President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, dear friends and colleagues, it is a great pleasure to visit you here.
Before addressing the business side of things, I first want to congratulate you on the upcoming Independence Day holiday that you will celebrate on October 27. We will be celebrating together with you.
We genuinely appreciate the close friendly relations and strategic partnership that have developed between our countries. These relations have a solid foundation set in the agreements we have signed, and are growing at a good pace. I think that we have also made our contribution to this growth of late.
Our strategic partnership and friendship are reflected not just in our economic relations, but also in our foreign policy cooperation. We value the position Turkmenistan takes as a neutral state on the key issues of expanding cooperation in Central Asia. This is a complex region and a lot depends on the efforts we make. The work we are doing to combat the main threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking and cross-border crime, which you named just now, is therefore a vital and productive part of our cooperation.
Mr President, I fully agree with your position on the need to broaden cooperation in the Caspian region. After all, the simple fact of the matter is that the Caspian Sea is our common wealth, and we are capable of working together to sort out all the problems and create opportunities for developing the region and our cooperation. This is the duty of the five countries responsible for the current and future laws regulating use of the region’s natural resources. I hope that we will continue to develop our friendly cooperation in this area in just this spirit.
We value the contribution Turkmenistan is making to supporting the processes underway in the CIS. We are working actively together on these matters and also working together in other regional associations too. We are therefore ready to continue expanding cooperation with Turkmenistan in all of these areas.
Our bilateral cooperation is showing stable and dynamic growth and has become a factor promoting economic development throughout the Central Asian region.
Recent times have seen new projects and examples of successful cooperation. It is enough to mention the Central Karakum-Yilanly gas pipeline launched on October 16. This was a welcome event and is an important project. I hope that we will continue to develop this cooperation in a spirit of friendship and mutual understanding. We have just outlined some good future opportunities and have given instructions to our governments and aides to ensure such projects’ effective implementation. We think the energy sector is indeed one of the key components of our cooperation and we are therefore ready to continue developing interesting projects in the gas and electricity sectors.
But at the same time we also must think about the future. The whole world is promoting energy efficiency now and looking for ways to save energy. I think that energy efficiency and new technology are extremely important areas for our future joint efforts, and we have therefore agreed to hold a forum on innovation, new technology and energy efficiency. I believe that our countries should work on this if only because we are big energy suppliers and so the question of what technology is used in the energy sector – and in other sectors too — is of great importance for us. This is a good idea and we will definitely work on it.
We value the active work big Russian companies are pursuing in Turkmenistan’s market and we are ready to expand these ties. This is something we will discuss at the next Intergovernmental Commission in early November. Russian businesspeople took part in the International Investment Forum that took place in Ashgabat recently. Quite a few companies took part. I hope that we will continue developing our contacts in this way.
Cooperation in the agriculture sector is also very important. We already discussed this issue. We are ready of course to diversify our foreign trade so that a greater range of Turkmenistan’s goods and products are present on the Russian market. At the same time, we are ready to help in agriculture sector development, and we already discussed a number of projects in this area.
It is very pleasing to see the interregional ties that have developed in substance over these last years thanks to your personal effort. Our regions are reaching out to you too. You mentioned the Republic of Tatarstan and Astrakhan Region. There are other regions too, St Petersburg, for example, that seek to develop this kind of cooperation. It is very important that you visit not just Moscow. Of course, Moscow is the capital of the big country that is Russia, your partner, but you visit other regions too, and the regions naturally value the fact that you are personally involved in building up cooperation ties. This is something very valuable. We are therefore ready to continue making as active and steady effort to build up these ties as has been the case of late.
Our cooperation is not limited to economic ties alone. We do indeed have special relations, and they are reflected in all that we have achieved in our cultural and humanitarian cooperation of late. I particularly want to note your personal part in this work, Mr President, because we see that there has been a real intensification in our humanitarian contacts. I think this will benefit both Turkmenistan and Russia. This is always a reciprocal process in which both sides have an interest.
We have achieved good results. Last year, we opened the Alexander Pushkin Russian-Turkmen Secondary School together. This was a very happy event, a good cause for celebration. A branch of the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas is working actively in Turkmenistan, and I think this is also a very good project.
We are ready to pursue our cooperation in education and other spheres. Last year and this year we successfully organised the Russian Culture Days in Turkmenistan and Turkmenistani Culture Days in Russia. We are also ready to help with training for highly qualified specialists who will further strengthen the bonds between our peoples and develop the cooperation and friendship that have formed over the centuries and constitute the foundation of our cooperation.
Mr President, on behalf of the Russian delegation I want to thank you for this invitation to visit Turkmenbashi and take part in these events. I am sure that we will have many more occasions to continue our cooperation, and many more occasions for friendly meetings.
Thank you for your hospitality.