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13.06.04á09:12
MOSCOW CONSIDERS TURKMENISTAN IMPORTANT PARTNER
TURKMEN MASS MEDIA PUBLISHED ARTICLE BY AMBASSADOR OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION TO ASHGABAT ANDREI MOLOCHKOV

The 12th of June marks the 14th anniversary of the historic moment when the first congress of people's deputies of the Russian Socialistic Federative Republic adopted the Declaration on sovereignty of the Russian Federation. On this occasion local mass media published an article by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Turkmenistan Andrei Molochkov.

"The modern Russia entered a new history beginning this date. This period of time, short and full of defining events of history, was not easy owing to numerous hardships and a process of overcoming the legacy of the past. Today, our country has a new task - to direct all our deeds and decisions at strengthening Russia's positions among politically stable and economically powerful states of the world in the foreseeable future. And we have succeeded in many things in this direction. Russia is getting stronger and carrying an increasing weight in international affairs virtually in no time.

We have better knowledge now and use our own resources. We know what resources we have and what hardships are ahead of us. We have launched a process of active modernization of the state trying to bring its functions in accordance with the modern stage of development of Russia that ensures achieving new targets by the country in all spheres of state and public activities.

On the whole, our economy has developed at fare rates over the last four years. People's living standards have improved. People's income has increased one and a half times in this period. A number of people with minimum wages have decreased by one third. Our economy grew at a rate of 8% in the first four months of this year as opposed to 7.3% last year.

We believe that we have every condition to double our economic potential in 10 years. Moreover, given such growth rates, we might double a per capita GDP already by 2010.

We consider retaining such high growth rates a basis for achieving new successes in state building and economic progress. Today, with globalization of all spheres of our lives, we have to grow faster than the rest of the world to occupy leading positions. We have to be ahead of others both in growth rates and in quality of goods and services, education, science and culture. This is a question of our economic survival, a worthy place for Russia in the changing international environment.

Today, for the first time in many years, we can plan our lives not for a few months or even a year but for decades to come. Achievements of the recent years, at last, created a ground to set about solving problems that are solvable only when economic resources, political stability and active civil society are in place. Now we have to start solving the country citizens' most vital problems. These are, first of all, quality and availability of houses, education and healthcare. And now, as one may note, there are enough chances to effectively solve these problems.

Housing is still one of the vital problems for many people in Russia. President of the Russian Federation V.V.Putin in his address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation this May set guidelines for the Government, regional and local administrations on providing one third of the population of the country (not present one tens of the population), both at their own expense and using mortgage credits, with houses by 2010 that meet modern requirements.

To make this possible mortgage crediting must become long-term and accessible to citizens. And it is necessary to ensure competitive conditions for housing construction so that a rise in demand for houses doesn't lead to a price hike. It is also necessary to considerably improve quality of national healthcare. The principal aim of modernization of Russian healthcare is improving accessibility and quality of healthcare to the mass orders of the population.

The following important task is the development of national education. Russian education held and still holds one of the leading positions in the world thanks to its fundamental characteristics.

Global competition requires of us the enhancement of practical orientation of education. And this, first of all, means increasing requirements of professional education.

Besides, one needs to solve one of the most serious problems - providing good education to poor people. With this in view, it is planned to introduce a practice of educational standards that are in line with time. At the same time, one also needs to remember about national advantages. We need to boost our capabilities in those fields, at which our Russian education meets or even exceeds the world requirements, and we have such fields. Resolving these global tasks - providing accessible and qualitative education and healthcare to every order of the population and setting conditions to purchase houses - will help us soften a poverty problem.

Russian international positions keep strengthening. It is clear that a scope of tasks set before our country has changed significantly. We need to make our foreign policy match purposes and capabilities of the new stage of development - in other words, to use foreign policy instruments to achieve more tangible economic results in implementing tasks of national importance.

Efforts on deepening the integration within the framework of CIS states, including the Single Economic Space, the Eurasian Economic Community, remain our priority. It is, indeed, one of the conditions for the regional and international stability.

We are interested in the further integration of the Russian economy into the world one, including joining the WTO on favorable conditions for us. The increase in competition in the world markets pushes developed countries to enhance support for their producers and exporters. In view of this, we need to search for more efficient methods of increasing Russian exports and strongly defending Russian companies' interests abroad.

Such an approach is very important now that Russia and the European Union have virtually a common border. It is important that the EU enlargement makes us closer not only geographically but also economically and spiritually.

We will further develop our political and economic dialog with the U.S. and such big partners as China, India and Japan, and we will actively work with other countries. Frontier and interregional cooperation is a significant provision of development of trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian ties.

It is obvious that Russia's tight security and border integrity are a prerequisite of the above-mentioned tasks. And only solidary efforts of the world community based on the instruments of the UN and international law can give an adequate answer to such most challenging threats of the XXI century as international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional conflicts.

Terrorism threatens human lives and rights. It destabilizes states and entire regions of the world. It stands in the way of economic and social progress. Today, international terrorists keep committing acts of violence and killings of peaceful citizens, attempt provoking chaos and destabilization of the situation in different parts of the world. And Russia, unfortunately, is not an exception to that.

Despite such provocations, including the recent assassination of the Chechen
leader and an attempt to disrupt the work of legally elected authorities of the republic, our position in the fight against terrorism remains unchanged and consistent. Nobody and nothing can prevent Russia from strengthening the democracy, ensuring rights and freedom of people.

We will continue developing internationally recognized legal instruments and collective mechanisms of neutralizing global threats.

In view of this, we state with deep satisfaction that Turkmenistan is strongly committed to the collective fight against international terrorism.

We consider neutral Turkmenistan an important political and economic partner of Russia, a reliable guarantor of the regional and international stability.

I want to emphasize a constructive dialog established between Presidents V.V. Putin and S.A. Niyazov and a productive atmosphere of mutual understanding and trust that are inherent in both leaders. Regular contacts between the two presidents have either a form of personal meetings, exchange of messages or telephone conversations. The last conversation between them took place on April 27. The Presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan discussed a bulk of issues of bilateral relations.

In view of this, we are pleased with a steady growth in Russian-Turkmen trade. In 2003 it rose to almost $566 mln from $384 in 2002. Our cooperation is being built on the basis of mutual benefit and set for a long period of time. An agreement on cooperation in the gas field until 2028, signed in 2003, is vivid proof of that.

Turkmen gas supplies to Russia will enable us to enhance economic cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan and will have positive effect on the development of our partnership in all spheres.

A visit to Ashgabat by governor of St Petersburg Valentina Matvienko this February and her meeting with President S.A. Niyazov gave a new impetus to cooperation between our two states. An agreement between the governments of St Petersburg and Turkmenistan on economic, scientific and cultural cooperation was signed during the visit.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I want to express confidence that close cooperation existing between our two states will be further strengthened to the benefit of the peoples of Russia and Turkmenistan.

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