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Ashgabat hosted the first-ever trilateral summit of President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The Ashgabat summit was intended to lay the ground for the further development of mutually beneficial multifaceted cooperation in the interests of well-being of the three participating countries and the region as a whole.
Itís no secret that the Turkmen-Tajik and the Turkmen-Uzbek relations have reached a qualitatively new level in recent years. The desire to strengthen traditional relations, the similarity of long-term interests in the light of key trends in the international politics and broad opportunities for interaction provide a solid foundation for the three countries that demonstrate their commitment to joining efforts for the common good. Turkmenistan effectively cooperates with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the political-diplomatic sphere, which is primarily due to the similarity or commonality of their approaches to topical issues on the regional and global agenda.
The sides expressed their commitment to the productive dialogue from the very first minutes of the summit. At the International Airport of the Turkmen capital, the distinguished guests were welcomed by the national leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty (Peopleís Council) of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Bilateral talks were held at the airport between the Head of the Peopleís Council and the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
From the airport, the distinguished guests proceeded to ďArkadagĒ hotel in Ashgabat, where they held bilateral meetings with President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov. Then, the heads of state discussed a number of issues relating to development of regional partnership in relevant areas at a tripartite summit.
Opening the summit, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that the first meeting of the heads of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in a trilateral format is a significant and deeply natural event that corresponds to the logic of consistent cooperation between the three countries.
As the President of Turkmenistan emphasized, close cooperation, alignment of priorities, coordination of development plans is in tune with the call of the time, meeting the fundamental interests of our peoples, capacities and needs of national economies. It is also important that the sides build their relations on modern principles, rely on a common civilizational foundation, use centuries-old positive experience, thereby ensuring historical continuity in the current geopolitical and economic conditions.
It was noted that the serious issues on the agenda of the trilateral summit are directly related to the tasks and prospects of regional development. Therefore, the current summit is an important building block of the five-sided interaction within the framework of the Consultative Meetings of the Heads of State of Central Asia and a natural complement and enrichment of this format.
Having named sustainable water supply among the most topical issues for the regional countries, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasized the importance of establishment of mechanisms for efficient management of water resources, implementation of practical steps in this direction. The point is about introduction of water-saving technologies, modernization of existing water facilities, other relevant measures and conceptual technological solutions that would make it possible to meet the water needs of our countries in full and taking into account mutual interests. One such solution could be the possibility of creating a water pipeline infrastructure.
Energy is one of the most important areas of partnership. In this context, the President of Turkmenistan spoke about the importance of establishing a cooperation model that would respond to the growing energy needs of the three countries and ensure the necessary margin of safety for national energy systems.
It was emphasized that achieving these strategic goals would require a systematic, substantive approach. In this area, there are already certain developments and good examples of cooperation, in particular, in the electric power industry. In general, Turkmenistan is ready to continue such cooperation, making it sustainable. Along with this, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov put forward an initiative to establish long-term trilateral cooperation in the gas industry.
Cooperation between Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also prioritizes the transport sector. These countries occupy a key geographical position in the transport and transit communication between Asia and Europe. This opens up tremendous opportunities for establishing a full-fledged logistics hub on the territories of the three states, connecting the two parts of the Eurasian continent. In this context, the President of Turkmenistan spoke in favor of combining efforts to form a unified transport strategy. It was also noted that cooperation in this area can largely ensure reaching agreements with international partners.
At the same time, the President of Turkmenistan stressed the importance of more focused joint conduct of coordinated transport diplomacy at the international arena that implies active work with specialized structures, such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the International Road Transport Union, the Organization for Cooperation of Railways.
In addition, important issues of trilateral cooperation such as increasing trade turnover, industrial cooperation, promoting partnerships between small and medium-sized businesses and encouraging investment activities should be also taken into consideration.
The President of Turkmenistan expressed confidence that the summit would become a landmark event in the development of multifaceted cooperation, serve strengthening of brotherhood, good neighborliness and mutual respect between our states and peoples.
In his statement, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon emphasized the importance of the Ashgabat Summit as a new important chapter in the history of traditionally friendly interstate relations. In his opinion, the summit confirmed strong determination of the three countries to further develop a diverse strategic partnership, filling it with new practical content for the benefit of the fraternal peoples.
The head of Tajikistan noted that Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan steadily develop a political dialogue. A new dynamic has been given to cooperation in the trade, economic, humanitarian and cultural spheres, where the three countries have accumulated solid experience. Guided by the especial importance of the tasks relating to the efficient water use, the sides systematically interact in this area. He also called for the intensification of partnerships in the transport sector that will further contribute to the sustainability of national economies. The Tajik leader invited his colleagues to visit Tajikistan and take part in the upcoming international events in Dushanbe.
As the President of Uzbekistan noted, the dialogue between states rooted in the historical traditions of friendship and good neighborliness, commonality of long-term goals and interests, acquires a qualitatively new content. A steady growth has been observed in almost all areas of cooperation in recent years.
According to him, the three neighboring countries have great opportunities for building up mutually beneficial cooperation in trade, economic, investment, energy, transport, communications and other areas. Agriculture and water management is also an important area. In this regard, a number of proposals were put forward, including enhancing cooperation in the field of introducing advanced water-saving technologies, digitalization of water management processes, using the capacity of IFAS in these matters, as well as cooperation through partner organizations and structures.
Speaking in support of Turkmenistanís initiatives to intensify fruitful partnership in various fields, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed confidence that this meeting would give regional cooperation a qualitatively new impetus.
At the summit, the floor was given to Deputy Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Philip Saprykin, who spoke about the activities of the UNRCCA. As he emphasized, the region states have achieved significant success over the past 30 years of progressive development. Central Asia is now in many aspects a model of regional cooperation. The Central Asian countries are making a significant contribution to counteracting global challenges, in response to which the UN Secretary General has put forward a New Agenda for Peace.
In the context of the key factors of sustainable socio-economic development of Central Asia, including water, ecology and climate change, it was noted that the Ashgabat Summit is evidence of the three countriesí commitment to join efforts in resolving these issues. It was noted that the Central Asian countries did a lot of joint work to achieve the SDGs and continue to take the necessary measures to strengthen regional cooperation in the above and other areas. In this regard, there was also stressed the importance of the consultative meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia, the results of which will guide the activities of UNRCCA in areas related to its mandate.
Then, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov delivered closing remarks for the summit participants. He expressed appreciation of the constructive and thorough exchange of views and many useful and specific proposals aimed at enhancing cooperation and taking effective measures in response to new challenges of our time. As the President of Turkmenistan noted, the current summit once again confirmed the political will and desire of our states to join efforts to ensure peace, security and sustainable development, and create a climate of trust and mutual understanding in the region.
The trilateral summit resulted in the adoption of Joint Statement of the Heads of State of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The outcomes of the summit were summarized at a briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, where the heads of the foreign ministries of the three countries made statements for press.
It was noted at the briefing that the participants of the trilateral summit paid special attention to the development of partnerships in three priority areas Ė efficient use of the water resources of the Amu Darya river, development of energy cooperation and strengthening of partnerships in transport and logistics. The foreign ministers of the three states also noted that the summit confirmed their countriesí commitment to give traditional interstate relations a qualitatively new impetus for development.
After the official closure of the summit program, the Presidents of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan left Ashgabat.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005