Transcript of replies to Russian media questions by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov after meeting and talks with the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov
Question: What are the results of your conversation with President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The results of the conversation were very positive. We affirmed the necessity of building up our economic cooperation not only in the gas field on the basis of the 2003 agreement, but also with regard to the interests of our oil producers. Negotiations are being conducted with Lukoil. There is a project by which Silovye Mashiny participates in the modernization of the power units of the Mary Hydropower Plant. The Vyborg Shipbuilding Plant is also keen on participating in the project to build a port on the Caspian. All of this is proof of the investment interests of Russian companies. We welcome them. The Turkmen side is also interested in seeing our trade and economic ties acquire a qualitatively new character and reach a higher level.
Our approaches towards a solution to the remaining problems, associated with the status of the Caspian Sea, are becoming closer. Among other things, this concerns questions of military activity, which must be limited to the necessary minimum for solving the concrete tasks of security, including, as the Russian side suggests, the fight, with the support of the Caspian countries, against the contraband of WMD components and against attempts to use the Caspian for terrorist purposes. A group like Casfor is being formed. By analogy with Blackseafor, having similar tasks. Turkmenistan participated in its first meeting as observer. President of Turkmenistan Niyazov agreed to send his representatives to the next meeting, which in November in Moscow will examine specific modalities of the functioning of such a group of navies of Caspian states.
We discussed humanitarian issues. We noted that positive shifts are occurring in Ashgabat; in particular, a new Pushkin drama theater has been built, and the Russian-Turkmen school has been repaired, which, like the theater, we today visited. We agreed that the Turkmen side will decide the question of constructing a second building for the Russian-Turkmen school. The school is in fairly high demand.
Of course, we did exchange views on the situation in the region. We spoke in favor of conjugating our efforts towards the goal of ensuring stability and security and of preventing the threats of terrorism, drugs and organized crime. A UN center for preventive diplomacy is opening in Ashgabat soon. We consider that this will be a contribution to our common work. We, for our part, expressed interest in arranging cooperation with this center through such organizations as the CSTO and SCO, which are tackling similar tasks. Interest in that cooperation was also shown by the Turkmen side.
Question: Did President of Turkmenistan Niyazov show a wish to join a CIS structure not as an associated, but as a full-fledged member?
Foreign Minister Lavrov: The Turkmen side reiterated its well-known decisions on the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan, which the UN took note of. But I am convinced that in this capacity, and our conversation today has confirmed this, Turkmenistan can well participate in our common efforts to stabilize the situation in the region and in carrying out a whole array of CIS projects. We also talked about this today. Turkmenistan sees a number of lines of activity of the Commonwealth in which it is ready and keen to take part. In particular, we agreed with the Turkmen President that Turkmenistan will find a niche for itself in the projects which we are preparing for the next year as part of the implementation of the decisions of the summit in Kazan to hold a Year of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
October 21, 2005
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