Vladimir Putin held a big press conference for the eleventh time. It was a record number of accredited journalists.
MOSCOW, 17 Dec. Relations with the United States and Turkey, the fight against international terrorism, the situation in Syria and Ukraine – these have become the major foreign policy topics annual press conference of Russian President Vladimir Putin held on Thursday.
This year it lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes, during this time, the head of state answered questions from 47 32 27 journalists from the Russian media and five foreign.
About US: ready for any President
One of the main issues on foreign policy topics related to the prospects of relations between Moscow and Washington in light of the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
“First you need to understand who it will be. But in any case, whoever it was, we are ready and willing to develop its relations with the US and recent visit of US Secretary of state showed, I think, in General, and the American side is ready to move towards joint solutions to the issues that can be solved only together,” Putin said.
He expressed the view that this position of the Russian Federation is sensible and pragmatic.
“They (the U.S. — ed.) are trying all the time to tell us here, what we need to do inside the country, whom to elect and whom not to elect, what are the procedures. We never did that. Do not climb there, and it’s dangerous. There, they say, the Prosecutor, if some of the foreign observers come any closer than five feet to the lineup in the elections, we fear that imprisoned. We don’t do that. We are open and will work with any President who receives the votes of the American people”, — said the President of the Russian Federation.
The Russian President also commented on the statement of the applicant for the US presidency from the Republican party Donald trump’s readiness to a deeper level of relations with the Russian Federation, also calling the Republican “an absolute leader” in the presidential race.
“He says he wants to move to a different level of relations — a more dense, deep — with Russia, how can we not welcome it? Naturally, we welcome that,” he said.
About VKS Russia in Syria: who should, will get
A lot of attention at the press conference was devoted to the situation in Syria and the operations of the Russian aerospace defence forces in this country. Putin said that the timing of the actions depend on ground operations by the Syrian army.
“We will conduct our air strikes and to support offensive strikes of the Syrian army up until the Syrian army conducts these operations,” – said the head of state.
“When we see that the process of convergence has begun, has begun the political process, and the Syrian leadership feels that we need to stop shooting and to start to agree with this point and we’re not going to be more Syrians than the Syrians themselves. Why do we need it?”, he said.
Speaking about the prospects for long-term Russian military presence in Syria, the President has doubted its feasibility. “I don’t know, we need there (in Syria) base or not,” he said.
The President reminded that now the Russian group from Syria if you want you can print in a very short period of time. “Today is the case: there’s our air force, there are temporary modules for power, for recreation. We’ve built it in two days, loaded on aircrafts “Antei” — whew! And all, and on their airfields. And the base is a different story,” said Putin.
At the same time, he did not rule out the possibility of establishing a temporary point of basing of the Russian armed forces in Syria. “This facility can be temporary — maybe. And let there roots, to get into this situation, in my opinion, there is no need,” he said.
According to him, if “someone should get, and so we get”
Assad and about the compromises
Speaking on a political settlement in Syria and the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, Putin reiterated the position that it should define themselves Syrians.
“I have said many times, I want to reiterate: we will never agree that someone, somewhere, will someone impose who should where to lead. That just doesn’t fit in any common sense, nor in international law”, — said the President of the Russian Federation.
According to him, the Syrian conflict can reach a compromise, but both sides need to make concessions.
“We believe that “a” — may “b” — we believe that another way to deal with this situation does not exist. Anyway it’ll have to do sooner or later. And better sooner than later. Less casualties and costs. Less threat, including for Europe, for the United States,” — said Putin.
It is to find a solution that can make all parties in Syria and would seek Russia. “We will do our best to contribute to the resolution of this crisis and will continue to strive for solutions that can be found that suited all the parties, however difficult the situation may seem,” he said.
About oil and terrorists
In General, according to him, many of the difficulties of the Middle East stems not even from the actions of terrorists, and that some are trying to exploit the situation for their business interests.
“You know, I watch, I analyse everything that happened there and is happening. I think that there are ISIL (is prohibited in the Russian Federation the organization — Arabic DISH — ed.) — this is a minor thing,” Putin said.
“I will say now about their own observations. Here at the time we went into Iraq, destroyed the country — good, bad — doesn’t matter. A vacuum has formed. Then came elements associated with oil trading. And this situation has developed over the years. After all, there is established business, smuggling in a huge, industrial scale. Then, in order to protect the smuggling and illegal export, need military strength. Very good use of the Islamic factor, to attract the “cannon fodder” under Islamic slogans, which are actually just playing the game associated with the economic interests”, — said the President of the Russian Federation.
He pointed out in particular that as soon as the Russian space forces began to bomb the oil infrastructure of terrorists in Syria, there is new smuggling routes.
“We started to attack the convoys (smuggled oil — ed.). Now we see that they split up, in the night time move — in 5, 6, 10, 15 cars. But another thread started to go to Iraq, go through Iraq, through Iraqi Kurdistan. In one place, will ask the Ministry of defense that they showed, found 11 thousand trucks in one place. Just a horror,” — said Putin.
New Saudi coalition
In the context of combating terrorism was discussed and the issue of new Islamic military coalition formed in December, Saudi Arabia. It includes 24 countries, the main goal is the counteraction to terrorism, “which became a threat to the interests of the Islamic nation.”
“We don’t think this coalition will be to wear some kind of anti-Russian character. Apart from the States that you mentioned, Turkey, which we also do not consider us a hostile government. She committed a hostile act against our aircraft, but to say that we are to Turkey were perceived as hostile to the state is not so,” said in this regard, Putin.
“We even thought no, that is anti-Russian orientation, the Alliance is created”, — he stressed.
It is even possible that Russia will start a joint operation with the new coalition. “I hope that the Alliance created by the last will act in the stream of common interests, and we will develop common approaches, rules and will establish effective joint action and effective tools,” — said Putin.
Speaking about relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia in General, he stated that the two countries can begin working on shared multi-billion dollar projects in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.
“We are now considering joint projects in the sphere of military-technical cooperation with Saudi Arabia, there is a program — a multibillion-dollar”, — said Putin.
About Turkey: with no prospects
A few questions were devoted to the relations of Russia and Turkey, are experiencing a crisis after November 24, Turkish F-16 shot down in Syria, the Russian bomber su-24. Putin stressed that while improvement is not expected
“On the international level I do not see prospects to improve relations with Turkish leaders, and humanitarian, of course. Although here, of course, there are problems. I think the current Turkish leadership has achieved what even, probably, did not expect”, — said the President
“They committed a hostile act against our aircraft. But to say that we treated Turkey as a hostile state, is not. Relations have deteriorated. Don’t know how we’ll get out of this situation. Anyway, the ball is not on our side, and Turkish,” he said.
He reminded that earlier Russia has shown readiness to cooperate with Turkey on the most sensitive issues for her. “Why’d you have to do (shoot down the su-24 — ed.), I don’t understand why? They thought we were from there (Syria – ed.) run away or something. No, of course, Russia is not the country”, — said the President.
At the same time, he pointed out that Moscow is unknown whether or not the conflict of Russia and Turkey is some kind of third party. “We don’t know. But if someone in the Turkish government decided to lick the Americans in one place, I don’t know whether they did or not. I don’t know whether it is the Americans or not”, — said Putin.
About the Donbas: Russian troops there
Speaking about the situation in Eastern Ukraine, the Russian President has denied allegations that in the Donbass allegedly there is a regular Russian army.
“We never said that there are no people who are dealing with certain issues, including in the military sphere, but this does not mean that there are regular Russian troops. Feel the difference,” he said.
However, he stressed that Russia is interested in the soonest resolution of the conflict in the East of Ukraine and dialogue with Kiev for this purpose. “We hope very much that we will have an open, honest dialogue… Sincerely say, we are not interested in exacerbating the conflict (in the Donbass)”, — said the President.
At the same time, he pointed out that while Kiev is engaged in manipulation during the implementation of paragraphs of the Minsk agreement. “If we want to really solve the problem, let’s stop doing it. Together, let us continue to work in this. And we are ready to negotiate, ready to give arguments to people in the South-East of the country, was found a compromise. We are ready for it, and we want it. Need wanted our partners in Kiev”, — said Putin.
According to the President, the Kiev authorities, in particular, deliberately delay the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements in regard to the law on the special status of governance in the Donbass.
About the exchange of prisoners: all in all
The President asked the question about the exchange of prisoners captured in the Donbas both sides of the conflict, as well as the possibility of exchange of Russian citizens, detained by Kiev, Ukrainka Hope Savchenko or convicted in a Russian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov.
“We must work together with your colleagues calmly to discuss it, to talk and continue what we have always insisted, and that proposed by the President of Ukraine — we need to release people who are held as on the one hand, and on the other hand, particularly for people of Donbass, southeastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian servicemen detained in these areas. But the exchange should be equal”, — said Putin.
He believes that the exchange of prisoners between Kiev and Donbas must be carried out by the formula “all for all”.
“We need to come honestly and say, “Let us change “all in all”. As Petro Poroshenko and offers. All in all, not selectively: these will, these will not. In this respect this approach, and we support him. We have a lot of disagreements with the leadership of Ukraine, and here we have the common position”, — said the Russian President.
About Georgia: ready to abolish visas
Addressing the theme of contact with another uneasy partner of Russia in the CIS – Georgia, Putin declared his readiness to normalize relations. “We think we are ready to cancel visa regime with Georgia”, — said the Russian President.
“We were the initiators of the collapse of relations (with Georgia), but we are ready to restore it,” he added.
Putin also touched on the theme of relations of Tbilisi with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. “As for the territorial integrity of Georgia is, first of all, the case of Georgian people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, it is necessary to work with them, we will accept any decision”, — he stressed.
Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia in response to Moscow’s recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008 after the armed aggression of Tbilisi against Tskhinvali. Representatives of the new Georgian government that came to power after the elections in October 2012, was named one of the top priorities of foreign policy normalization of relations with Russia.
On the flight to Egypt
Answering the question about the possibility of resuming flights to Egypt suspended on 6 November because of the disaster with flying from Sharm El Sheikh to St Petersburg is the Airbus A321, Putin stressed that everything will depend on the security situation.
“With regard to tourism: the solutions that were adopted to limit the flights of our civil aviation in Egypt, they are not associated with distrust of the Egyptian leadership, not political decisions. They are associated with the need to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he said.
“We’re just citizens its say: unfortunately, those services and those supervising agencies, law enforcement agencies are not now able to cope with the menace of terrorism that threatens us both, and Egypt threatens,” — said Putin.
According to him, only Moscow and Cairo will work out a mechanism to ensure security, all restrictions will be lifted. “This work, in principle, with Egyptian partners in progress. To date at each stage of the control we should have representatives from the moment of plane landing until the moment it is loaded,” — said Putin.
The head of state noted that not blames the Egyptian authorities in the tragedy of the A321: terrorism is a “common trouble”, must be fought together.
Critical questions, key statements, photos from the event and video — online-a report from the press conference of Vladimir Putin on ria.ru >>