Igor Blatov, Ambassador of Russian Federation to Ashgabat, speaks about development of Russian-Turkmen partnership
Turkmen mass media published an article by Igor Blatov, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Turkmenistan, on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the adoption by the 1st Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialistic Republic of "Declaration on the state sovereignty of the Russian Federation". The most part of his article is dedicated to the development of relations between Russia and Turkmenistan. We publish an excerpt from the article by the head of Russian diplomatic mission in Ashgabat.
"The interstate relations between Russia and Turkmenistan are based on the principles of friendship, equality, neighborliness and mutual respect since their establishment, Igor Blatov noted. The Russian-Turkmen partnership meets the vital interests of our states and peoples.
We have established a solid legal basis in 15 years. It consists if some 100 interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental documents covering a wide range of political, economic, humanitarian and other areas of bilateral cooperation.
The talks between the presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan in Moscow on January 23 gave the new impetus to this productive and multipronged cooperation. The leaders of our countries discussed in the constructive atmosphere the issues of bilateral cooperation in the trade-economic sphere, including oil and gas, in the cultural sphere, in the sphere of development of the legal status of the Caspian Sea. The fruitful meeting between V.Putin and S.Niyazov demonstrated once again the friendly and trustworthy nature of their personal relations.
We note with satisfaction the steady development of trade-economic relations between our countries. In 2005, Russia enjoyed a leading position in terms of volume of exports to Turkmenistan. As regards the first quarter of the current year, Russia accounts for the bulk of Turkmenistan's imports. We attach great importance to the partnership in the fuel-energy sector guided by a long term agreement on cooperation in the gas sphere signed by V.Putin and S.Niyazov on April 10, 2003. Along with Gasprom, which is not new to the Turkmen gas market, Russia's biggest oil and gas company Lukoil is also set to actively participate in the implementation of energy projects in Turkmenistan. Last year, S.Niyazov met the head of Lukoil, V.Alekperov, three times. During those meetings, the sides discussed prospects for mutually advantageous cooperation in this field.
Apart from the gas partnership, Russian-Turkmen cooperation is progressing in other areas as well. In particular, the Turkmen President's meetings in Moscow in January 2006 with the leadership of Russian Aluminiy joint stock company and recent visits to Ashgabat by representatives of KamAz, MTC, Silovyye machiny joint stock companies and other leading Russian companies is evidence of this.
We believe that establishment of the Trade Representative Office of the Russian Federation here as well as regular work of the Russian-Turkmen Intergovernmental Economic Cooperation Commission could significantly boost the bilateral relations.
Cooperation in the humanitarian field is being strengthened. The Russian-Turkmen school named after A.S.Pushkin is successfully functioning. Last year, it took the first place in a special contest, "Best Russian schools of CIS and Baltic countries", held in Moscow. The teacher of Russian language and literature of the school, M.V.Trofimova, won the Russian language contest among teachers from CIS and Baltic countries.
Last August, 10 teachers of Russian language from Turkmenistan attended a refresher course in the Moscow institute of open education. More than 100 young Turkmen citizens have visited summer schools and health centers in Russia within the framework of the youth educational programmes over the year.
Concerts of pop singer D.Gurtskaya were arranged in Ashgabat in September 2005 and February 2006. In November 2005, Turkmen musicians performed in Russia on the invitation of the International Union of charity organizations "Courage and humanism". In May 2006, Days of Russian Cinema dedicated to the 61st anniversary of Great Victory were held in Ashgabat.
In the world arena our countries act as equal partners and friends who share close views on the fundamental issues of the present.
Russia respects Turkmenistan's policy of permanent neutrality. It is our view that its peace making potential is in line with common interests of supporting and strengthening regional security and stability. It is with satisfaction that we note the important contribution by Turkmenistan to the fight against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international terrorism and drugs trafficking.
We support and are ready to render assistance in realization of Turkmen President S.Niyazov's idea on the establishment and stationing in Ashgabat of the UN regional center for preventive diplomacy in Central Asia.
It is far short of all examples of steady development of our multifaceted cooperation based on the unshakable ground which is sincere friendship between the peoples of Russia and Turkmenistan, profoundly respectful and trustworthy relations between the presidents, V.Putin and S.Niyazov.
Taking this opportunity, I want to wish happiness, welfare and prosperity to the fraternal people of Turkmenistan. I am confident that relations of friendship and close cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan would be developed further for the good of our two countries and in the interests of peace, security and stability in Central Asia."