2/16/2009

Presidents of Russia, Turkey adopt strategic declaration

RIA Novosti - The presidents of Russia and Turkey adopted a joint declaration, following talks in Moscow on Friday to promote ties and enhance bilateral friendship and partnership. "This is a strategic document laying out the achievements of bilateral cooperation and setting tasks for enhancing it further", a source in the Kremlin said earlier. Taking into account the leading role of private businesses in bilateral trade, Russia and Turkey agreed "to facilitate and speed up business contacts and visa procedures for businessmen". Abdullah Gul, the Turkish President, said annual bilateral trade, which exceeded USD 30 billion last year, could soon grow to USD 50 billion. "We could push the bilateral trade index to the level of USD 40 to 50 billion in near future, in the interests of our nations" Gul said. Moscow and Ankara agreed that energy is a strategic sphere in bilateral cooperation that has potential for growth. Turkey receives about 65 percent of its gas from Russia, which is pumped via Ukraine and the Blue Stream pipeline that passes directly through Russia and Turkey under the Black Sea. Sergei Shmatko, the Russian Minister of Energy, told reporters on Friday that Russia could sign an energy contract worth more than USD 60 billion with Turkey on the construction of a nuclear power plant and power supplies to the country for the next 15 years. He said four reactors for a potential nuclear plant in Turkey could cost USD 18 billion-USD 20 billion. At the conclusion of the talks, the Turkish president invited his Russian counterpart to make a return trip to Turkey. "I believe my current visit will open up a new page in the history of the Russian-Turkish ties", said Gul.

ENGLISH