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Putin Stresses Moscow’s Need for Friends | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, Dec. 1, 2016. (AP)

Moscow – Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was ready to cooperate with the new U.S. Administration.

He also expressed Moscow’s hope to collaborate with Washington in fighting terrorism, as both countries bare a common responsibility to achieve world security.

During his annual “state of the nation” address on Thursday, Putin said Russia does not want confrontation with anyone and would like to cooperate on Syria.

“Cooperation between Russia and the United States in addressing global and regional issues will benefit the whole world. We have a shared responsibility to ensure international security and stability, to strengthen non-proliferation regimes,” Putin said.

“And, of course, I count on the alliance with the United States in the fight against the real, rather than fictional threat – international terrorism”, he stated.

The Russian president talked about foreign challenges faced by Russia and the country’s relations with major powers.

“We do not want confrontation with anyone. We have no need for it and neither do our partners or the global community”, he said.

“Unlike some of our colleagues abroad, who consider Russia an adversary, we do not seek and never have sought enemies. We need friends. But we will not allow our interests to be infringed upon or ignored. We want to and will decide our destiny ourselves and build our present and future without others’ unasked for advice and prompting”, he added.

Putin spent more than half of the 70-minute speech talking about domestic issues like social welfare and the struggling economy.

“Colleagues, the basis of our entire policy is to take care of people and increase human capital as Russia’s most important resource. Therefore, our efforts are aimed at supporting the traditional values and the family, at [implementing] demographic programs, improving the environment and people’s health, and promoting education and culture”, he stated.

On the economic level, Putin said he expects a significant decrease in inflation by the end of this year, to below 6 percent.

“If we do not address the underlying problems of the Russian economy, if we do not launch new growth factors at their full force, it will stagnate for years, and we will have to constantly scrimp and save, to delay development. We cannot afford that”, he said.