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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 18, 2014 8:00pm-10:01pm EST

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de blasio. he does not want choice in schools. he does not think we need a police force in new york city. he routinely throws them under the bus and refuses to defend them. i think all these issues are related and they are social issues. i do not see what -- the democratic party has been socially very conservative. the democrats used to have white, working, males and females but males particularly, manufacturers. they've all left the democratic party because there is no discussion of values which i think matter a lot.
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they migrated to the republican party. the gop does not talk enough about this either. >> to your point about social issues or economic issues and the democratic party does not talk about those issues anymore. let's talk about life. i am pro-life but if you want to talk about economics, you will find there are a lot of people in the african-american community who understand their community has been devastated by abortion. if you want to talk about the worry and some states about demographics working against us because we have an aging population and you think about the number of lives that have been ended in this country through abortion, that is an economic issue. we are not going to all agree on
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all aspects of abortion in this country. even on that issue that people tend to shy away from, there is common ground. on this issue, it is the democratic party that has become extreme. i get asked all the time, how can you support the republican party platform on abortion? i say how can you support the democratic party platform? what it says at any abortion for any reason at any point in a woman's pregnancy, including now in new york, a non-doctor could perform an abortion up to nine months. that is extreme. it is inhumane. it is also bad economic policy. >> pitino's, african-americans, asians. you are dead right. we have a population decline.
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our growth rate in the population is slowing down. >> it is slowing. older countries with the client populations tend to be less innovative. -- with declining populations tend to be less innovative. i think the marriage message, when at the same time you're saying i would like to cut the minimum wage and medicaid and not have something to supplant them with is going to be an ineffective message. >> i have not said any of that. >> not you personally. republicans want to cut the itc. they do not have a good idea of what to do to replace it. >> conservatives must offer solutions. i believe we have a lot of solutions. my point is, we have to communicate those solutions in the context of people's lives. not in abstract terms but in the context of people's lives.
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>> i guess we're going to wrap up. one of my other beefs about the current environment is there is too much pessimism. a psychology of pessimism in this country that drives me crazy. i am a reagan guy and i learned from him about the ballot -- the value and truth of optimism. i've had my ups and downs. i think if you believe in a higher power, you have to be an optimist. i think we need more of that in this country. my final thought is, we need positive agendas. progrowth, positive agendas. that is the gop. i am writing about the last democrat who did and that is john f. kennedy.
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my point is, optimism, lifting up rather than tearing down, i believe america is the greatest country in the world. there is no reason why a candidate for president in either party cannot say, here are the problems, but, here are the solutions. and we can do this and actually do it in a fairly short period of time. i learned that from reagan. thank you for your time. average foundation, thank you for your sponsorship. -- heritage foundation, thank you for your sponsorship. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] russian president vladimir putin's year in the conference and the cia interrogations. later, an interview with warmer
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acting cia director john mclaughlin. a headline on the huffington post, from blame game to half confessions. this is not just a pr problem but a liability for leaders around the globe because about a quarter of the world countries were involved in making that happen. debate on the senate report from european parliament coming up at 9:40 p.m. eastern time here on c-span . "the washington post" reporting president who are predicting an economic victory but warning of the west about pressuring the russian bear. he blamed russia's problems on the west end targeting moscow trying to limit its influence. we will take a look at a 90 minute portion of his press conference coming to us or to see of russia today.
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>> good afternoon, colleagues. i am very happy to see you in high spirits. as we did last time, i will begin by briefing you on the work done during the year and then i will try to answer your questions. first the most important thing: the economic performance. in the first 10 months of this year, the gross domestic product grew by 0.7%, and the final figure may be around 0.6%. my colleagues and i met yesterday to finalize the
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figures. the trade surplus grew by $13.3 billion to reach $148.4 billion. industrial production picked up some speed after last year's lull. in the first 10 months of the year, it went up by 1.7%. unemployment is also low: at times, it dropped to below 5%, and now it is around 5%, possibly 5.1%. the agro-industrial complex is developing. i believe that by the end of the year growth there will amount to 3.3%. as you may know, this year we
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had a record crop of 104 million tons. despite the turbulent situation on the financial market, the federal budget this year will show a surplus. in other words, revenue will exceed expenses by 1.2 trillion rubles, which is about 1.9% of the gdp. the finance ministry is still working on the final calculations, but the surplus is definite. the main achievement of the year in the social sphere is of course the positive demographics. natural population growth in the first 10 months of the year was 37,100 people. the death rate is going down in
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this country, while the birth rate is increasing. this is a very good trend and we must make every effort to maintain it. as promised, we continued adjusting the maternity capital. in 2014 it amounted to 429,408.5 rubles. we have met and exceeded the targets set for this year for salary rates for ten workforce categories. i am sure you know what i am talking about. first of all, these are teachers at schools and institutions providing supplementary education, counselors, university faculty members, medical doctors, paramedics and nurses, and employees of cultural institutions. in 2014, we adjusted pensions to
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inflation twice: by 6.5% on february 1 and by an additional 1.7% on april 1. we gave significant attention this year to enhancing the combat capability and efficiency of the armed forces. i will not go into detail here. i would only like to mention the social sphere. in 2014, 11,700 defense ministry servicemen received permanent housing and 15,300 received service housing. this is 100% of the year's target figures. these are the numbers i wanted to begin with. now a few words regarding the current situation.
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i believe we all know that the main issue of concern to this country's citizens is the state of the economy, the national currency and how all this could influence developments in the social sphere. i will try to briefly describe this situation and say how i expect it to develop. basically, that is where we could end this news conference. however, if you have any further questions i will try to answer them. the current situation was obviously provoked primarily by external factors. however, we proceed from the view that we have failed to achieve many of the things that were planned and that needed to be done to diversify the economy
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over the past 20 years. this was not easy, if at all possible, given the foreign economic situation, which was favorable in the sense that businesses were investing into areas that guaranteed maximum and fast profits. this mechanism is not easy to change. now, as you may know, the situation has changed under the influence of certain foreign economic factors, primarily the price of energy resources, of oil and consequently of gas as well. i believe the government and the central bank are taking appropriate measures in this
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situation. we could question the timeliness or the quality of the measures taken by the government and the central bank, but generally, they are acting adequately and moving in the right direction. i hope that yesterday's and today's drop in the foreign currency exchange rate and growth of our national currency, the ruble, will continue. is this possible? it is. could oil prices continue falling and would this influence our national currency and consequently all the other economic indexes, including inflation? yes, this is possible. what do we intend to do about this? we intend to use the measures we applied, and rather successfully, back in 2008. in this case, we will need to focus on assistance to those people who really need it and on
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retaining this is something i would like to highlight retaining all our social targets and plans. this primarily concerns pensions and public sector salaries, and so forth. clearly, we would have to adjust our plans in case of any unfavorable developments. we would certainly be forced to make some cuts. however, it is equally certain and i would like to stress this that there will be what experts call a positive rebound. further growth and a resolution of this situation are inevitable for at least two reasons. one is that the global economy will continue to grow, the rates may be lower, but the positive trend is sure to continue. the economy will grow, and our economy will come out of this situation. how long will this take? in a worst-case scenario, i
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believe it would take a couple of years. i repeat: after that, growth is inevitable, due to a changing foreign economic situation among other things. a growing world economy will require additional energy resources. however, by that time i have no doubt that we will be able to do a great deal to diversify our economy, because life itself will force us to do it. there is no other way we could function. therefore, overall, i repeat, we will undoubtedly comply with all our social commitments using the existing reserves. fortunately, this year they have even grown. i would like to remind you that central bank reserves amount to $419 billion. the central bank does not intend to 'burn' them all senselessly,
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which is right. the government reserve, the national wealth fund, the reserve fund have grown this year by about 2.4-2.5 trillion rubles to a total 8.4 trillion rubles. with these reserves i am certain we can work calmly to resolve our main social issues and to diversify the economy; and i will repeat that inevitably the situation will return to normal. i would like to end my introductory remarks here. as i have said, we could end the whole news conference here, but if you do have any questions, i am ready to answer them. >> this year i would like to begin with those who have been working with the president throughout the year -- the kremlin press pool. first i would like to give the floor to the dean of the kremlin press pool vyacheslav terekhov, who has been working with mr. putin for many years and who travels to all the remote parts
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of the world and all the cities and towns of this country. mr. terekhov, please. >> this is what they call nepotism. >> but i've got an interesting job. there is something i would like to clarify, mr. president. judging by the situation in the country, we are in the midst of a deep currency crisis, one that even central bank employees say they could not have foreseen in their worst nightmares. do you believe that things will get better in two years, as you mentioned, and we will recover from this financial and economic crisis? criticism was piled on the government and the central bank for the ruble's black monday and tuesday. do you agree with this criticism? thank you. >> i said that given the most unfavorable foreign economic situation this could last for about two years. however, it may not last that
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long and the situation could take a turn for the better sooner. it could improve in the first or second quarter of next year, by the middle of next year, or by its end. nobody can tell. there are many uncertain factors. therefore, you could call it a crisis or something else, you can decide which word to use. however, i believe i made it quite clear that the central bank and the government are generally taking appropriate measures in this situation. i believe some things could have been done sooner, and this is actually what the expert community are criticizing them for. what does the job involve, in my
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view? and what are the central bank and the government actually doing? first, as you may know, they raised the key interest rate. i hope the rate will remain for the duration of these complicated developments connected with the foreign economic situation, and the economy will adjust one way or another. what is the basis for my optimism? the idea that the economy is bound to adjust to life and work in conditions of low prices on energy resources. this will become a fact of life. how soon will the economy adapt if the prices remain at the current level or even go below 60 [usd/barrel], 40, or whatever? for us it could be any figure, the economy would simply have to get structured.
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how fast will this happen? this is hard to say. but it is inevitable. i would like to highlight this. this will be a fact of life. what is the central bank doing? they have raised the key interest rate. what else do they need to do? and what are they already doing? to stabilize the national currency they need to somewhat limit ruble liquidity and give economic entities access to foreign currency liquidity. this is exactly what the bank is doing. their foreign currency interest rate is quite low 0.5. overall, i think it is up to the central bank to decide whether to reduce the interest rate or not, they should see and react accordingly. they should not hand out our gold and foreign currency reserves or burn them on the market, but provide lending
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resources. and they are doing this as well. the so-called repo is a well-known instrument here. they can be offered for a day, a week, 28 days, almost a month, or for a year. this is money that is returned, but it gives economic entities the opportunity to make use of the foreign currency. everything is being done right. they should probably move at least half a pace faster. of course, i see the criticism leveled at the central bank and its governor. some of it is justified, some is not. the government should also bear responsibility. they should work with exporters who have sufficiently high foreign currency revenues. the prime minister met with heads of our major companies and we can see some results.
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many of them have to return their loans and think of the condition their companies are in. every company, just like every individual, tries to save 'for a rainy day'. is such behavior economically justified? in terms of economic logic, it is not. nevertheless, companies do it, and we now see a certain result, the 'rebound' is happening. the government should be taking other measures as well. what do i mean? for instance, combating inflation is of course the central bank's job. however, there are things that we have mentioned already, things i spoke of in public during our meetings with the government. for instance, the prices of petrol and food are something
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they should work on. moreover, the current situation, whatever anyone says, requires a 'hands on' approach. they have to meet with producers, those who are on the market, with retailers and with the oil companies that have significantly monopolized the market. the federal antimonopoly service should function properly. these actions have to be joint and reasonable, though without any violation of the individual competence of, say, the central bank or the government. nevertheless, they should coordinate their actions, and do so in a timely fashion. therefore, they can criticize nabiullina all they like, but one should bear in mind that overall their policy is right. the central bank is not the only one responsible for the economic situation in the country. >> another presidential press pool old-timer, alexander gamov of the komsomolskaya pravda. is there anything you would like
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to ask? >> first, i have something to say. mr. president, i believe many people were looking forward to seeing you here at this news conference. many were trying to predict your mood, because this would largely set the mood for the entire country. you are here, and you already smiled several times, so thank you for your optimism. we hope everything will happen just the way you said it would. over to my questions. since 2008, we have been talking about the need to get rid of our oil addiction and restructure our economy to make it more efficient. however, the developments of the past few days have shown that we did not manage to achieve this. we are still addicted, and nobody knows how long this will last.
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could you say openly what you personally think will we be able to use this crisis for to our advantage, lose our addiction and rebuild the economy? i realize that this would take time. and my second point. in your address to the federal assembly, you named, to the welcoming applause of the country and the business community, a whole list of concessions that have long been suggesting themselves. however, there is the danger in russia, as you well know, that all important and useful resolutions, including presidential ones, get lost in the excessive red tape and general slack. are you confident that this time you statements, your resolutions will be implemented and your optimism will be supported with real action? >> as we all know, only an
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insurance policy can give you confidence. the main insurance for us here is the right macroeconomic policy and reserve funds for resolving social issues. this is the kind of insurance policy that would give us confidence. as for excessive red tape, i can say this. there must be some people from the european union here. if you ask them about red tape in brussels, they will tell you all about it. our bureaucracy is child's play compared to theirs. the problem does exist, however, and it is not about red tape. do you know what it is? i said at the very start that i would say a few things and we might as well end the news conference.
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it looks like that was no joke. this is not about decisions getting bogged down in red tape. it is about the foreign economic situation forcing economic entities to invest, say, in energy resources, the chemical industry or metals. so regardless of all the government's attempts to fine-tune the instruments of taxation and benefits for businesses that are not involved with raw materials, this is a very complicated process, because the budget does not usually have the required funds. we have been using all these instruments for several years already. we are trying to create more favorable conditions for the development of production, but it is moving forward with difficulty. especially when one can make large profits by investing in energy resources. at least 80% of all applications to the government (believe me, have to do with getting access to some field rather than investing in some high technology area. why is this? because the returns there are fast and big.
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i am coming to your question. if the situation changes, then life itself will force us to invest in other industries. and this gives me optimism, strange as it might seem. true, in some ways it would be more difficult. true, we would have to resolve social issues at any cost and meet the targets set in the social section of the 2012 presidential executive orders. can we do it? yes, we can. however, at the same time we need to make use of the current situation to create additional conditions for developing production and economic diversification. i hope that the current state of affairs will make this possible. >> can you please make your questions shorter?
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>> mr. president, in early 2012 in one of your pre-election articles that were later documented as executive orders of may 2012, as we all know, while describing the situation at the time you quoted alexander different perspectives, and i see you and your colleagues keep raising the same issue.
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we must work, and the external conditions are forcing us to become more efficient and to shift to innovative development. what does the future of our economy require? we have to create favorable conditions for business, to ensure freedom of entrepreneurship, we need to guarantee ownership rights, to stop using law enforcement agencies to chase those we do not like and use those instruments for competition. we need more benefits for production facilities; we need to develop those regions of the russian federation that require special attention, like the far east.
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are we doing this? we are. however, in my address i spoke of an entire program of action. i am referring here to 4-year tax holidays, to 3-year inspection holidays for those companies that have no record of any serious violations, to benefits for small businesses. we must carry on with the concentration and support it with real efforts. >> mr. president, we recently marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall. you witnessed the event when you were still working in the german democratic republic. a lot has been achieved, perhaps not exactly what we hoped for, and we had great hopes, but there have been certain
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achievements. it was thanks to your persistence that russia was once close to a visa-free travel agreement with europe. in this anniversary year, a new wall appeared within a matter of weeks. it is not made of concrete, but it is no less obvious, a wall of alienation, suspicion, mutual mistrust and mutual reproaches. where can this cooling lead us? some go as far as speaking of the beginning of a new cold war. will we be living in a divided world or is there any possibility to resume dialogue and cooperation? >> you just said the berlin wall fell, but some new walls are being put up now. i will respond, and i hope you will agree with me. it is not now that this happened. you are an expert on germany and on europe. didn't they tell us after the fall of the berlin wall that nato would not expand eastwards? however, the expansion started immediately. there were two waves of expansion. is that not a wall? true, it is a virtual wall, but it was coming up.
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what about the anti-missile defense system next to our borders? is that not a wall? you see, nobody has ever stopped. this is the main issue of current international relations. our partners never stopped. they decided they were the winners, they were an empire, while all the others were their vassals, and they needed to put the squeeze on them. i said the same in my address to the federal assembly. this is the problem. they never stopped building walls, despite all our attempts at working together without any dividing lines in europe and the world at large. i believe that our tough stand on certain critical situations, including that in the ukraine, should send a message to our partners that the best thing to do is to stop building walls and to start building a common humanitarian space of security
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and economic freedom. since i have mentioned ukraine, i have to give the floor to our colleagues from ukraine. go ahead, please. >> i have two short questions, if i may. >> go ahead, please. >> my first question concerns the punitive operation you have launched in eastern ukraine, which is mostly spearheaded against russian speakers. it's an open secret that it is russian servicemen and russian militants who are fighting there. question: how many russian servicemen and units of equipment have you sent there, and how many of them have been killed in ukraine? what would you as the commander-in-chief say to the families of the russian servicemen and officers killed
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there? and my second short question, if i may. we had a president called viktor, who is now hiding in russia. he had imprisoned the number one on the batkivshchyna list, yulia tymoshenko. she has been released, but now the current number one on the party list is in prison, this time in russia... >> what? say it again please? >> the number one on the list of yulia tymoshenko's party, batkivshchyna, is currently in a russian prison. i have a question: on what conditions will you release ukrainian pilot savchenko, ukrainian film director oleg sentsov and at least 30 ukrainian prisoners of war whom you are keeping in various prisons in russia? thank you. >> let's begin with the second question, and then i will certainly answer your first question. the question about ukrainian citizen savchenko and the conditions for her release. i have an open and, as far as i can see, a clear position on this issue.
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you can see in this audience the colleagues of our journalists they are also your colleagues who have died in the line of duty in southeast ukraine. i want to stress that they did not take part in fighting for any of the sides, and they were unarmed. it is the duty of all state agencies, including the military ones, to protect their lives and health and to give them an opportunity to do their professional duty which is to provide objective and full information, at least as they see it. it is a fact that has been recognized in the civilized world. they have been killed. according to our law enforcement agencies, ms savchenko called in artillery fire via radio.
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if it is reliably established during the pretrial investigation and the subsequent trial that she was not involved and is not guilty, she will be released immediately. but if they prove that she was indeed involved in the journalists' murder, a russian court will issue a proper ruling, as i see it, and she will serve her sentence in accordance with the verdict. however, no one has the right to hold anyone guilty of a crime on account. i mean that russian legislation includes the presumption of innocence. so we'll see how the pretrial investigation proceeds, and what conclusions the russian court will make. as for the other servicemen you have mentioned, we don't consider them prisoners of war. they are in detainment in russia, and they are being investigated on suspicion of
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involvement in terrorist activity. this is all i can say on your second question. now to the first question, about responsibility. in russia, like in any other presidential republic, it is the president who is responsible for everything. and responsibility for military personnel rests with the commander-in-chief. let me remind you that in russia this is one and the same person. all those who are following their heart and are fulfilling their duty by voluntarily taking part in hostilities, including in southeast ukraine, are not mercenaries, since they are not paid for what they do.
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russian public opinion holds that what is now happening in southeast ukraine is actually a punitive operation, but it is conducted by the kiev authorities and not the other way around. the self-defense fighters of the southeast were not the ones who sent troops to kiev. on the contrary, the kiev authorities amassed their military forces in the southeast of ukraine, and are using multiple rocket launchers, artillery and fighter jets. what is the problem here and how it can be solved? i'll try to answer this question as well. the problem is that after the government coup (and no matter how others call it and what is being said in this respect, a government coup was carried out in kiev by military means) part of the country did not agree with these developments. instead of at least trying to
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engage in dialogue with them, kiev started by sending law enforcers, the police force, but when that didn't work out, they sent in the army, and since that didn't work out either, they are now trying to settle the issue by using other forceful methods, the economic blockade. i believe that this path has absolutely no future whatsoever and is detrimental to ukraine's statehood and its people. i hope that by engaging in dialogue and we are ready to assume the role of intermediaries in this respect we will succeed in establishing a direct, political dialogue, and by employing such methods and political instruments we will reach a settlement and restore a single political space. >> mr. president, are the current economic developments the price we have to pay for crimea? maybe the time has come to
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acknowledge it? >> no. this is not the price we have to pay for crimea. this is actually the price we have to pay for our natural aspiration to preserve ourselves as a nation, as a civilization, as a state. and here is why. as i've already mentioned when answering a question from your ntv colleague, and as i've said during my address to the federal assembly, after the fall of the berlin wall and the breakup of the soviet union, russia opened itself to our partners. what did we see? a direct and fully-fledges support of terrorism in north caucasus. they directly supported terrorism, you understand? is that what partners usually do? i won't go into details on that, but this is an established fact. and everyone knows it. on any issue, no matter what we do, we always run into
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challenges, objections and opposition. let me remind you about the preparations for the 2014 olympics, our inspiration and enthusiasm to organize a festive event not only for russian sports fans, but for sports fans all over the world. however, and this is an evident truth, unprecedented and clearly orchestrated attempts were made to discredit our efforts to organize and host the olympics. this is an undeniable fact! who needs to do so and for what reason? and so on and so forth. you know, at the valdai club i gave an example of our most recognizable symbol. it is a bear protecting his taiga. you see, if we continue the analogy, sometimes i think that maybe it would be best if our bear just sat still.
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maybe he should stop chasing pigs and boars around the taiga but start picking berries and eating honey. maybe then he will be left alone. but no, he won't be! because someone will always try to chain him up. as soon as he's chained they will tear out his teeth and claws. in this analogy, i am referring to the power of nuclear deterrence. as soon as god forbid it happens and they no longer need the bear, the taiga will be taken over. we have heard it even from high-level officials that it is unfair that the whole of siberia with its immense resources belongs to russia in its entirety. why exactly is it unfair? so it is fair to snatch texas from mexico but it is unfair that we are working on our own land no, we have to share. and then, when all the teeth and claws are torn out, the bear
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will be of no use at all. perhaps they'll stuff it and that's all. so, it is not about crimea but about us protecting our independence, our sovereignty and our right to exist. that is what we should all realize. if we believe that one of the current problems including in the economy as a result of the sanctions is crucial. and it is so because out of all the problems the sanctions take up about 25 to 30%. but we must decide whether we want to keep going and fight, change our economy for the better, by the way, because we can use the current situation to our own advantage and be more independent, go through all this or we want our skin to hang on the wall.
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this is the choice we need to make and it has nothing to do with crimea at all. >> the russia channel responsible for our broadcasting. good afternoon. first of all, the crimea issue is more or less clear. the only question perhaps is how much we will have to eventually invest in its development after the difficult ukrainian past. the most urgent question for me is about eastern ukraine, which is now calling itself novorossiya. how do you see the future of that part of ukraine? do you believe in the success of the minsk agreements? do you think they will help reconciliation? and how are we going to further help donbass?
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will it be humanitarian aid, as it is now, or something else? >> i think i answered a part of your question in my response to your ukrainian colleague. we assume that the crisis will be resolved sooner or later. the sooner the better, of course. this is the first point. second, it should be addressed and settled by political means, and not through pressure, no matter what type of pressure, whether an economic blockade or the use of armed force. and, of course, we will help the people, as we are doing now (as you may know, a tenth humanitarian convoy has been sent). after all, we should proceed from the fundamental principles of international law and from people's right to decide their fate on their own. it was not by chance that i - it's not just a casual phrase, when i said that peace should be
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restored and problems should be resolved by political means. we proceed from the assumption that a common political space will be restored. it's hard to say at this point what it would look like, but i think we should strive for this. the problem is, however, that both sides need to strive for this. both! and people living in ukraine's southeast should be respected. economic ties should be restored. it is a fact that much of ukraine's power industry burns donbass coal, but up until now they aren't buying this coal. we were asked to influence ukraine's southeast, donbass, to make the miners agree to supply coal. we did that, but they are not buying it. why? because they've closed all the banks and are unable to make payments. our colleagues told me yesterday: we are ready to pay and have transferred a prepayment.
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i've made inquiries and found that there is no prepayment. they allegedly wired the money to the miners' bank cards, but the cards are not working! and this is how it is with each issue. nevertheless, there is no other way but a peace settlement. as far as the minsk agreements are concerned, it's a very important part of this, and we want them to be complied with because, first, the initiative for the minsk meeting came from me and from petro poroshenko. i have no doubt that he is striving for this. but he is not the only one over there. we have been hearing statements from other officials, who advocate basically a war to the end. the implication is that all of this is likely to lead to a
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continental crisis. we hear many bellicose statements. i still think that president poroshenko is oriented towards settlement. but concrete actions and steps are needed. should the minsk agreements be implemented or shouldn't they? yes they should! let me repeat: i was one of those who initiated them and we - i'll say an important thing. look, i'd like everyone to hear this. our representatives in minsk signed a memorandum in september and there were protocols to it that defined the disengagement line. the representatives of donetsk didn't sign those protocols. that's the problem. they said at the very start: we can't. when we tried to insist i'll be frank with you about this, since the public needs to know these things they told us that they can't leave these villages
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- there were three or four disputed villages - because their families live there, and they can't risk their children, wives and sisters being killed or raped. this is the most important thing. however, the ukrainian officials did not withdraw their troops from the areas that they were supposed to leave, such as the donetsk airport, either. they're staying there. are you aware of the latest developments? the self-defense forces allowed them to rotate their troops at the airport. they took them to a bathhouse and sent them some food. this may well put a smile on your faces, but, on the other hand, this is a positive development. perhaps, in the end, people will be able to agree on things among themselves. everyone is insisting on exchanging prisoners of war. i believe that they should all
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be exchanged unconditionally. but life is more complicated than that. when these lists became available, it turned out (in any case, that's what the donbass self-defense fighters told us), that the lists from ukraine include people who have been detained not in connection with the hostilities in southeastern ukraine, but somewhere in kherson or odessa. these lists must be checked. nonetheless, we insist and i believe that we need to get these people back home to their families for the new year or christmas, regardless of all other circumstances. yesterday, they agreed to exchange 30 people. representatives of the self-defense forces went to the exchange location, and a representative of the kiev authorities said, "no, we are not going to proceed with the exchange until the next meeting in minsk." well, you can do that, of course, but it would be nice if they could let go at least 30 people -- but these are details. anyway, it would be a positive
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move, including in terms of implementing the minsk agreements, which is an important and necessary process. an agreement was reached to hold a videoconference today or tomorrow. first, there will be a dialogue during this videoconference, but the next step should be made at a meeting in minsk. there's another important thing. it's essential for the kiev authorities to keep their end of the bargain. there was an agreement on adopting an amnesty law. it is nowhere to be seen. they keep telling us that a law on special status was passed, but it couldn't be implemented, this law, do you understand that? because the law could come into force and actually become effective only after the other law had been adopted about the disengagement line. it has not been adopted so far. this compilation has to stop. if ukraine wants to restore
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peace, tranquility and its territorial integrity, the people who live in certain regions of the country must be respected and a straight, open, and honest political dialogue must be maintained with them. it must be a political dialogue without any pressure. i hope that in the end everyone will go down that path. >> thank you. this year, it became clear that energy diplomacy has become a key factor in geopolitics. how justified is russia's turning to the east and the gas contracts it has signed with china and turkey? have all the pitfalls of these projects been considered? many still doubt that the
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chinese contract will be profitable, while the potential turkish stream will leave russia dependent on turkey. do you have anything to say here? >> no, i don't. these things are so obvious that it would be impossible to argue. i often hear comments about russia's turn towards the east. now, if you read american analysts, they also write about the united states' turn towards the east. is this true? partly, yes. why? is this political? no. this stems from the global economic processes, because the east that is, the asia-pacific region shows faster growth than the rest of the world. new opportunities open up. as for energy, the demand for resources is racing in leaps and bounds in china, india, as well as in japan and south korea. everything is developing faster there than in other places. so should we turn down our chance?
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the projects we are working on were planned long ago, even before the most recent problems occurred in the global or russian economy. we are simply implementing our long-time plans. about the chinese contract it is not a loss-making project. it enjoys privileges on both sides on both sides, i must stress. this is true. china offered some benefits as well. i will not go into details right now these benefits aren't extraordinary or anything; the chinese government simply decided to provide some support to the project participants. we, in turn, agreed to do the same. so the project definitely became profitable. definitely. moreover, we have agreed on a pricing formula, which is not much different if at all from the one applied to our european contracts, except for the specific regional market
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coefficients. this is regular practice. in addition, it will help russia, which will receive and accumulate gigantic resources at the project's initial stage, to begin connecting our far eastern regions to the gas distribution grids, not just to export gas through the pipeline. this will allow us to make the next a very important step. we will be able to link together the western and eastern gas pipeline systems and promptly rechannel resources back and forth when needed, depending on the international market. this is very important.
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without it, we would never be able to connect eastern siberia and the far east to the gas distribution system. so this project holds many potential benefits. not to mention that it is a huge construction site that will create jobs and generate tax income at every level, and revive russia's far east and the entire region. about turkey. the turkish economy is also growing and requires additional energy resources as much as the apr. we built the so-called blue stream pipeline many years ago, and now our turkish partners are considering increasing the supplies to the turkish market. should we refuse? we have reached all the key agreements with them, which cover the pricing formula, supply schedule and other aspects. we more or less understand their requirements, and we will certainly sell them what we have and what they need. of course, we will do this. will a so-called european hub be built on the border of turkey and greece? this is not for us to decide.
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the decision largely depends on our european partners: do they want stable, guaranteed and absolutely transparent energy supply from russia, which they badly need, without any transit risks? great! then we'll start working, and the pipeline would reach macedonia via greece, go on to serbia and to baumgarter in austria. if they don't want this, we won't do it. the thing is that there is no cheaper and more reliable supplier than russia, and there won't be any in the near future. >> mr. president, i'd like to go back to the situation on the currency market, which changes
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from one day to another and is a great concern for millions of russians. many experts, including you, mr. president, have said the current situation could be blamed also on currency profiteers. concrete companies and individuals have been named. can you give us those names? are they russians or foreigners? and why can't they be stopped? are they too strong? or are we too weak? i have a second question on the same subject, if i may. do the central bank and the government plan to peg or devalue the ruble? >> this is what our ukrainian partners did, quite unsuccessfully. are you asking if we plan to force our companies, our main exporters, who receive revenues in foreign currency, to sell it? they would just buy it back the next day, as it happened in kiev
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and as it happens in other countries. the next step in this case should be to set a limit on the purchase of foreign currency on the domestic market. we won't go this far, and so the central bank and the government are not planning, quite correctly as far as i see it, to limit our exporters in this field. this doesn't mean, though, that the government should not act through its representatives on company boards. after all, these are our largest energy companies. they are partly state-owned, which means that we can influence their policies, but without issuing any directives or restrictions. this we won't do. as for the so-called profiteers, it is not a crime to play on the currency market. these market players can be foreigners or various funds, which are present on the russian
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market and have been operating quite actively there. or they can be russian companies. overall, as i said at the beginning of this meeting, this is an accepted practice in a market economy. profiteers always appear when there is a chance to make some money. they don't show up to steal or to cheat but to make some money in the market by creating favorable conditions, by pushing, for example, as was done in the beginning of this process, like, in this particular case, the central bank of russia was pushed to enter the market and start selling gold and foreign currency reserves in the hope of intervening and supporting the national currency. but the central bank stopped, and it was the right thing to do. perhaps it would have been better if it had been done earlier and in a tougher way. then perhaps it wouldn't have
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been necessary to increase the rate to 17%. but that is a different matter. a matter of taste, so to speak. although it is still rather significant. it is true. so, i told you who they are. you know, two days ago i had a friendly telephone conversation with some of them and i asked, "so why are you holding back?" by the way, i didn't make them do anything. "our loan payments are due soon," was the reply. then i say, "i see. ok, if you scrape the bottom of the barrel, can you enter the market?" he took a minute and replied, "well, i guess we have $3 billion." they have $3 billion in reserves. see what i mean? it is not 30 kopeks. and this is just one company. so if each company has $3 billion, in total it is not $30 but $300 billion. still, we can't force them. even top management of the companies with state
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participation must anticipate what will happen and ensure the stability of their companies. to this end, the government must work very closely with them and ensure, along with the central bank, foreign currency and ruble liquidity whenever it is necessary. >> good afternoon, mr. president. the number of beds in hospitals in several regions, and mainly in moscow, is decreasing. therefore, the number of staff is decreasing. what do you think about that? and will a similar experiment be carried out in other regions? people are concerned that as a result of the reform they will not be provided with the right to medical aid that is guaranteed by the constitution.
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thank you. >> you know, you are talking about a major issue in our life at present, one of the fundamental issues i would say. education and healthcare must always be within clear sight of the state and the regional governments. in this case, it is the moscow government. naturally, we must see, understand and react precisely to what is happening in a particular professional community. any changes that occur must be introduced in cooperation with representatives of the medical community in this particular case. if the moscow government skipped this stage for some reason, it is a mistake that must be corrected. what should guide us in the
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first place when working on issues like healthcare and education? we should be guided by people who use the healthcare and education services. millions of people are waiting for the healthcare industry to improve. our citizens, consumers of healthcare services are those, whom we must think about first of all. what are people saying? they are not pleased with the healthcare. this is despite all the efforts. we must analyze what's going on and what should be done to improve the situation. i won't assess what the moscow authorities have done now. they acted within their competence. we're saying that our healthcare is expensive but not very efficient. in many cases beds are used not for treating patients, but for
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improving their health, especially in the autumn and winter. probably, this is not bad but the bed space is not designed for this. we must make our medical aid high-tech, as is being done at good clinics, by the way in this country as well. so, for four or five days a person receives intensive therapy in a hospital and then completes his treatment at an outpatient clinic. how much time do people spend in a hospital bed at the moment? i don't want to make a mistake but on average it's not four or five days but much longer. moreover, the city of moscow believes that the bed capacity is excessive by about 30%. of course, something has to be done about this. why? because if we keep it the way it is we will have to pay for land, electricity, heating and the like. these are inefficient costs. they are not used for treating people; just inefficient expenses. it's better to spend the funds on improving the quality of medical care, equipping
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hospitals and outpatient clinics with modern technology, and on training medical personnel. i'm now referring, as i see it, to the reform of healthcare as a whole rather than actions of the moscow authorities. but i think what they have done recently is correct on the whole. first, they launched a dialogue with the medical community. second, they made a decision on additional compensation for released doctors. if i'm right, they are paying up to 500,000 rubles to medical specialists, 300,000 to the nursing staff and 200,000 to auxiliary medical personnel. moreover, they are drafting a program for retraining
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specialists. doctors may attend upgrade courses at the expense of the city from two or three months to two years. naturally, the city needs to decide who will work and in what position but this cannot be done without consulting the medical community. i'm hoping that the city of moscow will act carefully, very carefully, without hurting anyone. the main point is that they should not forget the most important principle of not only a doctor but of all transformations in healthcare do no harm. >> good afternoon, mr. putin. speaking to the federal assembly after the referendum in crimea you used the expression "a certain fifth column and national traitors." you didn't specify whom you
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meant but thanks to you the term "fifth column" has again become part of the political vocabulary. since then, your supporters have labeled those who oppose the authorities the fifth column. to whom were you referring when talking about national traitors and the fifth column, and where, in your opinion, is the line that separates the opposition from the fifth column? finally, do you feel personally responsible for the revival of this term, which increases hostilities and divisions in society? thank you. >> i do not feel any responsibility whatsoever in this respect. everything i do is aimed at consolidating russian society, not dividing it. if you think it did happen, i believe you. it's probably the way things really are. maybe you have an even more acute feel for it than i do. however, in my public statements i have to be more cautious.
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i'll think about that. that said, we can't mask the truth indefinitely and sometimes it is our duty to call the things by their names. this is an extremely complex issue. i'll be totally frank: answering your question isn't easy, since we're walking a very fine line here. it would probably be very challenging to come up with an academic definition of where the opposition ends and the fifth column begins. this very year, and by the way the year 2014 is the year of culture, we celebrated the anniversary of mikhail lermontov, the genius of russian poetry. we all remember his lines. we remember what he wrote about the borodino battle. "by moscow then we die as have our brethren died before." but he also wrote -- "farewell, farewell, unwashed russia, the land of slaves, the land of lords, and you, blue uniforms of gendarmes, and you, obedient to them
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folks." was he an opposition activist? of course he was. he was an opposition activist. as you may be aware, and probably a lot of you know, when he wrote "the death of a poet" on the death of pushkin, one of his relatives saw the text and asked lermontov to soften it a bit. lermontov was so infuriated, that he actually made it even more bitter and edgy. the poem ended with "and your black blood won't wash away the poet's sacred blood." he was definitely opposing the authorities, but i think he was also a patriot. this is very fine line. after all, he was an officer, and a very brave and courageous one, who wasn't afraid to get into the line of fire in the country's interests. by the way, in the last movie by nikita mikhalkov, such officers,
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who actually brought these efforts to their logical end, the revolution, were later killed by revolutionaries. maybe if they could get a second chance, they would not have done what they did from the outset to destroy russian statehood. after all, the line that separates opposition activists from the fifth column is hard to see from the outside. what's the difference? opposition activists may be very harsh in their criticism, but at the end of the day they are defending the interests of the motherland. and the fifth column is those who serve the interests of other countries, and who are only tools for others' political
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goals. defense -- atr of the moment, it is about $50 billion in total. the pentagon's budget is 10 times higher. i think the congress recently had a new defense contract. do you think this aggressive policy? >> doesn't sound logical or reasonable to you? is it us who move our military forces to the borders? is it us who move our military structures? does anyone listen to us?
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is anyone engaged in the dialogue with us? no. what we hear is just my euro business. country has the right to share it security. the why are we not allowed to do that? ed are supposed to have trir too. i spoke about the treaty. it was one of the cornerstones of the security system. from the anti-ballistic missile treaty. andunited states did so, they deployed their strategic systems in your -- in europe. they are trying to say that it
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is not an aggressive policy? whether we want to maintain relationship they sunday go rights -- yes. we wanted to build relations based on equal rights. we have been maintaining negotiations for many years. we believe that the agreements reached were supposed to be solid. i'm not speaking about who is guilty and who is not. i believe we are right. our western partners are wrong. , and theyned the wto are in violation of the u.n. charter. there have been sanctions introduced against russia in an absolutely illegitimate and illegal way.
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is toly thing we want promote relations based on equal rights. we would like to work together. we want to work together. transnational organized crime. including the ebola virus. if our work together partners wants to cooperate with us. >> hello, mr. president. i am from kazakhstan. related to theon legislation process. 1, the union of cause extent belarus and our
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media are going to join. given that developments in our economy, are there reasons to be concerned? could you comment on your prediction and vision of the common market? russia bothn and produce oil. not related through integration. that kazakhstan is facing the unfavorable economic situation at the moment. all the economic the global economy is growing. and as a gross odor demands for energy resources. our academy -- our economy has
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not adapted. proposal, itt your is as follows. together.ork we can take a single economic space for free movement of human resources. of course it is easier to do that together. increased 50 fold, and it is very impressive. of course we are going to further benefit from integration. >> given that we have produced 104 billion barrels the policy is very great.
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my question is related to the development of our agricultural sector. without possible addressing the human resources issue. of his workers recently resigned. then the farmer was trying to find a worker to replace him but no one wanted to work on a farm. no one is going to do the work on the land, on the soil, people are not willing to work on the soil. that it could affect our food security.
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of course i share your concerns. it is very hard to work in the current conditions but at the same time we cannot share the optimism of those who believe that quitting the domestic privilegesinternal -- for internal producers will increase opportunities. of course we have to think about addressing the issues. of course we have to think about vocational training and educational opportunities. with very good vocational education in agricultural areas it will be beneficial for
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this area of the russian economy. as well, just yesterday we decision for to support the agriculture. i hope that our agriculture workers will appreciate it and benefit from it. what is very important to do now sell make sure that they their grain, we have to make sure that they reach, that they are not all received by intermediaries. we have to provide educational training. speaking about the prices of it is not aoods --
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good scene for consumers but it is a good chance for producers and i hope they will benefit from it. already thinking it didn't want to answer. mr. president, but are the prospects of the russian -georgia relationship? does russia believe that we are going to raise those relationships to a new level? do they require more active actions? will the georgian relations with -- european union discussed and what would be the role of russia in settling the conflict? the territoryart, of georgia was occupied, in the
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conflict remains unsettled. -- whatrussia propose? could russia propose? >> just like the southeast of ukraine, the matter is we should talk to people who live in that land. earlier -- i used to talk with a man who is now on the run. the problem is that he has to flee from one place to another place. it was not our initiative, it was not our duty, and he doesn't get a- he isn't able to working visa for the united states. i asked him not to start hostilities. he started it and there you have it. it will be very difficult. i understand the pain of
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georgia, of the georgian people, it is a bleeding wound. 1919, everyone remembers that year. the grave situation after the dissolution, georgia declared its independence and said they are going to stay with russia. it was the same punitive operation. that is not forgotten. theyone accuses us of all things, but that was not our work and we are going to help settle the matters. ignored, warnings were hostilities started and we acknowledged independence of those republics. frankly speaking, it is very difficult.
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stage we have to establish direct contacts. there should be dialogue. stepouldn't reject from one the possibilities. we should start the process -- where it leads us, i cannot possibly say. georgia,e meeting, in we have very little contact. internal power struggles. theor liberalizing shipments of georgian goods to russia, we did that. response to the promise of georgia not to stop russia from entering the wto despite our political differences, that was
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a very welcome gesture from the georgian authorities, and we answering that with being ready andollow in that direction, being --an leaders are we will be very happy to see georgia and moscow. --maybe our colleagues please, you have the floor. >> good afternoon, mr. president. we had the dialogues, and you were there and i am very grateful for that. of course there are sanctions, and not very friendly relations of different countries towards that there we see have been slavic peoples that joined us.
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we always considered them friendly. in that regard, i would like to hear your opinion on the prospects of the slavic people'' -- czech republic, bulgaria, people who could form a friendly alliance so that they could help affairs justtional like it is done with english-speaking countries. -- her question i have has never violated the constitution and he will never let the constitution be violated in the territory of the republic. i was silent when you blatantly -- you were not stopped from
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asking the question. i have the following question. -- whenis in people innocent people, people that work on the roads, teachers, journalists, when their lives are put in danger when comrades inspected,oads are his children were left as offerings and he had a pregnant exactly whenknows certain families were in contact with the militants. not militants, terrorists. there are no more militants in chechnya. asked to get back those people, but they called those people in the woods --
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they were asked about their comfort and that is according to helping terrorists. those people should be held responsible. do we believe of terrorists, if we should use the means that we have so as not to endanger the lives of hundreds and thousands. we are not -- if we had not taken measures we would have a half a million victims. i understand the grief of people, of the families of people who died. i am sure that he will never leave those people alone. offor helping terrorists,
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course all of the accomplices should be brought to justice but of course within the law. what really was the case, that will be clear during the investigation. the fact that we have combated terrorism in all dimensions the of courseing within the. -- the law. the slavic countries, they are in a difficult economic situation. they are under pressure. is ofe that pressure course due to the economic situation and with sanctions and we are being under pressure but those minor countries are of course more susceptible.
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-- and they is serenity is going through hard times. it but i go within the people, ill is not political but cultural and spiritual unity it will prevail. it cannot be eradicated. mr. president, a year ago, you, in this hall, announced our neighbor.u it is one of our priority partners. i am quoting you. and we are going to develop relationships with those countries. and this is our choice, you
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said. a year has passed. tilde has decreased. -- terror has decreased. and no contract that could lead to an agreement emerged. is because the outcome the eurasiant in community, iran does not participate in project, the large contract has not been implemented. fact am building on the that the this year is less than the turnovert of with other countries that russia has, so there is a paradox. the one in russia is responsible no the state of relations -- one in russia is responsible for this state of relations.
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maybe you should take about think about maybe ordering somebody to be a representative of the government responsible for the turnover with iran and the development of economic relationships with it. depends on the actions of the ambassador. may be you should analyze the duties. does notador contribute to economic traded by 5%, then you might criticize them. if it is next year, you might change an ambassador. the direction of wan and russia gibbs -- ould give a lot. last year you said he would
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visit around images that happened at the woodside in agreement and that has not happened either and i do not understand it. -- haveen any changes there been any changes to be strategy? >> first, as far as ambassadors are concerned, of course constant improvement of relationships is their duties that is not directly within his duties. yourding to recommendations, we will not have ambassadors to be ambassadors. automatic -- diplomatic missions work in a country, that is determined by the minister of foreign affairs.
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after your question, we will analyze the efficiency of our embassy in iran. on the whole, we are satisfied with their work. as far as the turnover, it has flown do -- slowed down. we are taking steps to improve it and improve the structure of it in the volumes of it. -- and that the volumes of it. it is not just depend on us, it depends on the global economy. this is the objective process, because iran is an oil and gas producing and extracting country and their economy is largely linked to the world's oil sector. now we are witnessing the falling down of prices, oil prices. there are many discussions on
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why is that, happening, is there a conspiracy to punish iran and the economy of russia and venezuela, etc. it might be or might be not. struggle ofjust the the traditional producers of raw materials with the shale oil, for example. maybe you just told the price the pricese -- hold and squeeze the shale oil out of the market and then increase the price. go to the interests of the u.s. and oral prisons coincide, of course, because the u.s. administration is very calm -- oilhe investment done producers coincide, of course,
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because the u.s. administration is very calm about the investment done. countries would stop investing in extraction and against the it would lift up so much it would be bad for developed countries. att people understand that our chinese friends understand that, too bad. they are not -- too. they are not interested in oil prices going to venlo. -- too low. we are looking for opportunities to diversify our operation with iran and will continue to do so. we have had success and some failures. and machineryting , besides the etc. oil and gas sector, but the contract you mentioned, we wanted to implement it.
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sayare incorrect when you no one is responsible, the minister for energy has had multiple visits to iran and invited partners here. it was a difficult process to look for a compromise and solution and a solution has been found. the calculation is very difficult there. there is a whole range of problems but on the whole we have solved it. it needs will from both sides. the contracts to be beneficial for everyone because not the government will be selling the iran oil. the companies will do that. we have to make the contracts beneficial for them. are interested in it even do what is difficult and will continue to do that in order to find the ways to expand our turnover. of course we will work together partners to solve the nuclear issue.
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i believe we are close to finding the solution to this problem because the leaders of iran are demonstrating great flexibility, i believe. why the understand final or the last resolution on the nuclear program of iran has been signed. i hope it will happen in the near future. if it is so, we will see a change in economics. my visit to tehran is quite possible and we are not agreeing n -- now agreeing on that by diplomatic channels to find the time that will be acceptable for me and our partners. importantis not quite ehran,e when i visit t i will visit the president but i just met him.
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we will continue to meet each other and continue our contact. if we need a separate visit, we have no limitations about that. there is no external pressure on that thread we promised them we would build a nuclear plant and we have done that. so the question is technical and we will work on that. c-span, the european parliament debates the cia interrogation next on c-span, the european parliament debates the cia interrogation program. later, a conversation with white house director jeffrey zients. "washingtonxt journal," gordon chang on what is next for kim jong-un and the country's involvement in the cyber attack on sony.
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president of unmanned vehicles discusses unmanned aircraft and safety regulations. and linda of the u.s. census bureau and christian more talk about the bureau's recent report on the well-being of children in the united states. we will take your calls and you could join the conversation on facebook and twitter. "washington journal," live on c-span. christ on friday, president obama will hold an end of the year press conference at the white house. on friday, president obama will hold an end of the year press conference at the white house. 1:30ll have that live at p.m. eastern on c-span. here are some of the programs you will find this weekend on the c-span networks.
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saturday night at 9:30 on discussesth rogen politics and humor with liz winstead at the harvard institute of politics. 8:00, afterng at katie on what she perceives as the hypocrisy of liberals with their war on women. c-span2, william argues that top universities are missing the mark on education and students should learn to think critically, the creative, and have a goal beyond the material. sunday, just before 11:00, book do the visits lafayette, indiana, to interview authors important literary site. -- and two were important literary sites. c-span3, a discussion on the life of irish american soldier after clayborn and his role in
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the confederate army -- patrick clebuourne and his life in the confederate army. the history of police brutality in oakland. find our schedule on c-span.org and let us know what you think of the programs. call us, e-mail us, or send us a. tweet. join the conversation. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. interviews with retiring members of congress with buck mckeon of california. here is a preview. knew i wanted to get on the
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ways and means committee and obviously worked on on welfare reform and adoption issues and trade issues. at that time, the steering committee, you knew you were in a government process. and it really was a campaign. the committee on that determines who gets a seat on a committee like ways and .eans you are talking to every member on that committee and there is a particular member that was not for me. i did not know what to do. out of the blue, i dialed president ford's office in california. i did not know if you knew me, i certainly knew him. -- he knew me, i certainly knew him. he got on the phone and said, how are you? he said, i used to be leader, someone owes me a favor and i will make a call. he did and that person came to me on the floor and said, anybody who gets a former president to call me, i am for.
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so he changed his vote and i did get on ways and means. it was really a changing moment for me. he was very gracious. the fact that he was in the office and of a call when i had not scheduled because -- and took the call when i have not scheduled the call, it was a hail mary pass. >> the c-span interviews with retiring members of congress to friday with dave and buck mckeon. it will have those at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. on wednesday, members of the european parliament debated the release of the cia report on interrogation. welcomed the release and argued that the eu should take further action and press charges against those involved. this is a one-hour portion of the debate from strasbourg.
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president.u, the united states are an important partner in fighting terrorism for the european union. but certain serious concerns and differences have existed in respect to certain aspects of the united states counterterrorism policy. the european union has salt dialogue on these issues dialogueago -- sought on these issues sometime ago and today we are debating a senate report on a program that was completed six years ago. share the view expressed by president obama, according to which these techniques run counter to our values and are not helpful in combating terrorism. it is important that we guarantee it does not happen
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again, and that is why we welcome the publication of the report and also the following public debate. it shows transparency and lessons in learning from errors in the past. on several occasions, the council has said that the struggle against terrorism needs to happen in respect to international law, including the question of human rights and the rights of refugees. of international law is a crucial aspect of the counterterrorism strategy followed by the european union. when the need for the existence of the secret cia center was revealed in 2006, the council stressed that the european union and also cruel,
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inhuman, or degrading treatment. in the senate report, it stated the legal reasons that helped authorize the various techniques. from 2006 onward, the european union has been in a constant with representatives of the united states. tot dialogue has allowed us put questions and concerns to the united states. togave us the opportunity stress how important it was to respect human life and international law. it is important to stress that president obama formally programd that the cia just a few days into his mandate. any -- he also banned any form of torture and mistreatment and the so-called
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enhanced interrogation techniques and secret detention. he asked that the cia no longer run these secret centers and banned the use of the interrogation techniques. later, in a joint statement made eu, he said "the examination of u.s. policy on detention, transfer, and interrogation in combating terrorism and greater transparency on the practices in the past on this policy, as well as the elimination of the secret detention centers. terrorism can only be combated if we have the in our own continental values. violations of human rights and can inhts of law themselves force people, maybe,
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to have recourse to terrorism. there can be no justification, however, for that kind of behavior. these policies are intended to combat terrorism but nonetheless can create threats through diffusion. the europeans, union has not simply have dialogue with the united states but has taken specific steps in order to promote changes to u.s. policies. u.s. and the european union created a framework to bring in european members to guantanamo in support of president obama's attempts to close. , steps have been taken waiting political
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problems being solved. in iraq, afghanistan, in syria, the eu has adopted an approach on the terrorism being prosecuted according to the rule of law. normal courts have long experience in dealing with places connected to terrorism. it is crucial to carry out an inquiry in order to get information about terrorist networks and protect that the plans are correct. and also, for the ordinary courts, they are hundreds of terrorists behind bars. the treaty of the european union says that the security of each member state forms to each
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member states. that means that intelligence agencies in member states is outside the scope of the eu and its institutions and inquiries into involvement in the cia is a of the member states are not the european union. in conclusion, member states are bound by the convention on human rights and fundamental rights. that's taken to combat terrorism -- steps taken to, terrorism are monitored by the courts. the european courts are confident to re-examine eu legislation on internal security matters. that provides a robust legislative context with provides guarantees within the framework of which we can and should combat the scourge of terrorism. thank you for your attention.
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>> thank you very much for your statement. on behalf of the european commissioner. you.ank council, of the honorable members of the european parliament. the commission which i represent here today for this matter is, like you, appalled by the findings of the united states select committee on the cia's detention and interrogation program. part of which was released on the ninth of december. as you know, most of the inquiry remains classified. this report raises important questions in regards to serious violation of fundamental rights
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by u.s. authorities and by other persons in the service of the 2001 to january 2009. , rightly,nt obama said this week, the actions taken under the cia program were contrary to the u.s. values. recognizing that one of the most effective tools to fight terrorism is to stay true to the values and ideals the united states stands for. this is what led him, in the year 2009, 2 unequivocally -- to unequivocally banned torture, and that we applauded. this is the real point about culture. it is just wrong -- torture. it is just wrong.
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it is a crime. it is a criminal act. it should never be used. while shocking, the select committee findings are not a complete surprise. the existence of secret detention facilities, rendition flights, and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment of insoners under cia custody the context of the fight against terrorism by the united states has been a concern since they became public some 20 years ago -- some years ago. rights bodiesman as well as the council of europe and the european court of human rights has been unequivocal in condemning the practices in the study. has been engaging on
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this case since the start come up with the decision to set up -- start, with the decision to et of the committee in the year 2007 and the year 2012, condemning the practices in question and enforcing the need to promote and protect fundamental rights. and as the united states and the european union, we can raise these issues with the united states on several occasions. including in lessons by the presidency of the council and regular dialogue on counterterrorism and on human rights. the select committee study is a positive step in confronting publicly and critically the way in which the cia's responsibilities were discharged
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in relations to the allegations of torture and ill-treatment. believes that full clarity should be brought inbear on those practices accordance with international standards, including as regards the individual responsibilities for those practices. forms ofndemns all torture and ill-treatment under any circumstances, and works towards the prevention and the eradication of all forms of torture and ill-treatment within the european union and worldwide, as a priority of its human rights policy. as the commission has repeatedly underlined, efforts to combat terrorism should be conducted in complies with the root of law -- rule of law and
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respect our common values and respects our common values and complies with our obligations under international human rightscular -- thefugee law, and commission has stressed from the beginning that all concerned member states should conduct in-depth, independent, and impartial investigations to establish the facts with regard to cia activities. they should have established as possibilities which enables victims to obtain compensation for damages. this was recalled in a joint members and to all member states -- letter sent to all member states in 2013 by the vice commissioner.
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we know that the authorities of several member states have, in the past, undertaken investigations into cia agents involved in the abduction, rendition, illegal detention, torture, and ill-treatment of suspects under the cia detention and interrogation program. on the same day that the senate committee study was released, we learned, in the press, that the u.s. military center in afghanistan have been closed. two of the prisoners who have been turned over to authorities were under u.s. custody since 2002, including 70 years under cia detention, without a trial -- seven years under cia detention, without a trial. over

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