Current dynamics of Russian-Turkish relations

Transcript of Remarks and Response to Questions by Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov at Joint Press Conference Following Talks with Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Davutoglu, Moscow, July 2, 2009

Good afternoon,

I am glad to welcome my Turkish counterpart Ahmed Davutoglu to Moscow. We have substantively discussed the entire range of Russian-Turkish relations and a broad spectrum of topical problems of the region and international life as a whole. We reiterated the mutual interest in increasing further our multifaceted cooperation.

The leaders of our countries in Moscow this past February endorsed the Joint Political Declaration orienting the ministries of foreign affairs and other ministries of Russia and Turkey toward consistently building on the multifaceted partnership and taking our relations to a qualitatively new level.

A meeting between the heads of the Russian and Turkish governments is designed to give a serious impulse to the practical deepening of bilateral collaboration. The preparations for it are proceeding as agreed.

We are pleased with the fast and good growth of our trade and economic ties. Despite the inevitable consequences of the world financial crisis, they continue to form a solid basis for our cooperation. We intend to go on promoting them in the energy, investment and other fields.

The successful Year of Russian Culture in Turkey, and last year the Year of Turkey in Russia, have attested to the high level of cultural and humanitarian cooperation. There has been noted the increasing intensiveness of contacts between people, primarily in the area of tourist exchanges.

On international issues our approaches in the overwhelming majority of cases are close or coincide, as manifested in, among other things, our cooperation within the UN and its Security Council, where Turkey is currently a nonpermanent member. In the spirit of the general approaches endorsed by the world community, Turkey and Russia facilitate in a vigorous and active way resolving the situation in Iraq as soon as possible and achieving a comprehensive Middle East settlement, and come up with responsible concrete proposals to assist progress in this direction. We are also interested in an exclusively peaceful settlement of the issues relating to the Iranian nuclear program. Today an exchange of views also took place on the situation in Transcaucasia in all its aspects, with regard for, among other things, Turkeys Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform.

We agreed on concrete ways to intensify the joint work to promote cooperation in the Black Sea region, particularly within the framework of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, Blackseafor and the Turkish-initiated Operation Black Sea Harmony.

Overall, I would like to note the partner-like trustful character of todays talks, the result of which, undoubtedly, will contribute to the further advancement of our cooperation. I would also like to stress that in parallel with our talks contacts are under way in Moscow between representatives from the energy agencies of Russia and Turkey.

Question: Igor Sechin has invited the Turkish side to participate in the South Stream project. What form can this cooperation take and what makes the project attractive to both sides?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: As was already noted, the Turkish Minister of Energy, Mr. Taner Yildiz, is currently in Moscow. He met with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and also with senior Energy Ministry officials. The entire spectrum of our energy cooperation was discussed in the framework of this meeting.

If the Turkish partners show interest in the South Stream project, then the form and the modalities of the participation could be determined in negotiations between economic operators of Russia and Turkey.

Question: Is the report to the Russian and US presidents on a new strategic arms reduction treaty ready? Will the specific arms reduction figures be named during the presidents meeting?

North Korea has reportedly fired two short-range missiles. Could you comment upon this?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: As regards your second question, I can say I havent seen any such reports. If they exist, then we will, of course, urgently study them, proceeding from the positions of the world community as enshrined in UN Security Council resolutions.

As regards the Russian-US talks on strategic offensive arms, they are continuing in a constructive and productive manner. The report will be presented to Presidents Obama and Medvedev when they meet in Moscow on July 6. We expect the Presidents to record the progress achieved and to reiterate their direction to complete the work by December, when the present Treaty is set to expire. I am certain that the new treaty will fix all the parameters, including quantitative.

Question: Will the visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey take place and has the date been set?

Will the customs issue be solved between Russia and Turkey?

Foreign Minister Lavrov: We have already said in our opening statements that the next meeting of the prime ministers is being prepared. Today we paid sufficient attention to this. The energy talks between Sechin and Yildiz are also largely dedicated to the preparation for this meeting.

As regards customs issues, they periodically arise in relations between partners. In this particular case the customs services of the two countries are in touch. They have developed basic arrangements. It is necessary to continue specifying the modalities that will help implement them effectively to mutual satisfaction and ensure that truthful information is supplied to the customs services about the content and value of goods being moved. I think these are questions for professionals. Politically, at the level of the two countries leaders and foreign ministers, there is a desire to solve these issues as soon as possible.