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Russia is fully optimistic about the future of relations with Ukraine

Speech of President Dmitry Medvedev at meeting of the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commission

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr President, colleagues,

It seems just a short time ago that we met in May in Kiev to hold the Russian-Ukrainian Interstate Commissionís third meeting, and now here we are again for the fourth meeting, an expanded format meeting that represents the whole spectrum of Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Over these last 7 months our ministries and regions have worked very hard. The various sectoral committees and sub-commissions were in close contact and held their meetings first. The results of this work are known. Our colleagues are here today and have presented the corresponding reports.

I want to add that I met with Mr Yanukovych for the tenth time today, not counting the meetings we have had at multilateral summits. This is an unprecedented intensiveness in the number of meetings. As I have already said, Mr Yanukovych and I are essentially making up now for what was lost over past years. This dynamic has helped us to give our relations renewed substance and return them to the level of strategic partnership. The results obtained reflect this: our bilateral trade has increased considerably over these last nine months. It has returned now not just to the pre-crisis level, but to the level that it was at before our relations entered the difficult time that we know.

Our meeting today will cover the whole spectrum of relations Ė economic, political and humanitarian ties. The President and I have already had a detailed exchange of views on a number of these issues, perhaps the most important among them. We have just held friendly discussions in a spirit of partnership, examining what are perhaps the most important issues that our countries need to resolve.

We are fully optimistic about the future. Todayís meeting must be accompanied by the necessary new agreements of principal importance for our countries. Many of our companies and facilities continue to work as a single technological whole. We need to keep hold of these competitive advantages and use them fully, especially in the high-technology sectors such as space and rocket technology, the nuclear industry, aircraft manufacturing, and shipbuilding. There are also good opportunities in transport, of course, and also in agriculture and other sectors.

The agreements we have already reached will shape a favourable joint investment climate, but we need to keep moving forward and keep making improvements, develop and enhance the legal base for our relations.

We devoted a lot of attention to cooperation between our regions today. The President and I have had several meetings specifically on this issue. We met with regional representatives and the relevant ministries in April in Kharkov, in September in Glukhov, and in October in Gelendzhik, in Russia. These meetings produced specific agreements, and today, we can look too at how these agreements are being implemented, how easy our citizens are finding it to cross the border between our countries, and also assess the results of the joint instructions that President Yanukovych and I gave.

Many of the issues we need to address call for common approaches in terms of developing an international financial and economic system and ensuring international security. We are ready to work together on looking for ways to establish a common and indivisible security system for the European continent, and are ready too to continue our constructive cooperation within the Commonwealth of Independent States (which will soon hold a summit in Moscow), and within the United Nations and the OSCE, of course. We will also take part in the OSCE summit, which will take place soon, and in meetings within the Council of Europe and other international organisations.

We will examine separately Russian-Ukrainian military and military technical cooperation. We have many years of experience in this sector and are ready to continue our cooperation here and settle all practical matters before us today.

Humanitarian cooperation is an important area too. We are happy with the joint commissionís work. We want to make progress in all areas, including projects related to joint assessment of historical events, and overall, we want to give our work a planned basis.

I want to say frankly that we really have made progress in a whole range of areas now, and this facilitates the work of all present, I hope.

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