A commentary by the State news agency of Turkmenistan
The last week events had again given rise to talks about Turkmenistan's adjusted and consistent course both in realization of its strategy of domestic development and conducting the foreign policy which in its philosophy is based on the principles of equality and mutually beneficial cooperation and strong commitment to its obligations. The latest and possibly most convincing evidence of that is the Turkmen-Ukrainian talks that have just finished in Ashgabat.
To say that those were not easy talks is to say nothing. It was a tough negotiation process that taught us a real lesson of how one should love his Motherland and take care of its wellbeing. It was a graphic example of how to defend the state's national interests while showing understanding and respect for partners. In this regard, the position of the talks initiator, Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov, was as much invulnerable as were his grounded and objective claims to the Ukrainian side.
As is known, the subject of talks was the implementation of the contract on the supply of Turkmen natural gas to Ukraine. Indeed, gas was supplied well in time. However, gas supplies were paid badly, and this fact was made known to the Ukrainian partners in an unambiguous and open manner. The notorious clearing scheme, a rudiment of interstate economic relations of the so called transitional period, has long turned into an instrument of the black economy, a hole for various wheeler-dealers and profit-seekers that, unfortunately, are in great number in any state. There are some in Ukraine and Turkmenistan too where investigation of activities of a number of top officials is well under way.
This hole is now closed once and forever. The Ukrainian side, represented by the head of the National joint-stock company Naftogaz Ukrainy, Alexei Ivchenko, who visited Ashgabat on the instructions of the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko, accepted the gas payment terms set by Turkmenistan. Gas supplies from Turkmenistan to Ukraine will be paid fully in cash at US $ 44 per 1000 cub m at the Turkmen-Uzbek border and Turkmen-Kazakh border starting July 1.
Apart from the contract on the purchase and selling of Turkmen natural gas, three interstate agreements on the terms of the debt redemption by Ukraine for supplied gas were signed in the Presidential Palace that witnessed all major rounds of the negotiation process. In fact, the documents provide for goods deliveries in Turkmenistan as repayment of the debt at the average world prices without applying any coefficients. Simultaneously, issues related to the financing of investment contracts being implemented by Ukrainian companies in Turkmenistan in payment for gas supplies were resolved.
Thus, following Russia, Ukraine has revised its approaches to cooperation with Turkmenistan in the strategic sphere. Two big world powers demonstrated understanding of the justified position of Turkmenistan based on the principle of objectiveness and justice. The long-standing partners have proved once again they can find an acceptable solution even to the most complicated issues that are directly linked to the sphere of national interests. Moreover, these are the solutions that lay a foundation for further constructive partnership.
Contracts and agreements signed by Turkmenistan and Ukraine have undoubtedly raised the bilateral cooperation to a qualitatively new level, relieving it from the colossal burden of unsettled issues that created many problems both in relations between partners and for the economic development of two states. This is surely the next brilliant victory of Turkmenistan and, first of all, of Saparmurat Niyazov whose great political experience and high international authority made it possible to hold a complicated negotiation process within the framework of civilized, open and, above all, constructive dialog.
This fact was fully appreciated by another immediate participant of the talks - A. Ivchenko - who expressed sincere gratitude to the head of Turkmenistan for understanding and well disposed approach to cooperation with Ukraine. He also stressed his complete solidarity with Saparmurat Niyazov's view that today there is no alternative for a mutually beneficial partnership.
Ukrainian president V.Yushchenko is evidently also impressed with the position of the head of Turkmenistan which he acknowledged in a telephone conversation with the Turkmen leader held at his initiative and in his written messages to Saparmurat Niyazov. Inviting the head of Turkmenistan to pay an official visit to Kiev, Victor Yushchenko expressed hope that another meeting of the two leaders would open a new chapter in the history of the Turkmen-Ukrainian cooperation.
As regards the domestic policy of Turkmenistan, it consisted of a number of events last week, the most outstanding and significant of which was the celebration of the remarkable for the Turkmen people date, the 13th anniversary of the historic choice made by the nation that entrusted the fate of Motherland, the sovereign Turkmen state to Saparmurat Niyazov on June 21, 1992.
Being out of the list of official state holidays, this date is so comprehensive and means so much for Turkmen people that by the will of people it is marked all over Turkmenistan as one of the most important and landmark dates of its ancient history. Festivities and inaugurations of new economic and cultural facilities timed to this date demonstrated unity and solidarity of the Turkmen people.
STATE NEWS AGENCY OF TURKMENISTAN (TDH), 27.05.2005