Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov held talks in Ashgabat
On February 14, 2007, Mikhail Fradkov, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, attended Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov's inauguration ceremony held at the Ruhiet palace in Ashgabat. During the tte--tte meeting held on the same day in the Presidential Palace the high-ranking guest passed over the congratulatory message from President Vladimir Putin to the new President of Turkmenistan.
"We consider your election to the post of head of state as the Turkmen people's trust and as a hope for the bettering of people's life that the country pins on your presidency", Fradkov said. "I think you'll cope with it. I have no doubts".
Then, the Prime Minister of Russia visited A.S Pushkin Turkmen-Russian secondary school in Ashgabat. Mikhail Fradkov talked with the school principal, Nadezhda Gorn, some of the students and wished them "good marks, good mood and enjoying of life".
On the last day of his visit, the Russian Prime Minister laid a wreath to the tomb of Saparmurat Niyazov in Turkmenbashi Spirituality Mosque and then conducted the first full-scale negotiations with Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, President of Turkmenistan. In the course of the talks the sides confirmed the agreements existing between the two countries.
While talking face to face, Berdymukhammedov and Fradkov discussed the state and prospects of the interstate cooperation, first of all, in the fuel and energy sector. In this context, the sides expressed the mutual interest in increasing the potential of the Turkmen-Russian partnership in the gas sphere based on the long-term basis and successfully developing in the frames of the 25-year interstate agreement signed between Vladimir Putin and Saparmurat Niyazov in April 2003.
Chairman Alexei Miller of OAO Gazprom joined the discussions on Turkmen natural gas supplies to Russia. He had held talks with Gurbanmyrat Ataev, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan and Minister of Oil and Gas Industry and Mineral Resources, Ishanguly Nuriev, Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas Industry, Bagtiyar Hajigurbanov, Chairman of Turkmengaz State Concern, and Garyagdy Tashliev, Chairman of Turkmenneft State Concern. The sides highly assessed the results of two countries' cooperation in the gas and oil sphere. As is known, last September, Gazprom and Turkmenistan agreed on additional gas supplies of 50 billion cub m of gas for 2007-2009 at US$ 100 per thousand cub m.
Having stressed that fulfilling of mutual obligations is an indispensable condition for the further development of traditionally friendly bilateral relations Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Mikhail Fradkov spoke for their expansion in a number of concrete areas that meet the potential and national interests of two countries. Then the talks were continued with participation of the Russian delegation and members of the Government of Turkmenistan.
Welcoming the Russian guests the Turkmen President pointed to the friendly, trustworthy and good neighborly nature of the Turkmen-Russian ties having long history and big prospects for the future. These prospects, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov said, relate to the economic sphere, especially oil and gas sector, as well as to no less important humanitarian area.
"I think the Russians will be interested to know what is being done in Turkmenistan, the Prime Minister of Russia said in turn. Those who came here have seen Ashgabat is a beautiful city. It is clean here, a lot of construction is going on, people are smiling and the city is attractive. We should form this perception and expand our contacts.
After the meeting, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov and Mikhail Fradkov gave short press-conference. Speaking about the outcomes of the negotiations the President of Turkmenistan and the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation pointed out in particular that with a view of deepening the Turkmen-Russian cooperation, the intergovernmental commission, which was last convened in 2002, will resume its work.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Information and Press Department made an official statement, which positively assesses the Feb. 11 presidential elections in Turkmenistan.
"On February 11, the presidential elections were held in Turkmenistan. For the first time in the country's history, the elections were held on the alternative basis. All electoral procedures were in the conformity with the legislation of Turkmenistan. They were well organized and held in a peaceful atmosphere, the statement says. Moscow is ready for the constructive partnership with Turkmenistan, development of the closest cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit and expresses confidence that the Russian-Turkmen relations based on the traditions of friendship and mutual respect will be further advanced in the interests of the peoples of our states, peace and stability in the region of Central Asia.
Photo by Alexander TUMANOV