Transcript of Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Meeting with Media Representatives on Arrival in Ankara, June 7, 2001
Ivanov: I am glad of this opportunity to pay a visit to Turkey. Tomorrow we will have a very intensive program. It is, above all, receptions at presidential and prime ministerial levels, talks with my counterpart and friend Ismail Cem. Then will follow a trip to Istanbul and a meeting with the business circles of Turkey.
During these meetings and talks we mean to discuss a full range of Russian-Turkish relations, and to exchange opinions on important international problems. Turkey is an important partner of Russia. We are interested in developing good-neighborly, mutually beneficial relations between our countries. We hope that tomorrow's talks will help collate our positions and outline ways to invigorate contacts in the political field, to further build up trade and economic cooperation and to interact in other spheres. At the end of the meetings and talks we will have an opportunity to tell media representatives about their outcome.
Question: The question concerns the Blue Stream project. The past month saw many publications on this theme; a Gazprom representative visited Turkey. How long will this project remain on the agenda?
Ivanov: This project will remain on the agenda for a long time yet, because it is an important element of Russian-Turkish relations. We hope that it will be implemented within a set time, and in 2002 the supply of Russian gas will begin along the pipeline. From our point of view, its realization meets the interests of Russia and Turkey alike. Not only economic, but also the interests of broader long-term cooperation. You know that an active elaboration of an energy security model is now under way in Europe. We believe that the Blue Stream project is one of the examples of this model. We are confident that it will be realized in the interests of our two countries and peoples.
Question: Do you intend to ask the Turkish side for guarantees with respect to this project?
Ivanov: As you know, we for a long time negotiated with the Turkish side regarding this project. All necessary decisions were taken. Now there goes their practical realization. It is now a question of commercial, not diplomatic talks. We see no political problems in the path of realization of this project.
Question: The question of Chechnya in Russian-Turkish relations last arose after the capture of a Russian plane and the Swisshotel. Will this theme be touched upon during the talks?
Ivanov: I do not think that during the talks we will raise questions associated with the incident that took place at that hotel. Appropriate competent Turkish authorities must deal and, probably, are dealing with this. At the same time, of course, we will consider the situation in the Caucasus on a broad plane, including that in the North Caucasus. We also will exchange views on how it is necessary to cooperate in the interests of fighting international terrorism and various forms of extremism. I think these problems are today topical not only for Russia and Turkey, but also for the international community as a whole.
June 8, 2001