ALL ROUND PARTNERSHIP
The arrival in Ashgabat at the beginning of the calendar year of a high-level Russian delegation headed by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation was an important milestone in the permanent process of development and strengthening of multifaceted cooperation between Turkmenistan and Russia.
As part of this visit, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov held talks with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. During the one-on-one talks and a meeting with participation of the two delegations, the sides discussed issues relating to increasing trade and economic cooperation, bilateral trade turnover, expanding cooperation in engineering, energy, oil and gas, agriculture and digital economy.
Particular attention was paid to the development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and a number of regions of the Russian Federation, including Republic of Tatarstan, Astrakhan region, St. Petersburg and others.
A number of bilateral documents were signed on the outcomes of the talks, including an agreement on cooperation in the sphere of migration, an agreement on cooperation between OJSC “Transport and Logistics Center of Turkmenistan” and JSC “Special Economic Zone – Lotos”, memorandums of understanding on training of personnel for customs departments, on cooperation in the sphere of fisheries, on creation of the logistics center of Turkmenistan in the special economic port zone of Astrakhan region.
President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov also met with the head of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, who arrived in Ashgabat as part of the high-level Russian delegation. During the talks, the sides exchanged views on the current state and priorities of the Turkmen-Tatarstan cooperation. It was noted that interaction in the fuel and energy sector, in the sphere of transport, in the textile industry, agriculture, machine and shipbuilding occupies a special place in the multifaceted bilateral partnership. Expressing satisfaction with the high pace of development of trade and economic relations, the head of state and his guest stressed the importance of building up contacts in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. Prospects of partnership in the field of science, education and sports were a separate topic of the talks.
Priority areas for development of interstate relations were discussed at a meeting between Speaker of the Khalk Maslakhaty of the Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, during which Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized the fruitful nature of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of healthcare. The sides also exchanged views on expansion of cooperation in the trade and economic sector, energy, industry, digitalization, transport as well as in the cultural and humanitarian sphere. During the talks, it was noted that along with partnership in the political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres Turkmen-Russian relations are enriched by active inter-parliamentary contacts.
The Turkmen-Russian business forum was the major chord of the Russian delegation’s visit to the hospitable Turkmen land. It has been quite a long time since the business circles of the two countries were represented at such scale at the negotiating tables. The Russian delegation at the forum was headed by the Prime Minister personally. The Russian delegation included the heads of a number of subjects of the Russian Federation, heads and leading specialists of ministries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, as well as companies and enterprises operating in various sectors of the economy.
The Turkmen delegation consisted of members of government, heads and specialists of ministries, departments, state concerns, associations, committees, banks and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.
Round tables were held in the first half of the day, during which the sides had a lively exchange of views on new opportunities for cooperation in the field of industrial cooperation, construction production, transport, innovation and information technologies. In the afternoon, a plenary session of the business forum was held. It was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Speaking at the forum, the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan noted that such an impressive composition of the Russian delegation, its high level and wide geographical representation testify to the great interest in cooperation with Turkmenistan, understanding of the prospects and opportunities that are opening up. According to him, Ashgabat views the current economic forum as an important stage in the development of the entire Turkmen-Russian strategic partnership, which is designed to give it a new impetus and effective incentives, primarily in the economic component of bilateral relations.
The Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan emphasized that bilateral cooperation is increasing in the gas, oil and electricity sectors. He noted the growing activities of Russian companies Tatneft and Gazprom in the Turkmen market. The Foreign Minister also said that in the sphere of electrical power engineering work is currently underway on a project that would engage JSC “Power Machines” in the modernization of the Mary hydroelectric power station and a thermal power plant in the city of Turkmenbashi.
In turn, speaking at the forum, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin noted that this was the first such a large-scale business forum in the history of the Russian-Turkmen relations. He expressed confidence that this event would help establish new contacts between entrepreneurs of the two countries and lay the foundation for many promising projects.
The global financial and economic architecture is currently being reshaped. This is not only a time of great challenges but also a period when new opportunities are opening up, first of all, for strengthening sovereignty in various areas, including economic, financial and technological. Mikhail Mishustin said.
According to Mishustin, the transport-transit sector is one of the main areas of the Turkmen-Russian partnership. In this regard, the head of the Russian government noted that Russia and Turkmenistan are working on development of the international transport corridor (ITC) “North-South” and ensuring its full traffic capacity. The sides are also discussing a joint road project on construction of a highway along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea.
“The goods turnover at the Russian and Turkmen ports in the Caspian Sea and supply of railway locomotives, freight and passenger cars should be increased,” Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said.
In his speech, Mikhail Mishustin invited representatives of Turkmenistan to participate in a number of major events scheduled for the first half of the year in Russia, including the international economic forum “Russia – the Islamic world”, meetings of the CIS Council of Heads of Government, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, the international exhibition of cooperation projects “Eurasia is our home”, the Eurasian Congress and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Other speakers at the forum emphasized the progressive nature of development of bilateral relations and the importance of continuing the realization of partnership potential between Turkmenistan and Russia in various fields.
At the end of the plenary session, it was noted that such meetings contribute to the effective implementation of the huge potential for strengthening bilateral relations, create opportunities for developing popular forms of interaction, taking into account modern realities and plans for the future.
As part of his official visit to Turkmenistan, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin visited the joint Turkmen-Russian secondary school named after A. S. Pushkin. Speaking to the school staff and students, the distinguished guest noted that relations between Turkmenistan and Russia have lately received a powerful impetus for development and reached a qualitatively new level. Mishustin also stressed that special attention is paid to the sphere of education as part of bilateral humanitarian cooperation.
The groundwork for the future that was created at the beginning of the year gives us every reason to believe that Moscow and Ashgabat are moving towards greater efficiency of joint projects by increasing the potential for cooperation.