Statement by Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the CIS heads of government council meeting (Ashgabat, November 22, 2007)
Distinguished heads of government!
Distinguished members of delegations!
I would like to welcome you to Ashgabat and wish you fruitful work at the CIS heads of government meeting.
I would also like to thank the CIS Executive Committee for the great job to ensure the high organizational level of the meeting.
The discussion of important issues of cooperation and signing of a number of documents are expected at the meeting in accordance with its agenda. The majority of items on the meeting's agenda are the follow up on the agreements reached at the CIS summit in Dushanbe on October 5 this year.
Giving economic problems the priority consideration at the current meeting is worth supporting. In our opinion, the economy is the main vector determining the level and content of a long-term partnership.
There is every condition for this, the prominent of which is the steady social-economic growth in all CIS countries. According to statistics, the CIS economic growth is steady and dynamic. For example, the average economic growth of CIS countries totaled 7% in 2006. This figure may grow even further by the end of 2007. In particular, the economic growth in Turkmenistan exceeded 20%, and other CIS countries reported high economic performance too.
There is no fall in GDP in any of CIS countries. At the same time, it should be said that this growth is mostly fuelled by the positive showings of industry.
It should be also noted that the CIS foreign trade has grown in recent years.
These positive trends surely necessitate the search for and implementation of mutually acceptable projects in different spheres of economies among our countries. In this regard, it would be worthwhile to study more closely possible areas of joint work and to draw up promising projects and programmes on the basis this study.
One of such areas is the transportation-communications sphere. As is known, at the CIS summit in Dushanbe this sphere was singled out as the priority area of cooperation in 2008. That is why it is very important that the CIS heads of government council will discuss issues related mainly to major aspects of development of civil aviation as well as motor transportation services.
In this context, Turkmenistan has put forward a number of initiatives on creating transport corridors, including railway and sea routes. Great possibilities will open up for the CIS countries in the field of cargo transportation on the north-south and west-east routes if ferry services link sea ports of Turkmenbasy, Aktau and Astrakhan and railway lines link Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and further run to Iran.
Calculations prove that these projects will be economically viable and will help reduce travel time of cargo missions. With this in mind, we propose to develop our cooperation in the field of transportation.
In our view, mutual investment activities are another important area for cooperation in the CIS. CIS partners should not to limit themselves to investments in the oil, gas, construction and transport spheres only. Tourism, recreation, production of ecologically healthy foodstuffs, clothes and other industries are also attractive from the point of view of investments.
For example, the project on development of the free tourist zone Avaza on the Caspian shore has already found a great response abroad which is evidenced by the results of tenders and presentations conducted this year. Turkmenistan's own investments in this project are estimated at more than one billion dollars. Offers from many other foreign partners of Turkmenistan keep coming.
The same can be said about other industries such as agriculture, the processing and food industries. CIS countries have gained vast experience in agro-industrial complex which can be and should be used in the context of development of cooperation between our countries.
In short, trade and investments that are based on the developed transport and communications infrastructure are the important areas that could serve as a basis to deepen our equal and mutually beneficial relations within the CIS.
Distinguished members of delegations!
The target expansion of cultural and humanitarian ties should take an important place in development of cooperation between CIS countries. Turkmenistan is ready to offer specific forms of cooperation. We are ready to consider the possibility of organizing international sport games of the CIS countries, as well as theatrical and concert events with the participation of art groups from the CIS countries in Ashgabat.
Apart from that, improving the education system and science is a priority for us. In this respect, we attach great importance to international cooperation, sharing experience and implementation of specific projects and programmes within the CIS.
In conclusion, I wish you productive exchange of views and successful work.