PRIORITY OF COMMON INTERESTS
A regular meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State in Sochi attended by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was one of the most significant political events of the past autumn. The Turkmen leader arrived at the airport on Russia's Black Sea coast and proceeded to the Congress Center of Radisson Blu Resort Hotel located in a picturesque resort place. He held a meeting with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at this hotel.
Warmly welcoming the distinguished guest, the Russian leader thanked his Turkmen counterpart for accepting an invitation to visit Sochi and take part in the CIS Summit, as well as for the warm reception of the Russian delegation during his recent official visit to Turkmenistan.
Thanking for the kind words and using this opportunity, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov cordially congratulated the Russian leader on his birthday. Wishing the President of the Russian Federation good health, great successes in his responsible state activities and all the best, the Turkmen leader presented him with a puppy of the Central Asian sheepdog (Alabai) named Vepaly (Faithful). As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted, the Alabai dogs have long been faithful companions and friends of the Turkmen people. This gift to the head of the Russian Federation symbolizes loyalty to traditions of the centuries-old Turkmen-Russian friendship and trusting personal relations between the two heads of state.
The meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State took place at the Congress Center of Radisson Blu Resort Hotel in the afternoon. First, the heads of the CIS countries met in the narrow format. Opening the meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted a busy agenda of the meeting that was expected to discuss a wide range of issues related to development of partnership in the CIS.
Then, the floor was given to the summit participants. In the course of exchange of views, the sides summed up the results of the CIS activities, specified the priorities for the forthcoming period and discussed the current aspects of regional and international politics.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed the summit participants as follows:
Distinguished heads of state! Distinguished members of delegations!
Let me express my gratitude to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for the invitation to the meeting of the Heads of the CIS States and hospitality accorded to us. As is known, we discussed very important issues at the current meeting. Therefore, first of all, I would like to say a few words about our interaction in the political sphere.
We respect the cooperation with the CIS countries, we consider it the most significant component of external relations of all CIS countries. At the same time, I think it is important to pay special attention to raising the level of mutual trust between our countries. In this regard, it is necessary to strengthen political and diplomatic cooperation, while using the great capacities of the foreign ministries of the CIS countries. The systematic, regular inter-ministerial consultations could become a serious tool in resolving a number of issues within the CIS.
It addition, it is certainly necessary to enhance cooperation through the large international organizations such as the UN and the OSCE, and we should try to unite efforts of the CIS countries at the well-known international structures to achieve the goals on the current international agenda. We should keep it in mind that the CIS has great experience of participation in the work of global and regional organizations. For example, one should not forget that the CIS is an official partner of the United Nations, and it quite actively participates in the work of the OSCE, the SCO and other international organizations and formats.
In view of the above, I think it would be right to instruct the ministries of foreign affairs of our countries to develop a medium-term program of action with the view of enhancing partnership in the political and diplomatic sphere.
Concretization of work in the trade and economic area is undoubtedly another very important point. In this regard, I would like to note that the CIS with its enormous potential needs to be more actively and fully integrated into the international economic relations, since this is exactly the space where the transport and energy projects are being implemented, where modern infrastructure and communications of logistics centers of interregional significance are being created. I believe it is time to make specific steps in this direction. I am sure that this meets both our common interests and interests of each individual country.
Development of new approaches to joint work will be certainly required to fulfill this task. In this regard, taking advantage of the long experience of interaction in the field of economy in the CIS, we may consider establishing effective partnership mechanisms that would allow us to not only further develop the economic ties within the CIS but also bring them to the continental level, that is, to the intercontinental level. I am confident that such an approach will complement the existing forms of economic cooperation that are used by the CIS countries.
In general, I want to emphasize that Turkmenistan with its neutral status and associated membership in the CIS is firmly committed to the further cooperation within the CIS and maintenance of mutually beneficial political, trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian relations with the view of strengthening cooperation in the interests of our peoples and countries.
I express sincere gratitude to the Russian Federation for the efficient work as chair of the CIS this year. We support with great respect Tajikistan's chairmanship in the CIS in 2018. With great respect, we thank the Executive Committee for keeping Turkmenistan as co-chair in 2018.
The participants of the CIS summit received the speech by the President of Turkmenistan with attention and gratitude.
The meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State finished with the signing of final documents. A decision was made on the Republic of Tajikistan chairmanship in the CIS in 2018. The Russian Federation and Turkmenistan will be the co-chairs. The Council of the CIS Heads of State also declared 2019 the Year of Book and 2020 the Year of the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War in the CIS. The heads of state adopted a statement on the support of the institution of the family and traditional family values.
They also approved the Concept of Cooperation of the CIS States in combating legalization of proceeds from crime, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the Concept of Cooperation of the CIS States in countering corruption; the Protocol Decision "On the CIS Convention on Cooperation in Exploration and Peaceful Use of Outer Space." The next meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State will be held in Dushanbe (Republic of Tajikistan) in October 2018.
Being an associated member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkmenistan actively participates in the CIS work, advocating the development of fruitful cooperation in a wide range of areas, both in bilateral and multilateral formats. It is noteworthy that in 2012 and 2016 the Turkmen cities of Mary and Dashoguz were declared the cultural capitals of the CIS. The events held in these cities under this honorary status were Turkmenistan's significant contribution to the development of the dialogue of cultures in the CIS space, enrichment of traditional humanitarian ties, preservation for the future generations and popularization of the priceless historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of the CIS countries.
Chairing the CIS in 2012, Turkmenistan demonstrated the most serious and responsible approach to the fulfillment of this important mission, contributing to the strengthening of the traditionally friendly, good-neighborly relations between the CIS countries, building up efficient partnership that meets the goals of common prosperity.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's participation in the regular meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State was clear evidence of the consistent implementation by independent and neutral Turkmenistan of its foreign policy strategy that prioritized the development of constructive cooperation both at the intergovernmental level and through reputable regional and international organizations and structures.