Interview with Konstantin Kosachev

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Russian Parliament's foreign affairs committee, joined RT to speak on the importance of the APEC summit for Russia.

Russia Today: First of all, what has this summit done for Russia, how has Russia benefited from it?

Konstantin Kosachev: Definitely, it is and it has been a very important summit for Russia, mostly because a formal decision has been made to hold one of the next summits, in the year 2012, in Russia’s city of Vladivostok. That definitely has nation-wide importance for Russia, meaning much for the development of the Eastern Region of our country. Moreover, we are very happy to see that most participants of this summit have now accepted the traditional Russian approach to having discussions here – not just speaking on trade and economy, but broadening the agenda, discussing other issues. This time it was very much about combatting international terrorism, about coming to solutions on the climate change, and other issues which are important not just for Russia, but for all countries of the region.

RT: And one of the issues you have just mentioned is, of course, climate change. How significant is the agreement reached by the APEC leaders and what does it mean for the future of the greenhouse gas emissions and the Kyoto Protocol?

K.K.: Well, it is just the beginning, of course, but a very important beginning because at least three major participants of the APEC summit, namely the U.S., China and Australia, do not participate in the Kyoto process. It means that Russia is somehow representing a different vision of how to approach these problems, being a participant of the Kyoto process, and having very good co-operation on that issue with, for example, the European Union and countries within the G8 group. So the APEC forum may become a very efficient partner for the participants of the Kyoto process. Sooner or later, we will be able to come to a common position on that issue, and this is a very important decision by the summit.

RT: As well as participating in the summit’s agenda, the Russian President has held various bilateral meetings, including the one with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and they did discuss the disputed issue of the Kuril Islands. How much closer are we after all to signing a peace treaty with Japan, and how important was this bilateral meeting?

K.K.: This meeting was definitely very important, though there was no breakthrough, but what is important is that Japan does not any longer practice the approach which was dominating during the early 1990s – first the solution of the territorial issue, and only afterwards any progress in other fields of co-operation. This approach does not exist any longer. The bilateral co-operation between Japan and Russia is developing very fast in various areas, and it is the only pre-condition for any possible solution of the territorial issue. But how will this solution look like? – that is a question for the future, not for this summit.

RT: So, even though there no breakthroughs, is a good foundation laid here in Sydney?

K.K.: Absolutely – both in our relations with Japan and with other important countries like China, South Korea, and of course, the United States. We had a very good summit discussing issues like the anti-missile system deployment in Europe, and I think we do not have any closed doors. The dialogue on this issue will continue and maybe bring some results by the end of this year.