Beginning of Russian-Turkmen Talks in Enlarged Format 2007-05-11 19:10:31 Ashgabat President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov: Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], dear Russian friends, First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation. We are happy to see you here in our ancient historical land, in Turkmenistan. It is good to see that we met just recently in Moscow and that today we take our places again around the table to discuss intergovernmental issues. I want to emphasise that for Turkmenistan this visit is a friendly and open opportunity to bind even closer together the relations that have formed between us over the centuries. I would like to note that this year marks fifteen years since we established diplomatic relations. We should stress, too, that diplomacy has enabled us to resolve many different issues in many different areas over this time. I would also like to note all the work our intergovernmental commission has done on trade and economic issues, above all in the oil and gas sector, of course, but also on humanitarian issues and matters of stability and security. I think these efforts will bear very good fruit. Today, for example, we laid the foundations of a new service centre for KamAZ vehicles. Today we will also lay the foundations of a Turkmen-Russian school, which will give new impetus to education cooperation. I would also like to highlight the fact that our bilateral trade has shown excellent growth over these last years. I think that all of these initiatives will bring positive results, and I would therefore like to thank you once again for finding the possibility and accepting our invitation to come here. Through you, Vladimir Vladimirovich, I would like to thank all Russians, thank all of your colleagues, and it is with pleasure that I give you the floor. President Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Gurbanguly Myalikkulievich [Berdymukhammedov], for the invitation. As you can see, we have brought a large and prominent delegation with us, including members of the Russian Government and business leaders. You are quite right in noting the growth in our bilateral trade, but as we were just saying before, during our meeting one-on-one when we discussed our bilateral cooperation, we still have much to do in the energy sector and in other areas. Major Russian companies have indeed begun taking the first steps, as we can see from the KamAZ project you mentioned. Other big Russian companies entering your market include Mobile Telesystems, Itera, Lukoil, Rusal, and Gazprom – a longstanding and reliable partner of yours. I am very pleased to see that, as you mentioned, our intergovernmental commission has resumed its activity. I have no doubt that the commission has a lot of work ahead of it to map out new directions for our cooperation. We are particularly pleased to see that our humanitarian ties are also developing, and I would like to thank you for your country’s initiative to establish a new school where pupils will study the Russian language, and also the idea of opening a branch of a university in Turkmenistan. These are all very promising initiatives and I have absolutely no doubt that they will help to lay a solid and lasting foundation for us to develop our relations in all different areas. Thank you very much. I am sure that our work together over these two days will be successful.