President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Mr President, colleagues,
Once again, I welcome you to hospitable Turkmenistan. Today we are meeting in our port city of Turkmenbashi. We addressed our racing drivers in good fashion today. There really are no borders between sportspeople. Friendship dissolves all borders, and this is wonderful to see, of course.
I want to say a few words about our bilateral cooperation. I want to start by thanking you and the Russian Government. The Intergovernmental Commission is working smoothly and we have obtained very good results. In 2008, our bilateral trade came to a figure of $7 billion. It already reached $5 billion for the first seven months of this year, and that is even with the crisis going on.
We have a good contract coming up ahead. We want to invite Ms Matviyenko [Governor of St Petersburg Valentina Matviyenko] at the end of the month and sign a contract for more than $500 million for the construction of flyovers, bridges and roads. We will continue to work in this spirit, all the more so with the Intergovernmental Commission due to hold its next meeting on October 7, 2009. We have many matters to discuss in all the different fields of our cooperation.
Our affairs are going well in many different sectors, including agriculture, transport, and the energy sector. I also want to note our social and humanitarian ties. You helped us last year in training and education. We sent 287 students to you last year, and this year, we are sending 217 students in addition to those taking part in the professional ongoing training courses. We are grateful for this help. A branch of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas has opened here. We also plan to set a new polytechnic and will construct a large building to house its branch.
I take this opportunity to invite you to visit the Alexander Pushkin Turkmen-Russian School here, at a date of your choosing. The new building is near completion now. Your visit would delight the schoolchildren, of course, and this would be a great thing for them.
Once again, thank you. It is a pleasure to see you in Turkmenistan, and it is my honour to now give you the floor.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, colleagues, friends,
We opened our visit to Turkmenistan with a very positive event that symbolises our friendship and our desire to develop our ties in all different areas, not just in the traditional sectors such as energy, but in other fields too, including sport. This put us all in an upbeat mood, of course. It was a good event for us all.
You were right to note that, despite the crisis, our trade and economic relations are showing not just good but really very healthy growth. Our bilateral trade is on the rise. Our trade with a number of other countries has declined, but with Turkmenistan it is increasing. This shows that we have very good potential indeed for developing our relations.
I think we should thank our Intergovernmental Commission for its active work, and I hope its next meeting in October will also produce results.
Looking at the different fields of our cooperation, there are indeed some excellent examples of new agreements. Today, we will sign an agreement between a Russian company and Turkmenistan’s State Agency for Hydrocarbon Resources. We have a genuinely productive partnership in this sector, and I think we can congratulate ourselves on this.
We have examples of cooperation in other fields too, very significant trade relations. We mentioned just before the opening of the KAMAZ repair and maintenance centre here last year. Around 3,000 trucks were supplied from Russia in 2007–2008, which is a lot. I think that Turkmenistan is now one of the biggest buyers of our vehicles. This is good to see, and we are ready to continue expanding cooperation in these areas.
Of course we will develop too our cooperation in the transportation and agriculture. We have some special events coming: in October the Golden Autumn exhibition will take place [the 11th Russian Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn will be held in Moscow on October 9–12, 2009] and Ashgabat will host the CIS Agricultural Products Forum on November 25–27, 2009. This is also a good event in which we will most definitely take part.
No doubt, our contacts do not stop there. You mentioned the invitation to visit Ashgabat and take part in inauguration of the Turkmen-Russian School. It is with pleasure that I accept this invitation and I will certainly come. This is an important step we are taking to make our future relations just as close and friendly, just as much a partnership, as they are today.
I also want to thank you, Mr President, for coming up with the initiative for today’s event and ensuring that everything went so well. I am confident that it will benefit our countries’ relations and thus, relations between our peoples too.
Thank you very much.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Thank you, Mr President.
We mentioned that we will witness the signing today of the agreement on bloc 21 of the Caspian Sea [production sharing agreement between Russian company Itera and Turkmenistan’s State Agency for Hydrocarbon Resources Management and Use on bloc 21 of Turkmenistan’s sector of the Caspian Sea], which concerns Turkmenistan’s territory.
This is indeed a good bloc containing more than 160 million tons of oil and more than 60 billion cubic metres of gas. Everything has been examined and structured in accordance with the international standards and practices. The results are good: there will be 20 percent at the outcome, with the remainder divided in equal shares. This is all normal overall. If the need for changes comes up during the process there will not be any objections. We are grateful that Russia’s oil and gas company Itera and foreign companies are taking part in this project.
I also want to say a couple of words to let everyone know about the situation with the [gas pipeline] accident. Turkmengaz and Gazprom have fixed it now. Turkmengaz is taking some time-out from Gazprom at the moment, carrying out preventive maintenance and repairs and replacing the connecting pipes. They have 149 sites, where pressure is fed into the system, and five large compressor plants where they are now carrying out the final inspections of the pipes. I think that all the issues have been cleared up now.