T. Brenton, W. Schmidt, C. Westdahl, W. Burns, N. Issei. Russia's G8 presidency
T. Brenton, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
We welcome the fact that Russia will be presiding over the G8 for the first time. It is positive that Russia has already done so much to ensure a successful presidency. The United Kingdom worked closely with Russia during our own G8 presidency, and is ready to continue this close cooperation during 2006 to ensure a successful Russian presidency.
Russia's priorities for the year to come have been declared as energy security, infectious disease, and education. We support this approach, with the agenda being concentrated on a small number of issues, and welcome the choice of themes. These really are problems that concern all nations, and, importantly, they continue into the future. We are ready to work with Russia on these priority themes whilst continuing to realise obligations already undertaken by the G8, including those relating to such problems as Africa and climate change.
W. Schmidt, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany
Russia joined the G8 in 1996. This was extremely important for Germany, as it opened up the opportunity for cooperation with other partners to assist in Russia's political and economic integration into the changing world order. This collaboration has proved its worth. In the coming year, Russia will host its first summit. This shows how far we have already come along the road of integration. Russia's aim to become a WTO member, its closer economic links with Europe and other industrially developed countries in other parts of the world, and our strategic partnership in the energy sector all show that Russia has found its place in the circle of the world's most significant industrial countries, and that this community would be inconceivable without Russia.
The process of agreement within the G8 has long gone beyond the bounds of economic cooperation. Russia is an indispensable partner with regard to combating international terrorism, global protection of the environment and, for example, combating epidemics. The same can be said with regard to our joint efforts to achieve stability in conflict and crisis zones. Under the G8's Global Partnership programme, Germany assists Russia in recycling of its chemical weapons reserves. Lastly, an important task for us is cooperation with Russia in such areas as defence of human rights, democratisation and maintenance of the rule of law, which we consider to be a necessary development area for long-term preservation of global security.
In 2006 we will come to a firm agreement with each other on all issues examined under the G8 forum. Russia has declared that during its 2006 G8 presidency it intends to concentrate particularly on integrated issues of energy supplies in the future. We welcome these plans. Russia, as a supplier, plays a massive role for us.
Russia's G8 presidency in 2006 will be followed in 2007 by that of Germany. This particularly necessitates collaborated approaches and longer-term project planning.
C. Westdahl, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada.
Russia's G8 presidency is simultaneously a historic event and a clear acknowledgement of the role that it can and must play in advancement of global economic and political agenda issues. In the 1990s, Canada was a key supporter of Russian participation in the G8. We will aim for cooperation with your government, civil society and business during the period of the Russian presidency.
Russia has already begun formation of its vision of issues for the G8 in 2006, with emphasis on three themes: energy security, education and infectious diseases. We work together on an intermutual basis with regard to these issues. We have experience of solving the problems identified by Russia. For example, Canada and Russia are the only two G8 members which are net exporters of energy. And both of us would want any agreement on security and stability of energy deliveries to cover not only consumers, but also suppliers, including for the long term. Canada and Russia have recently been threatened by bird flu. This and other infectious diseases, poses a threat to all countries in the world. Recognising the potential danger of a global flu pandemic, not so long ago Canada held a health ministers' meeting dedicated to this problem. As our prime minister Paul Martin stated in his opening remarks, “An unprecedented task of emergency preparedness and response is called for”. Russia has decided to put this task on the G8 agenda, evidently agreeing with the statement of our prime minister that “our mutual health, our security and our prosperity depend on us meeting this challenge together”.
Moving on, Canada has developed a world-class education system. Several years ago we succeeded in connecting all schools in our vast country to the internet. Communication remains one of the most important aspects of Canada's achievements in the sphere of modern high technology, and thanks to it our country has been able to develop a system of long-distance education, the best in the world today. And we are ready to share this experience with our G8 partners.
W. Burns, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America.
The United States actively supported Russian participation in the G8, and we are glad that this summer Russia has the opportunity to host the G8 for the first time since joining as a full participant. As we expected, Russia has proposed a substantial agenda for this meeting. By all appearances, energy security issues will be the cornerstone of the coming summit. This is a timely theme for both the G8 and for the global community as a whole, and it gives Russia the opportunity to show its potential and also demonstrate its leading role in global energy through use of a transparent, regulated approach to investment. The G8 summit also represents a convenient means of cooperation in the field of education and combating infectious diseases. These are two different themes for the summit, as chosen by Russia. Our countries can achieve much by uniting our efforts in the sphere of health. For example, the USA welcomes Russia's participation in the new global effort against bird flu, and is ready to work more closely with Russia in combating HIV and AIDS. Use of Russia's first-class scientific and research work to combat this threat represents a win-win scenario for the world as a whole.
N. Issei, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan
Japan and Russia, as G8 summit participants, are important partners, responsible for the peace and prosperity of the global community, and work together actively in the world arena. This year, Russia will preside over its first G8 summit. As Prime Minister Koizumi said at the recent high-level meeting between Russia and Japan, Japan intends to provide Russia with all possible support to make this event a success.
As far as I am aware, the agenda for the G8 summit this year, besides such traditional themes as combating terrorism and nuclear weapons non-proliferation, will include such issues as energy security, education and infectious diseases. Japan welcomes Russia's position and its aim to work actively on these themes.
Specifically, the issue of energy security, which President Putin has named as one of the key themes of the summit, is an important and timely issue for both the G8 countries and for the entire international community. We hope that constructive discussions will take place on a wide range of energy-related themes, including relations between supplier countries and consumer countries, issues of energy conservation and effective energy use, and development of alternative energy sources through use of new technologies. Personally speaking, the problem of energy security is of particular interest for Japan. We hope that discussion and work on this issue will take place not only with regard to Europe, but also the Asia-Pacific region.
We hope that at the 2006 G8 summit, Russia, which straddles Europe and Asia, will play a leading role in discussion of the various tasks facing the international community from a global point of view, taking Asia-Pacific interests fully into account.
'Rossiyskaya Federatsia Sevodnya' (The Russian Federation Today) magazine, issue 24, December 2005.
Unofficial translation from Russian