PARTNERSHIP ACROSS THE BOARD
The visit to Turkmenistan by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov was one of the notable events of the beginning of the calendar year. It was a kind of symbolic checking of positions in the political season, when the foreign ministries of the two countries coordinate their efforts on the eve of important events.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who arrived in Ashgabat on a working visit. The sides exchanged views on the current state and prospects of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation. The head of state and the Russian Foreign Minister had a detailed discussion of the pace of implementation of the agreements reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to Turkmenistan in October 2017.
It was stressed that the Treaty on Strategic Partnership between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation that entered into force provides a foundation for implementation of all plans, opening up opportunities for interaction in various spheres - political, trade, economic and humanitarian.
In this regard, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is of great importance in implementing the multi-faceted potential of the two countries. The Commission will hold its regular meeting in the first quarter of this year. Among other issues, the Commission is expected to discuss further cooperation in the oil and gas sector. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan expressed satisfaction that the Turkmen-Russian dialogue on gas issues is aimed at searching new, large-scale agreements.
At the meeting, the President of Turkmenistan and the Russian Foreign Minister exchanged views on a number of topical international issues relating to ensuring peace, security and sustainable development. In this regard, the sides confirmed mutual intention of the two countries to continue strengthening the traditional cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally, primarily through the UN, the CIS and other international organizations and structures.
The sides paid special attention to the topic of cooperation in the Caspian Sea. In this regard, Sergey Lavrov highly rated Turkmenistan's approach that helped to solve many important issues on the Caspian Sea.
The sides also discussed the events to be held under Turkmenistan's chairmanship of the CIS in 2019, including meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers, heads of state and government, the Economic Council, the Forum of Art and Scientific Intelligentsia and others.
In an interview with the local press after the meeting with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov praised the level of Turkmen-Russian interaction.
- In the course of the substantive talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, I conveyed President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin's warmest greetings to the head of Turkmenistan and wishes of success in his large-scale activities and confirmed that the Russian Federation strictly adheres to all agreements reached at the highest level, including those reached during the Russian leader's visit to Ashgabat a little over a year ago.
The Treaty on Strategic Partnership between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation that entered into force provides a foundation for all our plans and activities in various areas - from the economic sphere to education, from the dialogue on security issues in the region to the Caspian Sea issues that naturally takes a special place. I should emphasize that Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paid special attention to this issue.
It was in Ashgabat in 2002 that the leaders of the five Caspian states started the negotiation process at the highest level. And it finished last year with the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Two other documents that were initiated by the President of Turkmenistan were also adopted. They are the agreements between the governments of the Caspian states on trade and economic cooperation and cooperation in the field of transport.
This August, Turkmenistan will hold the Caspian Economic Forum for the first time in history. It will also host the sixth-in-a-row summit of the heads of the Caspian states. As a whole, we have very promising plans for continuation of cooperation, including in the humanitarian sphere.
The President of Turkmenistan has reiterated his full support to our cooperation in the field of education. Thirty thousand citizens of Turkmenistan study at the Russian higher education establishments. It was noted that the Russian language is taught in many educational establishments of Turkmenistan, and, in the opinion of experts, the Turkmen-Russian Secondary School named after A.S. Pushkin is the best in the region.
This year, humanitarian and cultural issues will be one of the priorities under Turkmenistan's chairmanship of the CIS. We have many plans, and there will be a lot of events on the CIS and on cooperation within the framework of the "Caspian Five".
In the foreseeable future, and I hope it will be in the very near future, we will hold a regular meeting of the Russian-Turkmen Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation.
All these plans were approved by the Presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan, and the ministries of foreign affairs of the two countries will coordinate the work of the agencies involved to ensure that all agreements are fully implemented for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.
The leaders of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation oversee bilateral cooperation in the oil and gas sector. During the talks, the President of Turkmenistan expressed satisfaction with the way gas issues are being addressed in the Russian-Turkmen dialogue. Now, we look at these issues with a view to finding new, far-reaching agreements.
The delegation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also held talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan. The sides discussed key issues relating to development of the Turkmen-Russian dialogue, as well as topical issues of regional and international politics.
Following the talks, the sides signed the Program of Cooperation for 2019-2020 between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. The Russian Foreign Minister also delivered a lecture at the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.