President Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV: Turkmen Energy Resources and Logistics can Strengthen the Economy of the Entire Region

The President of Turkmenistan Takes Part in the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia

The President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov left on a working visit for the Republic of Tajikistan to participate in the Fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and in the meeting of the Council of Heads of Founding States of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS).

At the International Airport of the capital, the Head of Turkmenistan was seen off by officials.

In the conversation between President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan to our country Vafo Niyatbekzoda, which took place in the air harbour, the traditionally friendly and trusting nature of the bilateral relations, progressively developing across their entire spectrum, was emphasised. In this context, confidence was expressed that the visit and participation of President Serdar

Berdimuhamedov in the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the IFAS Summit would serve to the further expansion of the fruitful Turkmen-Tajik partnership and would also become an effective contribution to the development of the constructive mutually beneficial cooperation in the region.

Upon arrival at the Dushanbe International Airport, where the State Flags of the countries of Central Asia and the Republic of Azerbaijan had been raised on flagpoles, and a guard of honour had been lined up, the President of Turkmenistan was met by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda and other officials. According to the established good tradition of hospitality, the Head of the Turkmen state was presented with flowers.

During the conversation between President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda that took place there, the high level of the Turkmen-Tajik relations, developing along an ascending line and enriching their content from year to year, was noted with satisfaction.

Noting the successful interaction of our countries in both bilateral and multilateral formats, the Head of Turkmenistan and the Head of the Government of Tajikistan expressed confidence that the Summit Meetings in Dushanbe, the agenda of which would include a wide range of interaction issues, would give a powerful impetus to increasing the interstate cooperation and bringing it to qualitatively new frontiers.

In this context, it should be noted that strengthening and expanding effective partnerships with neighbouring states in the region, with whose peoples the Turkmen people are united by strong ties of friendship, cultural and civilisational community and historically established bonds, is one of the priority areas of the foreign policy of our independent and neutral Motherland. This creative, peace-loving strategy, initiated by the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and now consistently implemented by President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, has received universal support and recognition from the international community.

Advocating for a systematic and balanced approach to issues of regional cooperation, taking into account the interests of all parties, based on mutual respect and goodwill, Turkmenistan puts forward specific proposals in this direction. In this context, it should be noted that our country has repeatedly become the venue for regional summit meetings.

From the International Airport, the Head of Turkmenistan proceeded to the Government Residence. There, before the start of the Central Asian Summit, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov met with the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.

Warmly welcoming the distinguished guest, President Emomali Rahmon stressed he was sincerely glad to once again receive President Serdar Berdimuhamedov in Tajikistan, expressing confidence that the visit of the Head of Turkmenistan would serve to the further strengthening of the traditional interstate dialogue.

Expressing gratitude to his Tajik counterpart for the invitation to visit Dushanbe to participate in international events at the highest level, the President of Turkmenistan thanked for the hospitality provided and the favourable conditions created for joint work.

At the end of the meeting, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and President Emomali Rahmon wished strong health and every success in their responsible government activity to each other and also peace, prosperity and wellbeing to the peoples of both countries.

Then the President of Turkmenistan proceeded to the Qasri Millat Palace, which became the venue for the Fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia.

There, the distinguished guest was warmly greeted by President Emomali Rahmon. The Head of Turkmenistan and the Head of the Republic of Tajikistan took photographs for memory against the background of the State Flags of the countries participating in the Summit.

The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev as a guest of honour also arrived to participate in the forum in Dushanbe.

After the ceremony of official joint photographing against the background of the State Flags of the participating countries, the Summit Meeting took place in an extended format.

Cordially welcoming the distinguished guests and members of delegations to the Tajik land, President Emomali Rahmon noted the states of Central Asia were demonstrating the stable dynamics of interaction in the political, trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian and other fields. Our countries have close or similar positions within multilateral structures and mutually support each other in international and regional organisations. With outlining the further comprehensive development of cooperation among the Central Asian states on the basis of the historically established relations as the common priority task for the future and voicing the agenda of the meeting, the Tajik leader also noted that the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had been invited to the Summit and would be presented with the Badge of Honour of the Heads of State of Central Asia for his enormous personal contribution to strengthening peace and security in the region and developing the interstate cooperation.

Then the President of Tajikistan gave the floor to the heads of friendly states.

At the beginning of his speech, addressing the participants of the Consultative Meeting, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon for his warm hospitality and the excellent conditions created for fruitful joint work. The Head of Turkmenistan also greeted the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, who participated in the Summit as an honorary guest.

The President of Turkmenistan emphasised our country attached fundamental importance to the format of the Consultative Meetings of the Heads of State of Central Asia as an interstate mechanism intended to become a guarantor of maintaining an atmosphere of friendship, good neighbourliness and constructive regional cooperation in the interests of our peoples.

During that day’s meeting, issues of the further development of the partnership were discussed in order to strengthen political interaction, to ensure sustainable economic growth, to deepen humanitarian ties and to jointly

respond to challenges and threats to regional security. Of course, when setting specific goals before ourselves, we proceed from the fact that the key condition for achieving them is lasting and long-term peace, security and stability in our region, based on mutual respect, the consideration of interest and adherence to the recognised norms of international law and the United Nations Charter.

Speaking about this, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted the special significance of the UN General Assembly Resolution of July 28, 2022, declaring Central Asia a Zone of Peace, Trust and Cooperation. We considered the adoption of that document as an important step towards strengthening the atmosphere of mutual understanding and cooperation in the region, transforming Central Asia into a space of lasting peace and security for solving economic, environmental and humanitarian problems and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the Head of Turkmenistan said.

Our country will continue to actively work in this direction during the forthcoming 78th session of the UN General Assembly. We intended to propose a number of initiatives for consideration by the world community, including those directly related to the development of our region, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted. In particular, this is the creation, under the auspices of the UN, of a meeting of the Dialogue on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia. Its goal is to develop approaches and solutions aimed at bringing together and synchronising the efforts of the countries of the region in ensuring its sustainable and conflict-free development. The Turkmen party is ready to hold the first meeting of such a Dialogue in 2024.

Among other initiatives of our country, the Head of Turkmenistan named the beginning of consultations with relevant United Nations agencies to determine the optimal format and structure of the UN Special Programme for the Aral Sea Basin and the establishment of a specialised structure – the Regional Centre for Technologies Related to Climate Change in Central Asia. Turkmenistan is ready to provide all the necessary infrastructure to host this Centre in Ashgabat.

Outlining expanding interstate trade and economic relations and increasing the volume of mutual trade turnover as the most important tasks, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted extreme specificity and effective measures were required there. In this regard, Turkmenistan proposes to consider the issue of establishing a Central Asian Chamber of Commerce. The meaning and purpose of its activities are to coordinate joint steps in the development of trade, to ensure the commercial interests of all potential economic entities in the Central Asian market and to attract investments for the implementation of big regional projects.

Another area where the interests and goals of the Central Asian states must be reliably ensured and realised and where we cannot allow a lag under any circumstances is innovations and new technologies, the Head of Turkmenistan further stressed. Our countries have a great potential for innovative growth, good scientific schools and technological developments.

It is necessary to combine these advantages, to establish an exchange of experience, knowledge and skills, to jointly study and introduce advanced foreign competencies, to provide the most favourable conditions for the development of innovative knowledge and to encourage youth creative initiative. In this context, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that giving the economies of the countries of the region a pronounced innovative character and digital dimension was a task of paramount importance, and it was better to solve it together.

In this regard, it was proposed to establish a Council of Central Asian Countries on New Technologies, which will coordinate joint efforts in this direction. Such a Council could take on the functions of a think tank for the formation of a joint strategy of our states on new technologies, make relevant recommendations and develop specific proposals.

Another key component of the Central Asian economies is energy. The region was witnessing the process of forming political, legal and economic conditions for a sustainable energy partnership, focused both on meeting intraregional demand and on accessing world markets through international transit corridors, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov stated.

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. It seems possible to consider this proposal from the point of view of establishing long-term cooperation among our states. In this aspect, it seemed appropriate to create a new form of five-way interaction – the Energy Dialogue of Central Asian countries, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said.

The transport sector has been and remains a strategic component of cooperation. In this context, the Head of Turkmenistan emphasised joint efforts were gradually creating favourable conditions for freight and passenger traffic among the states of Central Asia and with other regions of the Eurasian continent.

In this regard, it was proposed to consider the possibility of launching a Central Asian transport and logistics platform. Its main task could be to consider the issues of creating transport hubs in the region, forming new and increasing the efficiency of existing transit corridors, optimising and harmonising customs, migration and other procedures along international transport routes passing through the territories of our states.

“I am confident that mutually beneficial cooperation in the above areas will give a good impetus for economic growth and will create the preconditions for the formation of conditions for broad intraregional and international integration in Central Asia,” President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted.

The key to the harmonious development of the region and its further prosperity is effective interaction in cultural and humanitarian issues. Today we can speak with satisfaction about significant progress and positive experience in successfully holding joint meetings of representatives of the creative intelligentsia, scientific conferences, exhibitions and other events.

We need to move further in this direction and to look for new forms and formats of communication. It was for those purposes that women’s, youth, cultural, scientific and educational forums were being held on the side-lines of the Fifth Summit, the Head of Turkmenistan said, expressing confidence that their results would become a solid basis for increasing the potential of the interstate cooperation in the above-mentioned sphere.

In conclusion, reaffirming our country’s readiness to expand and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the states of Central Asia, the Head of Turkmenistan expressed gratitude to his foreign counterparts and the members of delegations for their fruitful work.

In the speeches of the heads of the friendly states made during the Meeting, it was noted that the format of the Consultative Meetings had confirmed its consistency and effectiveness. It allows, in an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, to determine priority vectors of partnership, which is an important factor in the progressive development of the region.

It was emphasised that extensive experience in regional cooperation had been accumulated and had acquired new content in recent years. In this regard, a number of constructive proposals were voiced. Particular emphasis was also placed on the deep historical traditions of friendship and good neighbourliness among the countries and peoples of the region, which served as a good prerequisite for the further expansion of the mutually beneficial partnership across its entire range.

The results of the Fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia are reflected in the adopted Joint Statement, which confirms the readiness of the parties for the further full-format cooperation.

In addition, within the framework of the Summit, the Agreement on strengthening the interconnectedness of land transport in Central Asia, the Dushanbe Communiqué of the First Meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the Central Asian states and the Agreement between the Central Asian states on general directions of youth policy were signed, and the Regulations on the Council of National Coordinators for Consultative Meetings of Heads of State of Central Asia were adopted.

At the end of the Consultative Meeting, a solemn ceremony was held to award the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who was in Dushanbe on a working visit at the invitation of the Tajik leader, with the Badge of Honour of the Heads of State of Central Asia.

The Hero-Arkadag was presented with this high award for his outstanding services in developing relations of friendship and good neighbourliness, mutual understanding and cooperation between the states of Central Asia, strengthening peace and security in the region and promoting common interests and initiatives of Central Asian countries in the international community.

At the end of the ceremony, the heads of state proceeded to the Kohi Borbad State Complex. A concert of masters of culture and art from Central Asian countries entitled “Evening of Friendship” took place there.

At the end of the concert, the heads of state proceeded to the International Exhibition Centre, where an exhibition of commodity producers from Central Asian countries took place.

The exposition, presented by Turkmenistan, provided a clear picture of the achievements and accomplishments of our country in all key sectors of the economy, including the private sector, the existing potential and opportunities for productive long-term interaction with foreign partners and the implementation of investment projects. All this was also reflected in videos that were shown on the monitors installed there.

After viewing the exhibition, the heads of state highly appreciated its organisation, noting the impressive potential and prospects of further building up and diversifying mutually beneficial cooperation among the countries of Central Asia.

After leaving the International Exhibition Centre, the leaders of friendly countries also examined specimens of agricultural, automotive and other specialised machinery produced in the countries of the region, which were displayed in the open area.

In honour of the distinguished guests, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan gave an official reception at the Kohi Istiqlol Palace.

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On the side-lines of the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia, a number of parallel events were held with the participation of the delegations from the countries of the region.

Thus, on September 13, on the eve of the Summits, a Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Central Asian States was held in Dushanbe. Particular attention was paid to the main issues on the agenda of the Dushanbe Summits. The heads of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the countries of the region reviewed the draft final documents of the Summits and exchanged views on the key areas of multilateral cooperation, including crucial regional and international aspects. During the Meeting, it was emphasised that the result of joint efforts is the comprehensive strengthening of the regional partnership aimed at ensuring peace, stability, security and sustainable development in Central Asia.

On the same day, the delegation of Turkmenistan also took part in the First Meeting of the Ministers of Transport of the Central Asian states, during which the need to further build up the regional potential in the transport and logistics sector and its optimal realisation was noted.

The programme of parallel events also included a number of specialised events in the areas of education, science, youth policy, volunteer movement and sports. Turkmenistan stands for expanding fruitful cooperation in these areas, putting forward specific proposals in this regard.

The delegation of our country also took part in the meeting held in Dushanbe in the format of the Women’s Dialogue of Central Asia. This structure, the first in the history of the region, is known to have been established in December 2020 by representatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan with the support of the United Nations.

The main topic of the meeting was the role of women in strengthening interstate cooperation, developing socioeconomic ties and humanitarian and cultural contacts. The agenda also included issues related to the participation of women in government and public activities, the implementation of changes and reforms, including the ensuring of gender equality and the protection of the rights and interests of women.

The meeting participants noted the importance of consolidating efforts for the fullest realisation of the creative and peace-making potential of women in the countries of the region, highlighting their desire to continue contributing to the strengthening of the fruitful interstate cooperation meeting the interests of common wellbeing.

The priority issues of interaction among Central Asian states in various sectors were discussed at an Economic Forum organised in the Tajik capital on the topic “Digital Economy, E-Commerce and Innovations”, in which representatives of the relevant ministries and departments of Turkmenistan took part.

Representatives of the delegation of our country took part in sessional discussions on the exchange of experience and prospects of the regional cooperation in the areas of the digital economy, the introduction of the e-government system and innovations.

As part of the Economic Forum, a presentation of the “smart” city of Arkadag took place.

The programme of events timed to coincide with the Summits included a large-scale exhibition of commodity producers from Central Asian states at the Dushanbe International Exhibition Centre and an exhibition of artists from the countries of the region at the National Museum of Tajikistan.

The members of the delegation of Turkmenistan also held bilateral meetings with their Tajik colleagues. The subject of interesting discussion and exchange of views was the prospects of cooperation in various spheres.