The President received letters of credence from 17 newly-appointed ambassadors of foreign states. As per tradition, the ceremony took place in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace. Letters of credence were presented to the President of Russia by: Jakob Henningsen (the Kingdom of Denmark), Victor Alfredo Verdun Bitar (the Republic of Paraguay), Robert Kvile (the Kingdom of Norway), Luciano Nkogo Ndong Ayekaba (Equatorial Guinea), Hamoud Salim Abdullah Al Tuwayah (the Sultanate of Oman), Bashar Jaafari (the Syrian Arab Republic), Nenad Kolev (the Republic of North Macedonia), Pengiran Muhammad Husaini bin Alauddin (Brunei Darussalam), Eduardo Villegas Megías (the United Mexican States), Juan Ramon Elvir Salgado (the Republic of Honduras), Ambrose Mutinhiri (the Republic of Zimbabwe), Alkhas Kvitsinia (the Republic of Abkhazia), Lynne Marie Tracy (the United States of America), Qahtan Taha Khalaf al-Janabi (the Republic of Iraq), Pichkhun Panha (the Kingdom of Cambodia), Nyankoya Habu (the Republic of Guinea) and Roland Galharague (the European Union).
Speech at ceremony for presenting letters of credence
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
I warmly welcome all of you at the ceremony for presenting letters of credence here in the Kremlin.
You have been entrusted with an honourable and at the same time responsible mission – to represent your states in Russia. We proceed from the premise that you will be proactively involved in dealing with all kinds of matters relating to political dialogue, trade and economic ties, cultural and humanitarian exchanges, and people-to-people contacts.
The situation in the world is currently challenging, with many disagreements that seem irreconcilable at times and often hinder normal productive cooperation between states. However, I would like to hope that the activity of your embassies will help to foster cooperation between our countries. You may rest assured that all of your initiatives and proposals that are in line with this endeavour will have the support of both Russian officials and our business and public circles.
I would like to emphasise that Russia is open to constructive partnership with all countries without exception. We do not intend to isolate ourselves nor do we have any prejudiced or hostile intentions towards anybody and expect that our partners will adhere to the principles of equality and mutual consideration of interests in their relations with Russia.
The new Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, approved the other day, sets forth these positions. It formulates a system of views on our national interests in the complicated and rapidly changing world and describes the main goals, tasks and key areas of Russian diplomacy.
The main point is that, as an independent state, Russia pursues a multi-vector foreign policy driven by its national priorities and the awareness of its special responsibility for maintaining peace and security at the global and regional levels.
More than a thousand years of independent statehood, rich cultural heritage and the ability to ensure harmonious coexistence of different peoples, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups on one common territory, which has been developed over many centuries, determine Russia’s special position as a unique country-civilization.
Our country will continue performing a historically unique mission aimed at maintaining global balance of power and building a multipolar international system, as well as ensuring conditions for the peaceful progressive development of humanity on the basis of a unifying and constructive agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s ceremony is being attended by the heads of 17 diplomatic missions. By tradition, I will briefly describe the status of relations between Russia and each of the states you represent.
Our official relations with Denmark are 530 years old. At one time, even the reigning families of the two countries were related – Maria Feodorovna, the spouse of Emperor Alexander III, was Danish by origin. In other words, our states have always been historically close to each other and behaved as good neighbours in the Baltic.
Today, the Baltic Sea is literally rough. First, I will mention the acts of sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines in September 2022. Mr Ambassador, we hope Denmark will support our proposals to establish an independent international commission to investigate all the circumstances of these incidents.
Russia’s cooperation with the Republic of Paraguay covers trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other spheres. I must note that people of Russian origin played a major role in Paraguay’s development and its institutional development, including the army. They helped develop education and research in Paraguay. We appreciate the fact that people of Russian origin benefit from favourable treatment in Paraguay when it comes to preserving their ethnic identity and national traditions and to using their native language without any restrictions or impediments.
We have maintained constructive relations with Norway for many years, considering that our two countries share a border. Let me remind you, among other things, that thousands of Soviet soldiers sacrificed their lives to liberate northern Norway from the Nazis in 1944. Today, bilateral contacts have been reduced to a minimum, and interaction on the key international and regional matters has been suspended, including in the Arctic, despite its importance for both countries. This hardly meets the interests of our two peoples.
The Soviet Union was the first country to recognise the Republic of Equatorial Guinea as an independent and sovereign state 55 years ago. Today, our two countries are committed to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in geological exploration, joint hydrocarbon extraction and processing projects, and power generation, as well as in other areas. We maintain effective contact on matters related to the situation in global energy markets, including within the OPEC Plus format as well as within the Gas Exporting Countries Forum.
Russia and Oman have been consistent in developing their relations. During the recent telephone conversation with Sultan Al Said, we discussed in detail topical matters related to the multifaceted ties between Russia and Oman. The relevant Russian agencies and businesses are committed to stepping up efforts to expand bilateral trade and investment ties and undertaking major joint projects, including in agriculture and transport.
Syria is a reliable partner and ally in the Arab world, as well as on the international stage. Russia helped the people of Syria in a time of need to defend their sovereignty and independence in the face of aggression by international terrorists. The recent official visit by President al-Assad took place in an atmosphere of friendship, mutual understanding and mutual respect. We reached important agreements to further expand bilateral cooperation in various spheres.
Russia immediately responded to the devastating earthquake this past February and extended a helping hand to Syria by sending experienced rescue workers and humanitarian aid to this country. We will continue doing everything we can to support our Syrian friends in their efforts to deal with the consequences of this natural disaster. Of course, we will be there to help bring back to normal the political situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and promote post-conflict recovery, as well as establish ties with neighbouring countries.
Our principled policy line in relations with North Macedonia remains unchanged: we stand for the comprehensive development of relations and the resolution of all issues on the bilateral agenda.
Cooperation with the State of Brunei Darussalam, our important partner in the Asia-Pacific, is at a good level today. Much is being done for the successful implementation of joint projects in high-technology, digitalisation of the urban environment and public administration, and personnel training. It is important that bilateral contacts are expanding between Muslim organisations and education institutions. As for international affairs, Mr Ambassador, we are committed to the closest possible cooperation with our Brunei partners as part of ties between Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Russia’s relations with the United Mexican States date back more than 130 years and rely on traditions of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation. We appreciate Mexico City’s balanced approaches to resolving global problems through multilateralism, non-interference, compliance with international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.
I would like to note that Russian-Mexican trade reached US$4 billion last year, which is a good figure among the Latin American countries in trade with Russia. We are interested in further increasing trade, implementing joint projects in energy, pharmaceuticals and agriculture and we are certainly open to expanding scientific, cultural and tourist exchanges. By the way, today is the Mexican Ambassador’s birthday, and I am delighted to wish him good health, prosperity and success.
Honduras is Russia’s important partner in Central America. We will continue the political dialogue with that country, will further expand trade and economic ties and cultural and humanitarian exchanges. We have supported the Honduran side’s initiative to conclude an intergovernmental agreement on the mutual recognition of higher education documents, which will certainly stimulate educational exchanges.
The friendship between Russia and Zimbabwe is time-tested. Our country supports the Zimbabwean people in defending their sovereignty, especially in the light of the sanctions war unleashed against that republic, unprecedented sanctions pressure. Our mutual interests include deepening trade and investment cooperation, developing industrial cooperation, and implementing joint commercial projects in culture and education.
The Republic of Abkhazia is our strategic ally and next-door neighbour. We will celebrate important dates this year – the 15th anniversary of Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia’s independence, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. Russia will continue fulfilling its commitments on the comprehensive socioeconomic development of Abkhazia.
Unfortunately, relations between Russia and the United States, which directly affect global security and stability, are going through a deep crisis. It is rooted in fundamentally different approaches to the formation of the modern world order.
Madam Ambassador, I do not wish to upset the positive atmosphere of the ceremony for presenting the letters of credence and I know that you probably won’t share my opinion, but I must say that the use by the US of such foreign policy tools as support for the so-called colour revolutions, including support for the state coup in Ukraine in 2014, ultimately led to the current crisis in Ukraine and exacerbated the deterioration of Russia-US relations.
But we have always supported the development of Russia-US relations exclusively on the principles of equality, mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and interests, and non-interference in internal affairs. We will continue following these principles in the future as well.
Next year will mark 80 years since the establishment of official diplomatic relations with Iraq. Our bilateral cooperation stands out for its rich experience of mutually beneficial joint projects in different areas, including the oil-and-gas sector. I would like to note that our trade has been steadily growing in the past two years. Now our common goal is to keep up the momentum in mutual trade, in part, by diversifying our economic cooperation. Russia is consistently advocating unconditional respect for Iraq’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Mr Ambassador, we are categorically against any foreign interference in the domestic affairs of your country.
We are interested in further developing our constructive cooperation with Cambodia, including in defence and security, trade, tourism and ICT. We have frequent political contacts. Last year, the Foreign Minister and the Secretary of the Russian Security Council visited the Kingdom. Cambodian representatives regularly attend forums on pressing international and regional issues held in Russia. Over 8,000 Cambodians received higher education in our country. Cambodian students continue to study in Russian universities today and believe that this education is in demand in your country, Mr Ambassador.
Russian-Guinean ties are traditionally friendly. Russia is a major investor in the economy of this republic. Our companies have for a long time, and successfully, engaged in mining and processing minerals in Guinea, and we are grateful for the favourable conditions provided for this work. Russian specialists are helping the Guineans fight the Ebola virus and many other infectious diseases, providing humanitarian aid, medical equipment and vaccines. Guinea is going through a difficult stage of internal political development, and we wish the Guinean people a speedy stabilisation of the situation in accordance with the constitution.
In the presence of the distinguished ambassadors of Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe and the Republic of Guinea, I would like to note that the second Russia-Africa summit will be held in St Petersburg in July. We are making major efforts to get ready for this important event and drafting a rich and substantial agenda for the summit and the economic and humanitarian forum that will be held alongside it. We will be happy to see the leaders of all African countries in St Petersburg, including the heads of regional organisations.
The head of the EU delegation here probably shares the opinion that, to our great regret, relations between this association and Russia have deteriorated greatly in recent years. We see the reason for that in the fact that having abandoned its main and original mission and function of promoting economic cooperation and integration in Europe, the EU has initiated a geopolitical confrontation with Russia. It did initiate a confrontation with our country.
I would like to express hope that the actions that damaged our relations can remain in the past, and we will do everything we can to build relations in the proper way that is suitable both for Russia and the economies of the EU member countries. We hope that the logic of mutual cooperation will eventually prevail.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In closing, despite everything that is happening around the world, in Russia, around our countries and our country, I would like to once again sincerely wish you success in your important mission. I hope that working in Russia will be interesting for you from the professional point of view and will allow you to get to know our country better, to get to know its history and culture more deeply and that your efforts will help overcome the challenges that the whole world, including our countries, is facing. In this sense, I wish you every success.
Thank you for your attention.
Unfortunately, this ends our ceremony, because sanitary restrictions remain in effect, and we will not be able to communicate in person, but I am confident that you will have many such opportunities in the course of your work.
All the best. Thank you.