Transcript of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov's Remarks at Joint Press Conference on Results of Talks with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ismail Cem,
Ankara, June 8, 2001
Ivanov: I would like first of all to express gratitude to the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs and my friend, Mr. Ismail Cem, for the invitation and cordial welcome.
We paid the main attention during our morning meeting to bilateral relations and their development prospects. We believe that all the necessary conditions are there to elevate Russian-Turkish relations to a qualitatively new level of partnership. During the talks it was noted on both sides that the geographical neighborhood of our countries, the extensive field of common interests in different regions, the unprecedentedly high level of trade and economic cooperation, contacts between people - all this objectively dictates the necessity of close cooperation in international, regional and bilateral affairs. Lastly, the uniqueness of the position of Russia and Turkey is that our countries are Eurasian states, and there also arises the ground here for a vigorous, fruitful dialogue and cooperation.
Special attention during the talks was devoted to the problems of fighting the present day challenges and threats to global and regional security. It is obvious that active international cooperation is required here, and we have agreed to develop further such cooperation between Russia and Turkey.
The questions of bilateral cooperation - above all in the trade and economic field - featured prominently in the talks. We believe that the current high level of trade between our countries is not the limit. We have the possibilities to build up further economic cooperation, and Russia is ready for this.
We will continue the talks and discuss a whole variety of topical international problems. But I already want to stress now that the talks bear a constructive, benevolent character. I think that this is evidence of the high level of bilateral relations.
Question: The first question is associated with the Blue Stream Project. Igor Sergeyevich, how can you comment on reports that an additional protocol is likely to be signed, which was allegedly the subject matter of the talks conducted by Gazprom?
The second question concerns the reports that appeared today that nuclear wastes will be brought into Russia by allegedly transporting them through the Black Sea straits.
Ivanov: In respect of the Blue Stream I want once again to stress that the implementation of this project to an equal extent meets the interests of Russia and Turkey alike. This is a reciprocally beneficial project: that was how both Moscow and Ankara approached it. It will be implemented and become an important component of our trade and economic relations. As to the technical aspects connected with the schedule for the execution of specific works, they directly concern the companies and firms participating in the implementation of this project. We hope that all the technical matters will be settled and will not influence the implementation dates of the project, which must be completed next year.
As to the second question, the State Duma has adopted a bill permitting the import and storage on the country's territory of spent nuclear fuel. No other questions, including those linked with transportation, were discussed or have any relationship to this law. In any case all these questions will be decided with regard to high international nuclear and environmental safety standards.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, was the theme of Chechnya discussed during the talks with your Turkish counterpart? What are the approaches of the parties to the question of resolving the situation in the North Caucasus?
Ivanov: This question so far was not specially discussed during the talks. Today we considered matters on a more global plane, including those connected with the ensuring of stability and security in the Caucasus as a whole.
As to the situation in the Chechen Republic, I can once again confirm that the Russian leadership is firmly pursuing a line for a political settlement of this problem. Despite the actions of terrorists, of which civilians are ever more often becoming victims, this line of the Russian leadership will continue. We are confident that this will lead to the desired result.
Question: Igor Sergeyevich, were the prospects of a Russian-Turkish summit meeting discussed?
Ivanov: There is an official invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to pay an official visit to Turkey. This invitation was accepted. The date for the visit will be specified through diplomatic channels.
June 9, 2001