The third consultative meeting of the heads of states of Central Asia was held in the Avaza National Tourist Zone on the Caspian coast under the chairmanship of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev participated in the forum.
Prior to the summit that took place at the Avaza Congress Center, the President of Turkmenistan held bilateral talks with the leaders of the Central Asian states and head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman.
Opening the forum, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov thanked the distinguished guests for accepting the invitation to visit Turkmenistan to discuss and make decisions on topical issues of regional development.
As the Turkmen leader noted, the previous consultative meetings of the heads of states of Central Asia proved to be a highly efficient format of political interaction. The Turkmen leader emphasized that the meetings held in Astana in March 2018 and in Tashkent in November 2019 were good examples of constructive work of the regional states, and the results of this work had a positive impact on the intensification of political and diplomatic contacts between the Central Asian states.
In this context, the President of Turkmenistan suggested that the heads of five countries should instruct their governments to analyze the documents adopted at the above-mentioned meetings, develop a mid-term “Road Map” for implementation of previously reached agreements and submit it to the heads of Central Asian states for consideration.
The President of Turkmenistan noted that power engineering is a key component of the economy of the Central Asian states. He stressed that partnership in the energy sector should be carried out with active and full-scale participation of all Central Asian states without exception, and it should be aimed at creating a powerful energy infrastructure, both within the region and beyond. Based on the above, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that Turkmenistan is ready to significantly increase the supplies of its natural gas to Central Asian states or foreign markets through their territories on mutually beneficial terms.
According to the Turkmen leader, the transport sector remains an important area of partnership between the Central Asian states. The President of Turkmenistan noted the importance of joining efforts to create favorable conditions for freight and passenger traffic between countries, as well as between Central Asia and other regions of the Eurasian continent. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan suggested starting the work on making specific plans for establishment of an integrated transport network of the Central Asian states based on the joint experience in this industry.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov confirmed Turkmenistan’s willingness to provide its port facilities in the Caspian Sea for use in the interests of all regional countries. In this regard, the head of state suggested that a five-sided working group should be established at the governmental level to look into the opportunities of creating new transport and communication routes in the Central Asia – the Caspian-Black Sea region with access to Southern Europe, as well as Central Asia – the Middle East.
In his speech, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that restoring full-fledged trade and economic relations between the countries of the region, increasing and qualitatively upgrading mutual trade are currently the most important task. In this regard, he put forward a proposal to consider the issue of establishing a Business Council to promote economic and entrepreneurial activity in Central Asia.
Addressing the forum participants, the President of Turkmenistan noted that the period that passed since the last five-sided summit meeting was difficult in terms of regional stability. According to him, the situation in neighboring Afghanistan is pretty complex, there are conflict situations in a number of other regions located not far from the borders of the Central Asian countries, requiring special responsibility and balanced decisions from the countries of the region.
He also noted that the peoples of the regional countries at all times exemplified mutual support and solidarity, as is the case now when the world faces a global threat, such as a new type of coronavirus infection. According to the head of state, the fight against the pandemic requires a systematic and professional approach to addressing issues that directly influence the reduction of risks caused by COVID-19. In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan suggested intensifying contacts between the medical communities of the countries of the region through scientific diplomacy and starting the substantive research of the origin of coronaviruses, forms of manifestation of the diseases they cause, developing new methods of treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. The Turkmen leader also spoke about the expediency of creating a Central Asian regional center for epidemiology, virology and bacteriology.
Concluding his speech, the President of Turkmenistan expressed confidence that there is no such problem or issue that the leaders of the regional countries could not solve together, setting out their positions openly and confidentially, taking into account the interests of each other and relying on the centuries-old experience of good neighborliness.
Then, the Turkmen leader gave the floor to the heads of regional states.
Speaking at the forum, the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan expressed their gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for hospitality and high-quality organization of the forum, noting the symbolism of the current meeting that took place in the year of the 30th anniversary of independence of the Central Asian states. The heads of state expressed their vision of international and regional problems and approaches to addressing these problems, and outlined ways for development of regional cooperation in various sectors of the economy.
Following the statements by the leaders of the Central Asian countries, the floor was given to the head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, Natalia Gherman. She expressed gratitude to the Turkmen leader and heads of the regional states for the opportunity to participate in the forum. Outlining the priorities for the near future, Natalia Gherman highlighted a number of issues that require urgent solutions. She noted that the Center welcomes the decisive steps taken by states to expand regional partnership, and the current summit symbolizes this trend.
Concluding the meeting, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to the leaders of the countries and members of delegations for fruitful work. The heads of states of Central Asia adopted a Joint Statement on the outcomes of the consultative meeting.
Then, a solemn ceremony of awarding President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon with the Badge of Honor of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held at the conference hall of the Avaza Congress Center. Addressing distinguished guests and members of delegations, the President of Turkmenistan said that the heads of states made a unanimous decision to award President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Sharipovich Rahmon with the Badge of Honor of the Heads of States of Central Asia. As Berdimuhamedov noted, Emomali Rahmon was awarded this badge for outstanding service in developing friendship, good neighborliness, mutual understanding and cooperation between the Central Asian states, strengthening peace and security in the region, promoting joint interests and initiatives of the Central Asian states in the world.
To the applause of the audience, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov presented President Emomali Rahmon with the Badge of Honor of the Heads of States of Central Asia. The President of Tajikistan expressed gratitude to his colleagues for highly rating his work.
The award ceremony was followed by the press conference with the participation of the Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Gherman on the outcomes of the consultative meeting of the heads of states of the region.
In the afternoon, the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan visited the international exhibition of national products, festival of national cuisine of the Central Asian countries and concert of masters of arts of the regional states.
On the same day, after completing the program of the forum, the distinguished guests departed from Turkmenistan.