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Ashgabat makes no secret of its intention to ensure broad and competent media coverage of the upcoming event. It was exactly for this purpose that Turkmenistan held an international media forum in Ashgabat that discussed aspects relating to the First Caspian Economic Forum, which is to be held in the Avaza National Tourist Zone on the Caspian Sea coast on August 12.
The fact that not only journalists of the coastal but also non-regional countries attended the media forum was evidence of the international mass media's interest in the prospects of development of economic cooperation in the Caspian Sea. Reporters representing such information giants as RT TV company, Russia Today media holding (Russia), the Associated Press (US), Agence France-Presse (France), Reuters (UK), journalists from Azerbaijan Kazakhstan, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, as well as experts and foreign diplomats accredited in Turkmenistan gathered in the hall of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan.
The plenary session discussing the economic development of the energy and transport systems of the Caspian Sea noted that Turkmen electricity supplies abroad remain the priority of the energy policy of Turkmenistan.
The tasks set in this regard are being addressed by the Concept of Development of the Electrical Power Industry of Turkmenistan for 2013-2020 that was adopted in April 2013. Guided by this document, Turkmenistan has built power plants that are capable of fully meeting the domestic demand and exporting electricity to neighboring states, including the Caspian ones.
The media forum participants were fully briefed on the state of electricity infrastructure of Turkmenistan. In this context, it was noted that the First Caspian Economic Forum aims to give a qualitative positive impetus to the strengthening of continental energy security.
Speaking of development of transport cooperation in the Caspian Sea, the media forum participants noted the importance of the ongoing infrastructure projects in Turkmenistan that make the country one of the key players in the new Silk Road, connecting Asia and Europe.
The official website of the First Caspian Economic Forum was presented as part of the forum.
The idea of holding a meeting in such format was first put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the IV Summit of the Caspian Littoral States in Astrakhan in 2014. The initiative upheld Turkmenistan's vision of the Caspian Sea's strategic role in regional and interregional geopolitical and economic processes, its value as an important transit-transport and logistics hub that necessitate the further consolidation of efforts of the coastal states.
The Turkmen leader's proposal was further developed in the course of the V Summit of the Heads of the Caspian Littoral States that was held in Kazakhstan's Aktau last August. Speaking at this summit, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that successful five-sided cooperation in the Caspian Sea, ensuring conditions for durable peace, security and development in this region depended largely on the degree of the coastal states' involvement in trade, economic and transport processes. In this regard, he proposed to hold the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenistan. The date of the forum is not accidental, as the coastal states mark August 12 as Day of the Caspian Sea. The initiative received unanimous support.
The upcoming economic forum is one of the initial strategic events in the modern history of the Caspian states that is grounded in an important international legal document, namely the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea that was signed at Aktau Summit. This document reflects in a condensed form the results of the long negotiation process between the coastal states. It opens great opportunities for establishing a full-fledged and long-term multilateral cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
According to the conceptual vision of the organizers, the agenda of the First Caspian Economic Forum will cover a wide range of issues that will later provide a basis for promising areas of partnership among the participating states. The forum participants will discuss important topics such as boosting trade and economic relations, including those focused on implementing large-scale infrastructure and logistics projects. The forum is expected to discuss prospects of integrating the Caspian region in the global economic interaction and enhancing its investment attractiveness in industry, energy, trade and tourism. The forum will also focus on cooperation in the field of environmental protection and preservation of the unique Caspian biodiversity.
Along with other important events, the coordination center for preparation and holding of the First Caspian Economic Forum is working on the programs of the International Conference and the Caspian Exhibition of Innovative Technologies. Government officials, representatives of the private sector and businessmen will also hold meetings and negotiations on the sidelines of the forum.
The forum will see the participation of delegations of the Caspian states, including heads and members of government, heads of coastal regions and regional executive bodies, representatives of the banking sector and business circles of the Caspian region, companies doing business in the Caspian Sea, the scientific and expert community. It is expected that delegations from non-regional countries, first of all those closest to the Caspian region, international economic and financial institutions will also attend the forum.
The forum organizers emphasize that the upcoming event aims to give a powerful creative impetus to economic, commercial, investment cooperation in the Caspian Sea and adjacent regions, making the Caspian Sea one of the largest transport and transit hubs of international importance that plays a crucial role in shaping a new geo-economic space in Eurasia.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005