Vladimir Putin: We have just discussed with the President of Turkmenistan the main issues and key problems of our interaction and we have noted that unfortunately the Intergovernmental Commission on economic cooperation has not yet got its act together, although on the whole we believe that relations between Turkmenistan and Russia are developing positively and a good deal has been accomplished recently. But we concentrated on the issues that in our opinion merit special attention on the part of the leaders of both countries.
One organisational issue is stepping up the activities of the Intergovernmental Commission. On our side the Commission is headed by the Energy Minister and we have agreed that he will shortly (in February) go to Ashkhabad to meet with his colleagues, and then the Commission’s work will be launched. I think its activities could contribute to the solution of many practical issues, and not only in the energy sphere. I am referring to problems in the field of financial interaction, trade and economic ties, cultural and humanitarian cooperation. Not least, we will address the issue of interaction on the Caspian. Granted, there is a separate mechanism for the latter, but on the whole the Commission will have to give it its due share of attention.
The growth of bilateral ties must help to invest them with concrete substance. It would be a good idea to conclude a long-term intergovernmental agreement setting a framework for trade and economic cooperation.
At the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan our experts are working on a new framework treaty. The previous treaty is to expire shortly and we agree with the President of Turkmenistan that it would be a good idea to update some of the provisions in line with the changes in the world and in bilateral relations.
Interaction with Turkmenistan in the fuel and energy sphere is the priority, and we have discussed it in some detail.
It is high time to give serious thought to forming a Eurasian alliance of gas producers. That is a topic for a separate conversation. But we often come back to it when we discuss the problems of the Caspian. I think it would be right if we bring in the countries through which gas pipelines pass, including Uzbekistan.
I think the creation of such an alliance would make it possible to effectively control the volume and destinations of the export of Central Asian gas, help to balance production and consumption of natural gas and to use a single export channel for it. Today the only channel is provided by the gas pipeline systems run by Gazprom. But I think that if we pursued such cooperation on a multilateral basis it would introduce an element of stability for our partners abroad as well. But of course the interests of all the parties involved in this business must be taken into account. They are Turkmenistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.