President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: It is a pleasure to meet with you once again in St Petersburg. Our contacts have intensified considerably of late.
We will have the chance today to discuss the main milestones in our cooperation today – our growing trade and a number of new projects – and I think we will be able to discuss all of these different issues in full during my official visit to Ashgabat at the beginning of July, when we will be able to continue the conversation we begin today.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Thank you,
First of all, I would like to congratulate you once more on your good beginnings since taking office as President of Russia and wish you and the entire Russian people blessings and prosperity.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: You will soon be celebrating Russia Day, and on this occasion too I would like to offer my congratulations and best wishes.
Turkmenistan and Russia have established good and constructive relations. We have had some very good results over the last year. The intergovernmental commission has played an important part in helping to develop our trade, economic and social ties and we have signed a good package of documents at the state and government levels as well as agreements in the different sectors.
Our trade and economic turnover came to 3.5 billion USD in 2006 but increased to around 5 billion USD in 2007. This is perhaps not a big figure by your standards, but it is nevertheless a positive result.
Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, this is good growth.
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: I think we have plenty more prospects for cooperation ahead, in areas such as transport links, urban development issues, the social sphere and so on.
I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation. The people of Turkmenistan will be happy to receive such an important guest. I think we will sign a new package of cooperation agreements.
There is still much to be done to develop our social and humanitarian cooperation, and we need to work on the education sector too.
We have plans to open a branch of the Gubkin Oil and Gas Institute [Russia’s Gubkin State University of Oil and Gas] in order to work together in this area.
Turkmenistan never fails to recognise that Russia is a great country and is our main strategic partner.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you. We will definitely discuss all of these matters.