During his working visit to Dushanbe, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov attended the fifth consultative meeting of the heads of Central Asian states. President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who took part in the meeting as an honorary guest, also arrived in the capital of Tajikistan to participate in the summit.
Following the joint photo ceremony against the backdrop of the national flags of the participating countries, the summit meeting took place. Welcoming the distinguished guests, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon noted that today the states of Central Asia demonstrate stable dynamics of interaction in political, trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other areas. Having presented the agenda of the meeting, the Tajik leader also noted that the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty (People’s Council) of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was invited to the current summit and would be awarded a Budge of Honor of the heads of Central Asian states for his enormous personal contribution to the strengthening of peace and security in the region and development of interstate cooperation. Then, the President of Tajikistan gave the floor to the heads of Central Asian states.
In his statement, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said that expansion of interstate trade and economic relations and increasing the mutual trade turnover is the most important task facing the countries of the region. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan proposed to consider the issue of creating a Central Asian Chamber of Commerce.
He also noted that innovation and new technologies is another area where the interests and goals of the Central Asian states must be reliably ensured and implemented. According to the head of Turkmenistan, giving the economies of the states of the region a pronounced innovative character and digital dimension is a task of paramount importance, and it is better to do this together. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan proposed establishing a Council of Central Asian Countries on New Technologies that would coordinate joint efforts in this area.
According to him, the energy sector is another key component of the Central Asian economies. The head of state noted in this regard that Turkmenistan is ready to supply its natural gas and electricity to the countries of Central Asia and through their territories to foreign markets on mutually beneficial terms. “In this aspect, it seems relevant to establish a new form of five-sided interaction – the Energy Dialogue of Central Asian Countries,” Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
The head of Turkmenistan cited the transport sector among the strategic areas of interaction. He emphasized that through joint efforts favorable conditions are gradually being created for freight and passenger traffic between the states of Central Asia, as well as with other regions of the Eurasian continent. “In this regard, it is proposed to consider the prospects of launching a Central Asian transport and logistics platform. Its main task could be addressing the issues relating to establishment of transport hubs in the region, creation of new and enhancing the efficiency of existing transit corridors, optimization and harmonization of customs, migration and other procedures along international transport routes passing through the territories of our states,” the President of Turkmenistan said.
In conclusion, Serdar Berdimuhamedov confirmed Turkmenistan’s readiness to expand and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the states of Central Asia.
In their statements, the heads of friendly states noted that the format of the consultative meetings proved its validity and effectiveness. According to them, this format makes it possible to define priority vectors of partnership in an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, which is an important factor in the progressive development of the region. The results of the fifth consultative meeting of the heads of Central Asian states were reflected in the joint statement, which confirmed the readiness of the parties to further develop the full-scale cooperation.
In addition, within the framework of the summit, there were signed an agreement on strengthening the interconnectedness of land transport in Central Asia; the Dushanbe communique of the first meeting of the ministers of transport of the Central Asian states; an agreement between the Central Asian states on general directions of youth policy. There was also adopted a provision on the Council of National Coordinators for consultative meetings of the heads of Central Asian states.
At the end of the meeting, a solemn ceremony was held to award the Badge of Honor of the heads of Central Asian states to the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who was in Dushanbe on a working visit.
The high award was presented by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. The Tajik leader said that the heads of Central Asian states made a joint decision to award the Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, with the Badge of Honor of the heads of Central Asian states. He was awarded this budge for his outstanding contribution to strengthening relations of friendship and good neighborliness between the states of the region, promoting the common interests and initiatives of the Central Asian countries in the international arena.
In a solemn atmosphere, to the applause of the summit participants, Emomali Rahmon presented Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the Badge of Honor of the heads of Central Asian states.
The head of the People’s Council of Turkmenistan expressed gratitude for this high award. He emphasized that, for his part, he will continue to promote the strengthening of friendly and good-neighborly relations connecting the countries of Central Asia.
Then, the heads of state proceeded to the Kohi Borbad State Complex to attend a concert of masters of culture and art from Central Asian countries titled “Evening of Friendship”. After the concert, the heads of state proceeded to the International Exhibition Center, where they viewed an exhibition of commodity producers from Central Asian countries.
During his working visit to the Republic of Tajikistan, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov took part in the regular summit of heads of state – founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).
The five-party summit in Dushanbe was also attended by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Adylbek Kasymaliev as an observer.
Speaking at the summit, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that the Aral problem went far beyond the region and became a global problem that requires the same global response. The head of state emphasized that Turkmenistan would continue advocating for the implementation of specific initiatives of the founding countries of IFAS with the view of enhancing regional interaction and forming systemic mechanisms for cooperation in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development in the Central Asian region.
The President of Turkmenistan noted the importance of more dynamic interaction between the fund and international financial institutions and donors to implement projects and programs related to solving a wide range of issues that currently exist in the Aral Sea basin. According to the head of state, the efforts of the countries of the region should be focused on solving economic and social problems for decades to come.
In his statement, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov especially emphasized promoting water diplomacy in the region. He noted that Ashgabat, during its chairmanship of IFAS, initiated the development of a Central Asian water strategy that would enshrine the basic principles and rules of political and diplomatic interaction between the states of the region on water issues based on respect, equal partnership and taking into account the interests of all countries in the region. According to the head of Turkmenistan, the Central Asian water strategy could become the basis for development of a UN global water strategy in the future.
In conclusion, the President of Turkmenistan expressed confidence that the current meeting would give positive impetus to the promotion of common interests.
In the course of the meeting, the summit participants summed up the results of the recent joint work, discussed new directions for the further five-sided interaction and new forms of partnership between IFAS and international structures, primarily with the UN. The results of discussion of a wide range of issues to solve the problems of the Aral Sea basin were reflected in the Dushanbe statement adopted by the heads of state – the founders of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.