furniture and textiles.

Tajikistan is rich in raw materials and hydro-energy resources. The focus of our cooperation is making maximum effective use of this potential for Tajikistan’s economic and social development. Good developments have already been made. As you know, Sangtudin Hydroelectric Power Station 1 has already been built and brought on line and now produces 15 percent of the country’s electricity. Gazprom-Zarubezhneftegaz is carrying gas deposit exploration work, and Gazpromneft-Tajikistan is building a service station network in the country and is one of Tajikistan’s biggest taxpayers, contributing 2.2 percent of the budget’s revenue.

We are examining possibilities for carrying out projects to build medium and small-capacity power stations on Tajikistan’s internal rivers. President Rahmon raised this issue today and during his visit to Moscow too. We are examining the possibilities and think the idea is perfectly feasible.

The latest example of our efforts to strengthen Tajikistan’s energy sector is the memorandum on duty-free deliveries of oil products that we signed today. We think this will be of direct support to Tajikistan’s economy.

We reached agreements on continued cooperation in migration policy. There are currently 1.3 million Tajikistani citizens working in Russia. We plan to extend the deadline for migrants’ registration to 15 days and issue work permits for up to three-year periods. Our position is that these decisions will have a positive effect on our market for foreign labour, help to stabilise labour migrants’ situation, and give Tajikistani citizens the opportunity to build their plans on a more solid and legal basis.

I note that remittances from labour migrants support the welfare of a large part of Tajikistan’s population. Labour migrants sent home almost $3 billion in 2011 – almost half of Tajikistan’s GDP.

Our cultural, scientific, and education contacts have become more active too. Moscow State University and the MISiS National Research and Technology University have opened branches in Dushanbe. The Moscow Energy Institute will open a branch soon.

Incidentally, we discussed today the need for Russian language studies in schools. This will certainly help Tajikistan’s economy to develop based on its own resources, with our participation, and the participation of other foreign partners too. It will help to create new highly-skilled and decently paid jobs. I think that some of the migration issues would not be as serious also if we work in this direction.

There are currently 4,700 students from Tajikistan studying in Russian universities. We would like to see broader Russian language studies in Tajikistan, including at the Russian-Tajikistani (Slavic) University, as I mentioned earlier, which has become an education leader in Tajikistan and now has 4,300 students. I think that knowledge of Russian would considerably expand Tajikistanis’ professional opportunities, especially in the case of young people, and help them to move more freely in the Russian and CIS information space and get education and better skilled jobs.

During our talks we discussed cooperation in the CIS, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Community, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. I am sure that close coordination in international and integration affairs, including within the integration organisations, is in the interests of both countries and peoples and will bolster stability throughout Central Asia.

In conclusion, I want to thank the President of Tajikistan and all of our colleagues for the very business-like and warm atmosphere they created today and for our work together.

Thank you for your attention.

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