Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mongolian president hopes Putin’s visit to boost bilateral strategic ties

ULAN BATOR, September 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj said his country wants to boost further its strategic relations with Russia and was looking forward for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Mongolia, scheduled for September 3.

“Mongolia is one of the countries, which enjoy relations with Russia at a level of strategic partnership,” Elbegdorj said in an exclusive interview with ITAR-TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman. “We want to develop it [partnership] further.”

“We currently need to keep developing our infrastructure, transit capabilities, railways,” the Mongolian president said. “We also need to keep developing relations between the peoples and industries.”

According to Elbegdorj, people of Mongolia support the country’s course toward strengthening bilateral relations with Russia.

“We are old and reliable friends. Sometimes we ask people which country they want their country to have closer relations with. Sixty percent of the answers are Russia,” Elbegdorj said adding that despite that the society and generations change “both middle aged and young people keep leaning toward Russia and the Russian people and our old and kind friendship.”

“Such basis can be used for enormous development,” Elbegdorj said.

The president of Mongolia also said that the people of his country pin great expectations on Russian President Putin’s visit to their country.

“The economy of Mongolia is currently, we may say, in the sleeping mode and we need to wake it up. I believe that together with President Putin we will wake it up. The president of Russia is a man of his word. If he said he signed it, then it will be implemented. I am absolutely positive about it,” Elbegdorj said.

“Probably, it [the visit] will give a historic boost,” the Mongolian president added.

This will be Putin’s third official visit to Mongolia on Wednesday. He first paid an official visit to this country in 2000 in the rank of the president of Russia and nine years later he traveled to Mongolia again, but in the capacity of the Russian prime minister.

Commenting earlier on Putin’s visit to Mongolia and the Russian-Mongolian bilateral relations, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov told journalists that Moscow had been recently unhappy about the level of economic cooperation between Russia and Mongolia and the situation needed changes.

“Cooperation in trade and economic sphere had been recently developing very calmly, even with some negative tendency although Russia remains second largest trade partner for Mongolia after China,” Ushakov said.

According to the Russian presidential aide, the mutual trade had been recently on decline dropping by 16% to $1.6 billion in 2013 against the previous year and by 13% in the first half of this year against the same period in 2013. Moscow believes the negative dynamics is connected with the decrease in the deliveries of oil products, machinery and equipment, he said.

“We expect active discussions on the current state of affairs and expect the presidents to issue orders to the governments [of Russia and Mongolia] to work out the so-called Road Map on the development and diversification of cooperation,” Ushakov told journalists.

The issue of transportation, he said, was one of the priority issues for the cooperation development.

Ushakov said that during Putin’s visit a deal on the strategic partnership and modernization of the Ulan Bator Railway was expected to be signed between the Russian Railways company and the Mongolian Road and Transportation Ministry.

Russia is also expected to discuss with Mongolia deliveries of Russian GAZ, Ural and PAZ trucks and buses.

Energy sector, Ushakov said, was another important issue for bilateral talks, adding that in all, 13 documents were expected to be signed during the visit of Putin and the Russian delegation.

The Russian delegation, led by Putin, includes Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister and presidential envoy to the Russian Far East Yury Trutnev, Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka, Natural Resources and Ecology Minister Sergei Donskoi, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, Construction, Housing and Public Utilities Minister Mikhail Men, Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov.

Ushakov said Putin and Elbegdorj would also discuss humanitarian cooperation and “key international issues,” which would include “important issues on the agenda of the upcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO] scheduled for September 11-12 in Dushanbe.

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