13.09.12 16:32


Interview with the President of the Republic of Latvia, Andris Berzins, for international magazine "Turkmenistan" 

- Dear Mr. President! There are hardly any other countries than Latvia and Turkmenistan that are so different by their ethno-cultural, mental and historical characteristics of development. What is the basis for these very different countries to speak a common language?

 Indeed, Latvia and Turkmenistan are two very different countries with different geographical locations, different natural resources and different incentives for development of national economies.... But perhaps it is this dissimilarity that is the key to successful cooperation. If we were too similar, we would have nothing to learn from each other. 

In any case, the goodwill and willingness to build a productive dialogue is the basis for finding a common language, a platform for cooperation in a wide range of areas. Following the meetings and discussions with our distinguished guest - President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov – I am firmly convinced that our countries have good prospects for multifaceted, productive and mutually beneficial partnership.

- Mr. President! The issue of European energy security is extremely important for modern Latvia. What is your assessment of the foreign policy initiatives put forward by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to ensure global energy security?

 I respect the Turkmen President’s persistence and consistency with which he upholds the idea of ensuring the global energy security at all levels of the international dialogue, including the United Nations. This topic is very important not only for the world's leading exporters of natural gas, including Turkmenistan, but also for many other energy consumer and transit countries. Turkmenistan’s initiatives are noted for the profound understanding of the urgency of this problem for the international community. This is why our position on the key issues of global energy security will support Turkmenistan’s position.

- Mr. President! What do you think of the prospects of trade and economic relations between Latvia and Turkmenistan? What can Latvia offer Turkmenistan in terms of economic cooperation, and in what areas can Turkmenistan be of interest to Latvia as a business partner?

 On the eve of the official visit by the President of Turkmenistan to the Republic of Latvia, a meeting of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation was held in Riga. The range of issues discussed at this meeting was very impressive. This means that the two countries have a genuine mutual interest in cooperation and development of the normative-legal framework of partnership. Some Latvian companies and enterprises have some experience of cooperation with Turkmen partners. We need to enhance this experience and explore new spheres of cooperation.

The growing Latvian economy is certainly interested in hydrocarbon resources and their products that Turkmenistan is very rich in. We, in turn, have a lot of wood, which is missing in Turkmenistan. These are the two most telling examples, lying, so to speak, on the surface of the topic of cooperation.

Turkmenistan's president, speaking at the talks in Riga, emphasized his country's interest in adopting high-tech manufacturing processes, innovative technologies, which Latvia can offer to its partner. This is a very large area of cooperation between our countries.

I know that modern Turkmenistan looks like a giant construction site, and I know it not only from President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, but also from many evidenced provided by businessmen. Much has been done, but much more needs to be done in the future. Latvia, with its extensive experience in building large industrial, civil and transport facilities, using the world’s advanced technologies, could become a valuable partner in this field.

We share Turkmenistan’s interest in establishing the international transport corridors, such as North - South and East - West. Latvian ports on the Baltic coast could become an important part of new cross-border routes, and we will be happy to share our experience in logistics, processing and transportation of goods.

The economic growth of our country largely depends on creating incentives and development of businesses, as opposed to taking administrative decisions. We know that there are the most favorable conditions for development of private business in Turkmenistan. I am confident that our private companies will be able to quickly find a common language with their Turkmen counterparts. As for the government agencies, they will only need to ensure a supportive and reliable legal framework for cooperation. Such a framework has been partially established. We need to find ways to improve it.

- Mr. President! What is your vision of the prospects of the Latvian-Turkmen cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, as well as in the sphere of culture and science?

 The Latvian national culture, while preserving old national traditions, has always been open to interaction with cultures of other nations, becoming richer and more diverse due to this interaction. I am well aware of the Turkmen people’s careful treatment of their ancient cultural traditions. Certainly, this is very interesting for us. In this regard, exchanging the cultural delegations, exhibitions, folk art crafts could greatly enrich the palette of cultural life of the two countries.

We are aware of the great progress made by modern Turkmenistan in the sphere of science, education and medicine. I suppose that we have much to learn from the Turkmen colleagues. In turn, the Latvian experience in those humanitarian spheres, where it has made much progress, can be also shared with Turkmenistan.

- Mr. President! This high-level meeting in Riga, in fact, opened a new page in the history of international contacts between the two countries. Imagine that you have a blank sheet of paper in front of you. What would be the first words you are ready to write on it?

 - Well, let’s take a blank sheet....

With these words, President Andris Bērziņš took a blank sheet of paper and wrote, in large sprawling writing, the following words in Latvian:


- I think you now have the first words!



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