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Spring marathon of Turkmenbashi
This spring was very fruitful for Turkmenistan by it's international meetings. Over the three spring month the President Niyazov met with the head of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, the Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, Iranian president Mohamad Khatami, Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, Russian president Vladimir Putin, hosted the Caspian summit, hold negotiations with the US Defence Minister Donald Ramsfeld and assistant to the US State Secretary Elizabeth Johnes, with the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Lebedev. There were other international contacts. More than 20 documents and agreements are signed, including the ones on foreign trade for hundreds of millions of dollars. Among the most important documents are Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation with the Russian Federation, Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation with the Republic of Belarus, Agreement on Further Development of Interstate relations with Ukraine, signed alike documents with Iran and Afghanistan. As a result Turkmenistan starts full-scale cooperation with Afghanistan and Belarus, forwards relations with Russia, Ukraine and Iran on a new level, relations with the US are expanded, in political and military sphere in particular. All these efforts resulted in strengthening of regional and international position of the state, its place as a reliable and predictable partner.

Another aspect is the position of Turkmenistan regarding the Caspian issue. Regardless variety of comments of the summit's results, it became one of the major international event within the past several months. The Summit of the Caspian littoral states in Ashkhabad confirmed existence of serious discord as for the legal status of the Caspian Sea. However, it confirms the readiness of the sides to look for ways out of deadlock. Outstanding services of the Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov are obvious. He had initiated and organized the Caspian summit. The position of the Turkmen position regarding the determination of the Caspian legal status is very firm and does not need any advertising, for the firmness of the Turkmen President in many of issues of national interests of the country is well known. Even the position of Turkmenbashi at the summit - host - did not affect Niyazov's position while presenting the position of the country regarding the questionable issues. He showed that he is a man of principle, openly presenting his viewpoint and firmly staying on his ground.

A rather intensive spring schedule of the president Niyazov is not exhausted yet. He has to visit Islamabad, where a tripartite meeting between the leaders of Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan will take place on May 29-30 on implementation of Transafghan gas main.


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By Serdar Durdiyev

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