President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Turkmenistan is among our strategic partners in the region. This is secured through our core documents and we can see it working in practice. We have very good relations in politics, humanitarian cooperation and the economy. Granted, in monetary terms, trade volume fell slightly, but we have reasonable commodity flows.
As for concerns from our friends in the region about the use of airspace above the Caspian Sea, our Kazakhstani friends have not said anything about this yet, but we will keep it in mind. We understand that there are probably limitations and it creates a certain inconvenience, but we all know that all of Russia’s efforts in the fight against terrorism are primarily a burden on the Russian Federation, economically speaking. Terrorist organisations like the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and others do not spare anyone. They are engaged in true atrocities, and they do not spare civilian targets, such as civilian aircraft. So if any inconveniences are created, they should certainly be minimised, and we will keep this in mind.
However, given our tragic experience with the destruction of our aircraft, we will do this for as long as we feel it is necessary, to punish the guilty. Still, all these operations will not go on forever; I stated earlier that they will be temporary and linked to the offensive operations by the Syrian army to suppress terrorist organisations. Inevitably, the Syrian crisis must still be resolved and will be resolved by political means.
We very much hope that the process underway in Vienna will lead to a positive result. Just today, we were discussing this with the Iranian leadership. I think that all our friends, close allies and strategic partners not only understand this, but will also support us. We very much count on it.
As for humanitarian cooperation, we consider it highly important. You just mentioned the school we established together, and the film festival showing our films. And I remember what a pleasure it was to welcome your musicians who shared the traditional musical arts of Turkmenistan. Their performances enjoyed great popularity. We very much hope that this cooperation in all areas will continue. We respect Turkmenistan’s neutral status and support it in various ways. Naturally, we will participate in the events you are planning.
I also want to thank you for your invitation, which I will certainly accept. Thank you very much.