Speech by President Vladimir Putin at Ceremony for the Presentation of Letters of Credence by Ambassadors of Foreign Countries

September 20, 2005

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Dear Gentlemen!

I am very happy to welcome you to the Kremlin.

The presentation of your letters of credence marks the beginning of your diplomatic postings to Russia. I sincerely hope that your stay here will be interesting, substantial, and fruitful.

The beginning of your postings coincide with a crucial step for the international community's development, the Summit 2005, which just took place in New York. I think that the Summit's main result is the present consensus on the necessity of further strengthening the United Nations' and the Security Council's central and coordinating role.

I am convinced that support for a new collective beginning, namely the refusal to take unilateral decisions and actions, is in the international community's strategic interest.

In the new, 21 st century we are repeatedly convinced of the fact that we can only convincingly answer today's challenges and threats together. This also applies to international terrorism, the most dangerous threat of all.

Terrorists are the opponents of all mankind and all civilization. Certainly, this also means that they are doomed for defeat. Russia, who has been affected by their barbarous crimes more than once, will be the trustworthy ally of all states engaged in an uncompromising war with this evil.

Dear Gentlemen!

You represent countries with which Russia has had both close and multifaceted ties, and which we consider long-term partners when resolving bilateral questions, and when working as a team in international organizations.

During the last few years, relations between Russia and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have become appreciably closer. Based on the spirit of arrangements made during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to Moscow in February 2003, constructive cooperation will continue to develop. I am also extremely satisfied with the results of the meeting with the President of Pakistan which recently took place in New York.

We consider Australia our significant partner in the Asia-Pacific region. In light of the Australian economy's important potential and dynamic growth, we are looking to actively expand cooperation in the economic sphere, in science, and in high-tech.

We value the traditionally friendly ties with the People's Republic of Bangladesh, one of our major partners in Asia. Our countries work productively together, not only on a bilateral level, but also within international forums. This creates a good base for increasing future cooperation.

We greatly value the development of our relations with Malaysia-our friend and reliable and long-term partner in Southeast Asia. Priority tasks include increasing the volume and quality of bilateral trade, and finding new sectors for investments.

We consider Russian-Malaysian relations an integral part of strengthening our ties with the ASEAN states. On that subject, it is symbolic that the first Russia-ASEAN summit will take place in Kuala Lumpur, in December 2005.

Long-lasting friendship and trust have overcome the test of time, and connect Russia and the Kingdom of Nepal. Next year we will take note of the important date marking the 50 th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations. Basing ourselves on our cooperation's best traditions, we are looking to consistently increase the level of cooperation in all areas.

Russia will continue strengthening relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. That fact that your country's leaders share this approach instills confidence in the progressive development of Russian-Iranian cooperation. Our meeting with the President of Iran in New York confirmed that we both aspire to resolve all problems in a constructive spirit, both for the good of our peoples, and in the interests of maintaining international stability and security.

Friendly relations with the Kyrgyz Republic occupy a special place among Russia's priorities in Central Asia, on the territory of the CIS, and in Eurasia as a whole. We aspire to gradually expand the historical ties which exist in multiple fields, and expand Russian-Kyrgyz strategic partnership. During President Kurmanbek Salievich Bakiev's recent visit to Moscow, we planned concrete steps for our further cooperation. I hope to see him in Russia again soon.

We are interested in actively promoting cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the future, we will continue to render all necessary support to the process of Bosnia and Herzegovina's becoming a democratic, multinational state in which the rights of all different ethnic and religious groups are respected.

In conclusion, I would like to once again wish all heads of diplomatic representations successful work in our country.

I am confident that your work will result in even richer bilateral political, economic, cultural, and educational ties between our countries and peoples.

Thank you for your attention.