Putin promises Mongolia hundreds of millions in investments and free weapons

Russia-Mongolia relations have reached a new level of comprehensive strategic partnership, said Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of an official visit to Ulaanbaatar.

After talks with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga and Gombojavyn Zandanshatar, Chairperson of the State Great Khural, Putin commented on the longstanding tradition of friendship and mutual profit, thanked Mongolia for helping to defeat fascism, and remarked that Moscow and Ulaanbaatar are in agreement on “most key issues”.

“We spoke in detail about prospective defense, military technology and anti-terrorist cooperation between our countries,” said Putin at a press conference in the Government Palace, adding that such cooperation would be important for security in Asia.

The TASS news agency reported that during the visit, the leaders signed 10 interdepartmental documents, including the indefinite Treaty on Friendly Relations and Intergovernmental Protocol on Gratuitous Military-Technological Assistance to Mongolia, which serves to renew an agreement signed in March 2004.

Joint Russian-Mongolian military exercises were conducted in Mongolia in August. “We will definitely continue this practice,” promised Putin.

Alongside the military collaboration, Russia will expand its economic ties with Mongolia in order to bring reciprocal trade back to its peak levels from 2012, the Russian President said. Prospective joint projects will include the development of infrastructure, energy, and the search for natural resources in the country.

According to Putin, Russian Railways is “prepared to help our Mongolian partners to modernize routes, upgrade the locomotive fleet, and build new transport routes”. He also said that the Russian nuclear energy company ROSATOM is considering establishing a nuclear science center in Mongolia. RosGeologia and the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Authority of Mongolia will also jointly prospect for resources. Furthermore, the Russian Post has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Mongol Post.

The projects will be financed by the Russian-Mongolian Investment Cooperation Fund, which the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RFPI) signed an agreement to create on Tuesday.

Currently Russia is investing “literally tens of millions of dollars per year” in Mongolia, said RFPI head Kirill Dmitriev, “But we believe that it could reach hundreds of millions of dollars per year.”

“The fund’s capital investments will be made primarily in the national currencies,” clarified Putin.

In 2016, Putin wrote off a $174.2 million debt that Mongolia owed Moscow through an intergovernmental loan and was overdue at the time.

“The fact that Mongolia had unresolved financial obligations to Russia was a deterrent to the development of bilateral investment cooperation,” explained the decree on the write-off.

(C) UAWIRE 2019

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