Beginning of Talks with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov 2007-04-24 19:21:21 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin: Dear Gurbanguly Mialikkulievich! Dear friends, dear colleagues! I would like to warmly welcome you to Moscow once again. We are very glad to welcome such a representative delegation from our reliable and traditional partner — our friends from Turkmenistan — to Moscow. Relations between our countries are, on the one hand, steady, business-like and pragmatic and, on the other hand, they are also very warm relations. We are linked by years, by decades, of living together in the same country. And over the past few years our intergovernmental ties have developed very promisingly and our economic cooperation is developing very effectively. Of course, the most important theme of our meetings always consists in relations in the oil and gas sector. Yesterday the President and I discussed the present situation and the prospects for future cooperation. Along with this, we can see that our relations and cooperation in the cultural and educational spheres is improving. Yesterday the President invited me to participate in a ceremony for laying the foundation stone of a future Russian school which, as far as I know, is still working according to Russian programmes: the Russian Drama Theatre has started operating again in Turkmenistan. Other significant steps have been made and we are very grateful to the leadership of the Republic of Turkmenistan for what is being done in this regard. We highly value this. With respect to economic cooperation, in addition to the oil and gas sectors, of course there is the possibility to work in other areas as well. I hope that we will talk about this in more detail today. Despite Turkmenistan’s neutral status — and we respect this status! — we are not going to forget about cooperation between our special services in the struggle against organised crime, against drug trafficking, and against terrorism. Nor are we going to forget about positive contacts between our military departments. This is the wide range of issues that we are proposing to discuss today.