President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], Nursultan Abishevich [Nazarbayev], participants in this meeting,
First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation to visit Turkmenistan. It is a sincere pleasure for us to welcome you to our land, to the banks of the ancient Caspian. We greatly value the fact that this is the first meeting at such a high level between representatives of the great nation of Russia and the fraternal nations of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. We are here today to discuss and outline directions for our future cooperation, and if you will allow, I would like to say a few words about this now.
First, our countries are reliable partners whose relations have stood the test of time. We work together in the same international organisations, are bound by friendly agreements and do not have any claims against each other. In these conditions, it is clearly in the political, economic and financial interests of all three countries to develop and intensify our economic cooperation. The oil and gas sector is a good example in this respect. The stable growth in consumption on the world markets of the energy resources in which our countries abound creates a solid long-term foundation for carrying out diverse projects in this sector. As you know, Turkmenistan’s first President, Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, approved a long-term development concept for the country’s oil and gas sector and targeted programmes for its implementation were drafted. This development concept is based on a policy of diversifying energy supplies to the world markets in areas that benefit our country. Based on current data and future estimates of natural resource reserves, with the help of various countries’ governments and international banks and organisations, we have outlined several possible major gas pipeline projects that have good prospects of being carried out. These possible projects include gas pipelines linking Turkmenistan to Iran, Turkmenistan to China, a pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan to India, and a Trans-Caspian pipeline. We have concluded a 25-year contract with Russia to supply 50 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year, and both sides are observing their commitments in full in this respect.
Turkmenistan proposes increasing the amount of natural gas transported via the Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia route to world markets and considers this a promising idea. Each of the parties involved would of course have to work through all the economic, financial and technical issues involved in this project, but I think that this is a project that would have clear benefits for all sides.
For our part, we guarantee supplies of natural gas from Turkmenistan in accordance with the quantities and the timetable stipulated by the agreements concluded. We are also interested in the project to reconstruct the existing gas pipeline system that transports natural gas from Turkmenistan to Russia. It is in the interest of all the countries whose territory this system crosses to increase gas transport capacity.
Turkmenistan extends an invitation to companies from your countries to cooperate in developing offshore oil and gas deposits in the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea. It is evident that these deposits contain large reserves of oil and gas, and as the example of several companies already working here shows, there is a rapid return to be made on investment in their development and production.
Second, our countries have considerable opportunities for cooperation in the transport sector. Developing effectively operating regional and inter-regional transport routes crossing the territories of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia would greatly facilitate freight transport, reduce transport time and serve our countries’ interests. We propose examining a project to build a railway line linking Yeralievo to Turkmenbashi. If Iran is interested, this line could be extended to the Iranian town of Gurgan and would link the railways of Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, providing access to Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries. Another promising project is that of developing new transport routes across the Caspian Sea, for example, a ferry route linking Turkmenbashi, Aktau and Astrakhan.
Third, there is a lot of as yet unused potential for cooperation between our countries in the tourism sector. We are currently drawing up an ambitious programme for developing this city and the coastal region. We plan to establish a free economic zone here, attract investment for building hotels and other infrastructure and build a desalinisation facility for producing fresh water. We also want to develop the area as an entertainment centre, and we invite businesspeople from your countries to take part in these projects. For our part, we plan to put around $1 billion into this project in state investment alone.
Fourth, our traditional cultural ties form a solid foundation for our intergovernmental relations. We should continue to develop and consolidate these ties and I think that my colleagues would support me in saying that in this respect we could organise various festivals, performances, concerts, exhibitions and other forms of cultural exchange in our respective countries’ cities and capitals.
Fifth, given that we represent countries bordering the Caspian Sea, I cannot but mention the Caspian issue. Sooner or later, we will resolve all the issues in this respect, and we have begun making progress in our negotiations. I want to stress that what is most important is that we share the same objectives. No matter how long the discussions on the Caspian’s status go on, I think – and I am sure you will agree — that we all share the aim, namely, that our sea should always be a sea of good neighbourliness, friendship and good.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, dear Nursultan Abishevich, dear friends, I would like to conclude by expressing my gratitude and thanks for the support and understanding you show for Turkmenistan’s proposals.
It is with great pleasure that I now give you the floor, dear Nursultan Abishevich.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazabayev: Gurbanguly Myalikgulievich, Vladimir Vladimirovich,
First of all, I would like to thank the President of Turkmenistan for the invitation to take part in this summit, and for the traditional hospitality we have received here.
Our meeting today gives us a good opportunity to hold an overall discussion on our cooperation, on issues regarding the Caspian, and on our transport cooperation. You have just given a brief outline of the different areas in which we can work together, and I agree with all the points you made. We have discussed in detail and have essentially approved the documents that we will sign on the Trans-Caspian pipeline, which will enable us to increase gas supplies. We have discussed the construction of this new pipeline. We have also discussed in detail the Caspian issue, the status of the Caspian. The meeting of foreign ministers in Ashgabat on April 24 showed that we all do indeed want to reach a common position on this matter. We said that a meeting would be possible if our negotiators reach a common conclusion and draw up the appropriate documents for a summit meeting.
We discussed protection of the Caspian Sea’s resources, we discussed security on the Caspian, and I am very pleased that our views on these issues coincide. Kazakhstan has always said that it is ready to make its territory available for oil and gas transit and for a railway line from Turkmenistan to Yeralievo and on to Russia. This is a project that would benefit us. For a start, we would be able to cross Turkmenistan to Turkey and the countries of the Persian Gulf, and Russia would also gain a new north-south transport corridor. Kazakhstan would have to build 190 kilometres of this route, and we are willing to do this. Around 200 kilometres would have to be built on the Turkmen side, and we have agreed to work on this. It would also make sense to build a road given that in today’s conditions, transport and communication links should go together. Vladimir Vladimirovich rightly pointed out, however, that gas pipelines should be built at a safe distance from roads and railways.
Regarding our bilateral relations, which we discussed, we spoke about hydro-electricity projects and about the problem of the Aral Sea, which is a matter of concern for all of us, and Russia is also involved in this issues because the salt exposed by the 150-kilometre zone where the Aral Sea has dried up reaches the European part of the Urals, just as it does Kazakhstan. We all need to work on this issue and give it our attention. We take Turkmenistan’s invitation to take part in developing offshore deposits in the Caspian very seriously and are ready to work together with Russian companies on such projects as soon as the Turkmen government makes the appropriate decisions.
The idea of establishing a free economic zone in Turkmenbashi is also an interesting project. Kazakh companies are ready to take part in this project.
I would like to thank you for ensuring good conditions for this meeting. This is the first such meeting since you became President. I offer you my sincere congratulations and wish you great success in your difficult work for the good of Turkmenistan and the fraternal Turkmen people. For our part, I can say that there are no problems in the way of broad-based economic, political and transport cooperation between Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. We will always be ready to work with you to find mutually beneficial solutions to all issues in a spirit of respect for each other’s values and policies. Thank you.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Thank you, Nursultan Abishevich, for your interesting and substantial remarks. Thank you.
Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, allow me now to give you the floor and hear your remarks on these matters.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you, very much. First and foremost I would like to thank the President of Turkmenistan for his suggestion to meet here. This initiative took shape during your visit to Moscow while we were discussing bilateral and multilateral relations in the Caspian Sea region. And our meeting today was truly substantial, as was our meeting yesterday in Turkmenistan’s capital. Our meeting was extremely pragmatic, concrete and certainly covered far more than simply energy issues. As my colleagues have already said, we discussed transport infrastructure, environmental problems and in this respect — and I think that you will agree with me — this encounter represents a serious step towards preparing a Caspian summit. Because we talked about practically all problems concerning cooperation in the Caspian Sea region.
But it is certainly true that cooperation in the energy sector remains the most important issue. Nursultan Abishevich was at the G8 summit in St Petersburg and we all know that cooperation in the energy sector was a topic that Russia had suggested as a major theme and one of the most important issues that we discussed at the summit. And I am very pleased to see that the decisions we made today are in complete accordance with the goals and tasks that we formulated at the St Petersubrg G8 summit.
We take our responsibility in the world energy supply very seriously and I am pleased to be able to say that our experts have prepared agreements on developing cooperation in the energy sector that we will sign today. Let us recall that we made a joint declaration in Almaty on cooperation in the energy sector already in 2002. Because natural gas plays a special role in the energy sector. Important positive changes have taken place during this time. We signed long-term agreements with Turkmenistan on cooperation in the gas sector, agreements calculated for the long-term future. We have similar long-term agreements with Kazakhstan and we have now drawn closer towards implementing some quite major joint projects in the gas sector. We are now talking about developing new deposits and this means that the issue of expanding our transport capacities now poses itself. In connection with this I would like to emphasise once again how pleased I am that our experts agreed on the reconstruction of the trans-Caspian pipeline so that the pipeline will be able to pump no less than 10,5 billion cubic metres of gas, and agreed on constructing a new pipeline system that will coexist with the trans-Caspian pipeline system. I am pleased that our governments will sign the corresponding agreements before July 2007. At the beginning of 2008, or at least in the first half of that year, we can actually begin implementing these agreements. And, what is no less important, we agreed that we will expand another pipeline system, the Central Asia-Centre pipeline, towards Uzbekistan. And my colleagues know that after our experts worked on this issue, the President of Uzbekistan signed the document. And today the three of us are going to sign this second document that finalises our joint work in the gas transportation system in this part of Europe. And I am very happy that we are going to continue to cooperate effectively in the future.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Thank you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for your high assessment of our relations and for the support you have expressed for the projects we propose.
Dear friends, our delegations have held productive talks examining practically all the key areas of relations between our countries. It was pleasing to see the constructive and businesslike approach shown by all sides, despite the complex nature of these talks and the issues discussed. I think that this spirit will prevail so long as we show political will, foresight, and so long as all sides seek to develop cooperation based on the principles of mutual respect, trust and benefit. I think that the experts will now begin to study all the proposals that we have made today, and that they will be followed up.
Dear friends, the main subject we discussed today was the start of extensive cooperation between our countries in the energy sector, the construction of new routes and reconstruction of existing transport routes, and the increase of natural gas supplies to Russia. Specialists from our countries have carried out the preparatory work and drafted and approved all the necessary documents. As Vladimir Vladimirovich said, this is a joint declaration by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan on the construction of a gas pipeline along the Caspian.
The second document is a joint declaration by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on developing gas transport capacity in the Central Asian region. I think there is no need to discuss these documents again, and so, if there are no objections, I propose that we sign them.