Vladimir Putin received the credentials of a number of foreign ambassadors in Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

A total of 17 new heads of diplomatic missions presented their credentials to the President of Russia: Steve Davies Ugbah (Federal Republic of Nigeria), Amjad Odeh Adaileh (Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan), Lesley Akyaa Opoku Ware (Republic of Ghana), Woo Yoon-keun (Republic of Korea), Ihab Ahmed Talaat Nasr (Arab Republic of Egypt), Raed bin Khaled Qrimli (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Jainaba Bah (Republic of The Gambia), Johannes Eigner (Republic of Austria), Maadhad Hareb Al Khaili (United Arab Emirates), Efren Arnoldo Bernal Chevez (Republic of El Salvador), David Maduka (Republic of the Congo), Gerardo Penalver Portal (Republic of Cuba), Ngo Duc Manh (Socialist Republic of Vietnam), Ramiz Basic (Montenegro), Pasquale Terracciano (Republic of Italy), Roger Gnango (Republic of Cote d’Ivoire), and Noukpo Clement Kiki (Republic of Benin).

* * *

The President’s speech at the presentation of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credence

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to welcome you to the presentation of credentials ceremony and congratulate you on the official start of your diplomatic work in Russia.

You are entrusted with a very responsible and important mission – to do everything you can to facilitate the development of ties between the countries you represent and Russia, to enhance the political dialogue for this purpose, to expand trade and economic ties and to promote humanitarian and cultural contacts and exchanges between people.

For our part, we are ready to support your constructive initiatives. You may rely on the assistance of Russian leadership, our government bodies, business circles and the public.

Today, the role of diplomacy and the diplomat has taken on special significance. Indeed, the state of affairs in the world is a cause for concern. The situation in the world is becoming more chaotic, nevertheless we still hope that common sense will eventually prevail, and that international relations will take a constructive course, and the entire world system will become more stable and predictable.

Diplomacy includes a wide field of activity; its hallmark is the development of optimal solutions based on a balance of interests. Diplomats try to facilitate a collegial search for answers to large-scale challenges and threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and climate change.

As for Russia, we will continue to consistently advocate the strengthening of global and regional security and stability and continue to rigorously comply with our international obligations, and build cooperation with our partners in a constructive and respectful manner, guided by international legal standards and the UN Charter. We will promote the world’s positive, forward-looking agenda and work to ensure the sustainable development, prosperity and wellbeing of humankind.

Ladies and gentlemen, today, the heads of 17 diplomatic missions are here. Per tradition, I will say a few words about the interaction with each of the states you represent.

We very much appreciate our relations with Nigeria, an important partner for us on the African continent. We support the further expansion of mutually beneficial Russian-Nigerian ties, including cooperation on hydrocarbon extraction and aluminum production, as well as in the military-technical field.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Jordan. We are satisfied with the positive results achieved in the main areas of interaction. In September 2017, a memorandum on cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and Jordan was signed.

We support the regular and constructive dialogue with King Abdullah II. During our regular talks in February in Moscow, key issues related to the further deepening of bilateral relations, as well as the coordination of joint efforts in the Syrian settlement, were discussed. We appreciate the contribution of our Jordanian partners to the sustainable functioning of the de-escalation zone in southern Syria.

The foundation for the cooperation between Russia and Ghana was laid over 60 years ago. We have accumulated a great deal of experience in working together in both the trade and economic sphere and in politics. Currently, we are developing promising projects in the nuclear and oil industries, and we are discussing the prospects of supplying Ghana with Russian airplanes, helicopters and automobiles.

Friendly relations with the Republic of Korea are being maintained. There are positive dynamics in trade and economic relations. Last year, trade between the two countries grew by more than 27 percent to over $19 billion.

Korean investors are participating in programmes on the accelerated development of Russia’s Far East. We are planning to discuss matters of bilateral cooperation, as well as a range of international issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula, with President Moon Jae-in during his visit to Russia this June.

The strategic partnership with Egypt is being strengthened. In August, our country will mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Cooperation between Russia and Egypt is very active and includes the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt, the establishment of a Russian industrial zone in the Port Said region, and the deepening of military and defence industry cooperation. I would also like to point out that regular flights between the capitals of the two countries have been resumed. We continue to work on resuming the rest of the flights.

In December, fruitful talks with President el-Sisi were held in Cairo. We maintain regular dialogue on a range of topics, including relevant international and regional issues that our countries have close or similar positions on. I heartily congratulated the President of Egypt on his resounding victory at the recent elections.

The state visit by King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which took place last October, gave a significant political impulse to cooperation between our two countries. We are steadily developing mutually beneficial cooperation in various spheres, promoting various joint trade and economic projects, and coordinating our steps in the global hydrocarbons market. Cooperation between the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia is an important factor in ensuring security and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Our ties with the Republic of The Gambia are traditionally constructive. The Russian side is interested in expanding economic cooperation, including by increasing the supply of machinery and agricultural products to the republic. We will continue to expand the practice of training Gambian specialists at Russian universities.

Relations between Russia and Austria have a rich history and are developing in a fruitful and friendly manner. Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s recent working visit to Moscow is evidence of this. Russia appreciates Austria’s policy of permanent neutrality, as well as its balanced position on current issues on the European and global agenda.

June will mark 50 years since our country began supplying natural gas to Austria. At that time, a large-scale energy project that was not subject to fluctuations in the political climate was launched. Its implementation has ensured the reliable export of Russian gas to European states and guarantees their energy security.

Relations with the United Arab Emirates are developing steadily. These relations are multifaceted, including the implementation of joint projects in the space and nuclear industries, agriculture and tourism. Established investment cooperation has particular importance. Moscow and Abu Dhabi maintain a useful dialogue regarding the situation in the Persian Gulf region and the Middle East as a whole.

We are interested in expanding ties with El Salvador. This undoubtedly will be facilitated by the visa-free travel policy between our countries, contacts through foreign-policy and defence departments and inter-parliamentary cooperation. It is important that representatives of Salvadoran business regularly participate in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Taking into account the fact that El Salvador is a member of the UN Security Council in 2018–2019, we will build up contacts on current international issues.

Friendly cooperation is maintained with the Republic of the Congo. Bilateral cooperation covers a number of major projects, including the construction of a 1,334 km oil pipeline. In February Rosatom and the Science Ministry of the Congo signed a memorandum of understanding. Over 7,000 citizens of the Congo have received higher education at Soviet and Russian universities.

The Republic of Cuba is Russia’s long-standing and reliable ally. Our peoples are bound by firm ties of friendship and solidarity and our bilateral cooperation is of a strategic character. We are jointly carrying out large projects in the power industry, metallurgy, transport infrastructure and medicine and are expanding our cultural and humanitarian exchanges.

Today Cuba is conducting a consistent course towards socio-economic renewal. This opens additional opportunities for promoting trade and economic cooperation. Cuba has traditionally enjoyed high international prestige. We are satisfied with the quality of the Russian-Cuban dialogue on foreign policy issues.

Russia and Vietnam are successfully developing a strategic partnership. We maintain active political contacts at high and top levels. We have coordinated our efforts primarily in multilateral organisations in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Vietnam is one of Russia’s leading trade partners. Our trade increased by one-third last year. We also maintain close military and military-technical cooperation. The relevant intergovernmental commission is functioning effectively. In general, our bilateral cooperation is increasing.

The current state of relations between Russia and Montenegro is obviously failing to reflect our centuries-old traditions of fraternal friendship and the sense of community of our peoples. Russia favours the development of mutually beneficial ties with Montenegro.

We attach great importance to cooperation with Italy, one of our key partners on the European continent. We have accumulated considerable experience of working together in various fields. We know that Italian businesses are interested in building up trade and economic ties with our country. Promising projects in aircraft construction, chemical, gas processing and other industries are underway. The Russian side is ready to step up cooperation with Italy on international issues, including as part of its OSCE chairmanship this year.

Cultural exchanges have always been wide-ranging and profound, and have served as a model for many other countries. This year, a large-scale initiative, Russian Seasons, is being implemented in Italy. The programme includes 250 events in various Italian cities.

We mainly interact with the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in the trade and economic sphere. Russia supplies to this country chemical and food products and imports cocoa and its derivatives. As part of our humanitarian efforts, medicine and medical equipment from Russia are regularly sent to the Republic.

Currently, Côte d’Ivoire is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. We also stand ready to work with the Ivorian side at the UN.

Relations with Benin are developing in a constructive spirit. We cooperate on energy and transport. Russia exports food and chemical products. Over 2,500 citizens of Benin have graduated from Russian universities.

Ladies and gentlemen, what I have said only partially reflects the multifaceted nature of relations between Russia and the states you represent. We expect that with your active participation these relations will develop dynamically for the benefit of the peoples of our countries and in the interests of international stability and security.

I am confident that your time in Russia will allow you to better know our country and its rich history and culture, and will leave you with new unforgettable impressions.

I would like to once again wish you success in your difficult, but very important, necessary work and thank you for your attention.

Thank you.

Source: kremlin.ru