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03.06.12 19:51

Statement by the President of Turkmenistan at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government

Distinguished heads of delegations,
Dear participants,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me once again welcome you to Turkmenistan and thank you for accepting our invitation to come to Ashgabat to attend a regular meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Independent States. We are happy to see our good friends and partners, who are genuinely interested in further developing the traditional relations and close cooperation and partnership in addressing the important and urgent problems facing our countries. It is from this perspective that we hold today's meeting.

The Commonwealth of Independent States has reached a qualitatively new level. Our countries have established themselves as independent states pursuing sovereign policies based on equality and respect to each other. In the course of time, the CIS turned into a flexible tool for the multilateral dialogue and interaction, allowing the parties to really tune up their own national interests with the common goals of development, to respond quickly to emerging issues and address them on the principles of collegiality and consensus. I am convinced that it is this approach that ensures the viability of the CIS today.

I would like to note that the CIS plays a certain role in multilateral efforts to maintain global peace and stability, to counter threats and challenges of our time, and also contributes to achieving the goals of sustainable development and establishing the universally recognized international legal norms.

The Commonwealth of Independent States is a partner of the United Nations, doing a great job for the successful implementation of the UN goals and principles by consistently expanding its ties with the outside world and developing cooperation with other international organizations.

Turkmenistan, as an associate member of the CIS, views cooperation in this framework as one of the forms of international cooperation. We are aware of the obvious benefits of this partnership, which is based on historical experience, tried and tested relations at state and humanitarian levels. We want to take advantage of joint activities and adopt the best, positive and time-tested practices, and apply them creatively in modern conditions, based on our national interests.

In this sense, the successful development of Turkmenistan’s bilateral relations with all CIS countries is illustrative. I am sure that this format serves strengthening the overall partnership within the CIS and helps enrich its content and add impetus to relations between our countries.

Dear participants!

Economic cooperation is currently the most important area of work within the CIS. In my opinion, there are very good opportunities that should be used effectively to ensure strong economic growth, competitiveness and investment attractiveness and new jobs in our countries.

I would single out the energy sphere as one of the key areas of joint work. Given their resource potential and geographical location, almost all CIS countries are either real or potential participants in the international cooperation in the energy sector. In this context, we are all interested in the maximum use of our power generating facilities and transit benefits. I believe that we need to objectively and thoughtfully analyze the state of affairs in this area, to assess our ability to really integrate into the global energy processes through implementation of international projects in the CIS.

Turkmenistan is ready for such discussion and offers to start a dialogue on the issues relating to energy transportation, security and reliability of energy supplies, development of clear and well-defined principles regulating the activities of our countries in the international energy markets. In this regard, we believe that we should come up with a joint initiative of the CIS countries to start this dialogue at the next session of the UN General Assembly.

Turkmenistan sees the development of transport infrastructure as the most important aspect of cooperation between the CIS countries. The CIS space is a natural transport corridor along the “North-South” and “East-West” routes, providing access to the major world markets.

In this regard, I would like to note the opportunities opening up for our countries owing to implementation of the project on construction of the railway “Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran”, as well as the combined road, rail and sea links between the CIS countries, given the large-scale capacity of the transport and communication network of the Central Asian, Caspian, Black Sea and Baltic regions.

Addressing environmental issues is one of the topical issues of our cooperation within the CIS. Some of them are quite serious. These issues cover such problems as preservation of the unique natural resources of the Caspian Sea, our efforts to save the Aral Sea, climate change and much more.

I believe that it is the right time for our countries to make effective and targeted interventions in this area, enhancing cooperation with the UN and its specialized agencies. Turkmenistan has a number of specific initiatives aimed at creating systemic international instruments. In particular, we support the idea of establishing a Caspian Environmental Forum as a permanent platform to address environmental issues in the Caspian Basin and develop relevant proposals and recommendations.

Our country also proposed to establish, with the UN support, a specialized structure – an Interregional Center on Climate Change. I believe that support for these proposals from the CIS countries during the forthcoming World Conference of the United Nations on Sustainable Development – “Rio +20” – would be a powerful argument in favor of practical implementation of this initiative in the near future.

Let’s me now talk about cooperation of the CIS in the cultural sphere. This is one of the most important areas for our country. A month ago, the city of Mary was declared the cultural capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2012 at an official ceremony. Turkmenistan has adopted a responsible approach to preparation and conduct of activities in the framework of cultural cooperation between our countries this year.

In general, I believe that we need to start a substantive discussion on the long-term joint plans on preservation and promotion of the rich cultural heritage of the peoples of the CIS and, based on this, to develop a specific program for the coming years.

Dear participants!

In their joint activities the CIS countries aim to, first of all, meet the interests of our citizens, their pressing concerns and needs. We do not politicize our cooperation and do not want to fit it in some artificial frames. We avoid opportunistic considerations, and we do a real and concrete job. And this, in my opinion, is the only right direction.

It is now over twenty years that the CIS provides the natural format for finding common denominators, mutually acceptable approaches to solving all arising issues. In this sense, we appreciate the fact that respect to the sovereign rights of member states, equality, freedom of choice of each country's level and form of engagement in various joint activities have always been the fundamental principles of the CIS. This is exactly what makes it possible to open new prospects of partnership, what provides the ground for the CIS existence as the factor of stability of the system of international security.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Executive Committee of the CIS, its head Sergei Nikolaevich Lebedev for the efficient coordination of our cooperation and for his great contribution to preparation and conduct of this meeting.

Ashgabat, 30 May 2012

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