On behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, I extend my warm greetings to the participants of the 13th ASEM Summit.
Over the decades, the Asia–Europe Meeting has brought together the two parts of our common Eurasian continent. ASEM’s agenda includes important matters of cooperation in the political, trade, economic, scientific, technological and socio-cultural spheres. This forum makes a significant contribution towards strengthening inter-regional dialogue.
It is especially important at a time when the turbulence in international relations is compounded by major new challenges. One of them is the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed millions of lives, hampered global economic ties and inflicted serious damage on the global economy. All states must pool their efforts in fighting the pandemic and overcoming its consequences. ASEM has a special role to play in this context.
Ensuring a sustainable post-crisis recovery should be our top priority. Russia is ready to take active part in this work, especially since many tasks in achieving economic and social recovery are being successfully accomplished.
By the end of the second quarter of 2021, Russia’s GDP fully recovered and exceeded its pre-crisis level. The jobs market has improved. We see positive dynamics in the investment sphere.
However, the fight against COVID-19 is ongoing. For this fight to succeed, equal access to vaccines must be provided, and barriers to the supply of safe and effective medicines must be removed. ASEM cannot stand aside.
In Russia, systemic measures have been put in place to protect the health of Russian citizens. We have also given help to our neighbours in Eurasia as well as other states in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America in combating the coronavirus.
A number of states launched their mass vaccination campaigns using Russian vaccines. Sputnik V has undergone serious testing, gained trust and been registered in 70 countries. We provide support in launching the production of this vaccine abroad.
Starting from February 2021, the COVID-19 Free Travel mobile app has been used to ensure safe international travel throughout the Eurasian Economic Union. This is another effective tool to combat the spread of the infection. We are ready to share this experience with our ASEM partners.
In an increasingly unstable international environment, fair and constructive engagement between Europe and Asia is needed more than ever. It is in our common interests that the world switches more quickly to balanced and harmonious development.
This requires building pragmatic cooperation based on respect for international law and recognition of the role of the United Nations as the universal regulator of inter-state relations. In this context, we consider it essential that all Member States of the Organisation work together.
Eurasia has the potential to become an example of effective interaction in such a system of coordinates. That is exactly what underpins the initiative by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to create a Greater Eurasian Partnership. Cooperation within effective platforms such as the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will help to build the foundation for a future single Eurasian economic space.
At the same time, it is important to draw on the experience of the UN specialised agencies, in particular those that actively work towards creating a seamless economic, transport and logistics space of the Greater Eurasia.
I am confident that the Asia–Europe Meeting will give further impetus to the continent’s integration processes and help to strengthen the practical cooperation from Lisbon to Canberra and Wellington.
We should use ASEM’s potential in developing such connectivity areas as transport, construction, modernisation of remote areas, digitalisation, education and tourism. These practical tasks are included in the agenda of today’s meeting.
The situation with the spread of the coronavirus has proven that people do not leave others alone with their troubles. A striking example was the active development of volunteer movements. At the most challenging moments of the pandemic, volunteers selflessly offered their help to the sick and the elderly, showing compassion and mutual support.
It is therefore both possible and necessary to actively engage the civil society as a resource in responding to present-day challenges.
I would like to conclude with another topic. Russia has put forward Moscow as a candidate city to host World EXPO 2030.
The capital of Russia is one of the world’s foremost metropolitan cities with a developed infrastructure that meets the highest standards of hospitality, comfort and safety.
Since 1851, Russia has traditionally participated in EXPO exhibitions. However, our country has never hosted this large-scale international event. We think that the time is ripe.
The theme of the Russian exhibition is “Human Progress: Shared Vision for a World of Harmony.” Thus, we would like to call on the international community to focus its efforts on creating a more just and sustainable world order that would inextricably link human well-being with living in harmony with the environment.
We are working to advance our application. We appreciate that some countries have already expressed their willingness to officially support it. Every vote counts.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Cambodian partners and Prime Minister Hun Sen personally for holding this event.
Even though the meeting was postponed twice, we are now able to work remotely thanks to your efforts.
I wish all participants fruitful discussions and successful work.