PUTTING PRIORITY ON MUTUAL BENEFIT
The outcomes of the Ashgabat meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State can be rightfully termed the beginning of a new stage in multilateral mutually beneficial relations in the CIS space. Important agreements were reached in the Turkmen capital that largely determine the course and nature of cooperation between the countries of the region for the coming decades.
The meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Moldova Igor Dodon, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan.
Having approved the rules of procedure and agenda of the meeting, the heads of state held talks in a narrow format in which they discussed the topical issues relating to development of cooperation within the CIS and the current state of the world. The leaders of the CIS countries focused on the problems relating to ensuring peace and security, the situation in Afghanistan, expansion of partnerships in the economic sphere and humanitarian issues.
During the narrow format talks chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the sides discussed the term of office of the Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan noted that Sergey Lebedev, whose term of office expires this December, had served in the current role for many years. According to the Turkmen leader, Sergey Lebedev is dedicated to his work, demonstrates great responsibility and does a lot for the preservation and development of the CIS. Berdimuhamedov emphasized that the Russian Federation proposed to extend Lebedev's term of office for another three-year period and the heads of delegations supported this proposal.
After announcing the agreed decision, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov congratulated Sergey Lebedev on behalf of all those present on extending his term of office for another three years.
Then, the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State continued in an extended format, at which the President of Turkmenistan delivered a speech. He noted that the purpose of the current meeting was to give new impetus to the work of the CIS, bring it to a level that would correspond to the realities and trends of modern development, ensure the CIS capacity to adequately and timely respond to changes in the international and regional agenda.
The head of state informed his CIS colleagues that next year Turkmenistan would celebrate the 25th anniversary of the status of permanent neutrality recognized by the UN.
"Over these years, thanks to its proactive position, our state has repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of the practical application of the principles of neutralism in addressing various international problems," Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized. According to him, on many occasions Turkmenistan's neutral status has been a factor in strengthening regional and international stability and security, developing multilateral economic and humanitarian cooperation.
According to the head of state, the advantages of neutrality as a political and legal category capable of becoming an effective tool of the UN diplomatic arsenal will be discussed at an international conference on peace, security and sustainable development in Ashgabat on 12 December 2020. Taking the opportunity, the Turkmen leader invited all CIS heads of state and heads of delegations to participate in this conference and other events marking the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan's neutrality.
Speaking to the summit participants, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov announced that according to the decision made by the CIS Council of Heads of State at the narrow format talks the Republic of Uzbekistan would assume chairmanship of the CIS beginning 1 January 2020. Then, the Turkmen leader gave the floor to President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who presented the concept of his country's chairmanship of the CIS and outlined its main goals and objectives.
Then, the President of Turkmenistan announced his decision to confer the Order of Bitaraplyk (Neutrality) on the CIS Executive Committee Chairman, Sergey Lebedev. The Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee was awarded the high decoration for his great personal contribution to the strengthening of the permanent neutrality of independent Turkmenistan, his active participation in the international life and his great services to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between countries and peoples.
Then, there was held a ceremony of presenting the medal of the CIS Council for Humanitarian Cooperation and the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation (IFHC) "For Merits in Development of Humanitarian Cooperation" to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The medal was handed over to the Turkmen leader by the Chairman of the Board of the IFHC, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia Polad Bulbul Oglu; the Co-chair of the IFHC board, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for international cultural cooperation Mikhail Shvydkoy; and Executive Director of the IFHC Anatoly Iksanov.
The awarding ceremony was followed by the ceremony of signing the outcome documents of the summit of the CIS Heads of State. The CIS leaders adopted the Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation of the CIS Countries. They also adopted the Address by the Heads of the CIS countries to the peoples of the CIS and the international community in connection with the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and a number of other documents.
The Ashgabat Summit results were summed up at a press conference with participation of the Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev, and the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov.
On the same day, the President of Turkmenistan hosted an official reception in honor of the heads of delegations of the CIS countries. Later, the distinguished guests left Ashgabat.
A day earlier, the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan hosted a meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers. The CIS foreign ministers reviewed draft documents aimed at the deepening of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, ensuring security and other areas.
Following the discussions, the sides agreed to adopt an Action Program to intensify partnerships between the CIS foreign ministries. The adoption of this document was initiated by Turkmenistan. According to the Turkmen side, the document will make the joint work more focused and specific and ensure the most favorable conditions for a concerted action on pressing issues on the international agenda.
As was noted at the meeting, Ashgabat deems it important to strengthen political and diplomatic cooperation by enhancing partnerships between the foreign ministries of the CIS countries and create mechanisms for systematic multilateral political consultations based on the medium-term action program in this area.
The meeting also finalized draft documents for signing at the CIS Council of Heads of State.
The CIS foreign ministers were also invited to participate in the International Conference on Peace, Security and Sustainable Development, to be held in Turkmenistan on 12 December 2020, and attend festivities marking the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan's neutrality. The meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers concluded with a briefing for Turkmen and foreign press.
It is now clear that the meeting of the CIS Heads of State in Ashgabat has identified the key areas for development of mutually beneficial partnerships that have found reflection in the Joint Declaration on Strategic Economic Cooperation.
According to international political scientists and analysts, Turkmenistan's focus on giving new impetus to multilateral relations in the CIS is based on the balance of national and regional interests and aimed at strengthening the CIS role, reputation and influence in the global economy.
The nature of the meetings and negotiations held during the summit of the CIS heads of state, the participants' determination to enhance the dialogue, the agreements reached with the view of strengthening and expanding the toolbox of the long-term partnership - all this suggests that the Ashgabat forum will become a starting point in bringing cooperation between the CIS countries to a qualitatively new level.