The First Caspian Economic Forum, hosted by Turkmenistan on 12 August 2019 at Awaza, was a mega event by all counts. It has the potential to turn into a permanent institution with long term value not just for the Caspian region but the entire Eurasian landmass.
The prime ministers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia, and the first vice president of Iran led their respective delegations. The president of Turkmenistan, as the host, delivered the opening speech.
What makes the First Caspian Economic Forum a mega event is not just the level of representation, or the size of the delegations – for instance Kazakh delegation of 120 members, Russian delegation of some 200 and Iranian delegation of nearly 300 members – but also the range of topics discussed during its plenary and thematic sessions.
It was also a mega event because of the keen interest shown by many countries and international and regional organizations and institutions. The prime ministers of Uzbekistan and Bulgaria were present at the forum. Also present were the top officials from the many UN bodies, international financial institutions, and other specialized structures that matter to the region in so many different ways.
If at all it is necessary to measure the degree of success of this Forum, one way to do so is to look at the fact that the entire chain of decision-makers right from the expert level to the heads of government that can make things happen on the bilateral and multilateral levels was present at the forum.
The success of the Forum is also visible from the fact that it underlined the centrality of Caspian in the connectivity and economic integration prospects in the inter-regional context – the delegations from Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, and China were present in the hall.
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On the sidelines of the Forum, President Berdymuhamedov had bilateral meetings with the heads of delegations of the Caspian countries.
The delegation heads visited the exhibition of innovative technologies and the automobile show.
A galla concert and firework concluded the event.
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In this part of the report we are placing the speech of President Berdymuhamedov at its core because of the vision and forward-looking ideas it conveyed.
This is not the concluding part of our report on the First Caspian Economic Forum. Later this week or next week we will carry more material on the event.
The heads of Caspian delegations answered some questions from the moderator. The related material will be included in one of the future parts of this report.
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The heads of delegations
President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov – host country
Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov of Azerbaijan
First Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri of Iran
Prime Minister Askar Mamin of Kazakhstan
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation
Also present were
Prime Minister Abdulla Aripiv of Uzbekistan
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov of Bulgaria
President Rustam Minnikhanov of Tatarstan Republic of the Russian Federation
The Second Caspian Economic Forum will be held at Astrakhan, Russia.
Speech of President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov at First Caspian Economic Forum
[slightly paraphrased translation of complete text]
Dear heads and members of delegations! Dear guests! Ladies and Gentlemen!
I cordially welcome you to Turkmenistan. Thank you for responding to our invitation to participate in the First Caspian Economic Forum.
The heads of the governments of the Caspian and other states, envoys from dozens of countries representing various fields of activity — politicians, diplomats, businessmen, environmentalists, scientists, and journalists — gathered in this hall.
All of us are like-minded people, united by the understanding of the importance of a multifaceted and systemic dialogue on the development of the Caspian region, determining the prospects for international cooperation in the Caspian. The new meaning of such a partnership, based on modern views and criteria, is intended to lay a solid foundation for the future, decades-ahead, joint creative work
Today I want to express my deep gratitude to all the Caspian countries for supporting our initiative to convene the First Caspian Economic Forum, as well as for their active participation in its preparation.
This proposal was the result of a deep analysis of modern processes of global and regional development, the place and role of the Caspian as the most important geopolitical and geoeconomic space in them. Today, the objective interests of not only coastal, but also other states are concentrated here, due to the fact that the Caspian region is a large natural source of hydrocarbon resources, a transport and transit hub of a continental scale, and a promising territory for expanding the international trade.
Along with this, the Caspian Sea is a unique natural complex with its own unique ecosystem requiring scientific research in the environmental field.
Putting forward the idea of the Caspian Economic Forum, we proceeded from the possibilities of taking into account all these factors as a complex whole, creating conditions for the joint work through the establishment of a broad, ongoing platform for cooperation with the participation of states, international organizations, business structures, research centers.
Today this idea is on the way to its embodiment. A new, promising format of international partnerships is emerging, based on common values and united by common goals and objectives.
Congratulations to all of you on this first, but very important and significant event!
In the course of the forthcoming work, we will discuss various aspects of the Caspian agenda. The very name of the Forum – “economic”, of course, implies a special emphasis on issues of economy, trade, investment, innovation and technology. I am sure that we will have something to say to each other, exchange opinions and assessments. But still, before moving on to them, I would like to point out the main thing, without which not a single project, not one of the best and best undertakings could take place.
It is peace, security, friendship and mutual understanding between the coastal countries and the people inhabiting them. In this context, I want to recall that in order to ensure the peaceful and stable development of our region, to create new political and legal foundations for multilateral cooperation in the Caspian in April 2002, the first Summit of the Caspian littoral states was held in Ashgabat at the initiative of Turkmenistan. It was then that a solid foundation was laid for a systemic, multi-level and regular negotiation process in the Caspian.
In the future, our states, their leadership, showing exceptional foresight and political will, the desire to understand and take into account each other’s interests, have achieved significant results. We have traveled a really long way, reached important agreements in the political and diplomatic sphere, and formed a broad, meaningful legal framework for cooperation.
The result of this work was the signing last year in Aktau by the Presidents of the five states of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea – a document that opens up enormous prospects for partnership.
Over the years, a solid package of five-sided agreements on specific areas of activity in the Caspian has also been signed. Therefore, today we must focus on solving urgent practical problems of the Caspian development.
Among them, the most important, in our opinion, is giving powerful creative impulses to cooperation in the energy sector. Large reserves of hydrocarbon resources lying in the subsoil of the Caspian Sea and adjacent territories, when used effectively, are able to give a strong energy impulse to the dynamic and qualitative growth of national economies of both the coastal countries themselves and their neighboring states, and provide conditions for the creation of new industries building industrial facilities. The energy of the Caspian should become the basis for the dynamic development of the region’s economy.
In turn, the onset of favorable social consequences is associated with this: the creation of new jobs, improving the quality and standard of living of people, the construction of social infrastructure – schools, kindergartens, hospitals.
Industrial growth, largely associated with an increase in hydrocarbon production, is capable of fundamentally changing the entire economic landscape at this point in the globe, integrating the Caspian littoral into the global economic space as an equal and effective partner.
The Caspian is located at the crossroads of continental routes. The territories of the Caspian countries, which are not so far from each other, have direct access to South Asia and the Asia-Pacific region – in the east; Black and Mediterranean seas – in the west; through Iran to the Near and Middle East – in the south; through Russia and further northward – to the coast of the Baltic Sea.
This configuration opens up prospects for creating sustainable routes across all four major geographical azimuths. But for their normal functioning, the Caspian states must, first of all, establish a good system of transport communication with each other, build a modern port infrastructure, and ensure efficient logistics. It is necessary to work more actively on cooperation plans in the transport sector, with clearly defined action algorithms and realistic deadlines. And here I would like to return to the idea of creating a Caspian regional logistics center, designed to become a structure coordinating our joint activities in the formation and efficient use of new transit and transport corridors connecting Asia with Europe.
Dear Forum participants!
The Caspian economic strategy of Turkmenistan is based on the implementation of large-scale and long-term projects in such areas as energy, industry, transport, trade.
Today we are actively developing hydrocarbon deposits both on the shelf of the Caspian Sea and in the Caspian zone of Turkmenistan. At the same time, in close partnership with foreign companies, plants are being built on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian for the processing of hydrocarbon raw materials and production of such products as mineral fertilizers, polymers, liquefied natural gas, and various types of oil products.
Based on the national programs of socio-economic development of Turkmenistan, we carry out this work throughout the country, creating a solid foundation for an industrial society. At the same time, Turkmenistan is following the path of forming a modern and extensive transport and communication network. In this regard, in recent years alone, thousands of kilometers of roads and railways have been built in the country, which are important links in regional and international transport corridors.
Last year, the new International Sea Port of Turkmenbashi was put into operation with a capacity of 25-27 million tons of cargo per year. At the same time, a national marine merchant fleet was created in a short time, consisting of modern tankers, dry cargo ships, and ferries.
I give these examples to emphasize the feasibility of plans for the Caspian littoral states to enter vast international markets and major transportation routes. I repeat: our countries have all the opportunities for this, obvious competitive advantages.
In this context, the establishment of effective trade relations of the Caspian region with foreign markets is of particular importance. I am sure: we have something to offer to the world. These relations must be stable, free from politicization and unfair competition, and work on clear and transparent principles.
Here, I believe, we need to interact more actively with the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the World Trade Organization, and other specialized international structures, and speak at their platforms from a common, agreed-upon position. I also see the point in studying the positive work experience of a number of regional international associations: the Organization for Economic Cooperation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Since ancient times, the Caspian was at the center of trade routes, and was the most important link of the Great Silk Road. I am convinced that currently reviving this path, we should respect the history of its formation and development as an important factor in expanding trade, economic, cultural and civilizational ties between the peoples of Asia and Europe. On the other hand, this should be done on new, modern principles, taking into account the interests of all participants in this process and based on the principles of mutual respect and equal partnership.
The decisive condition for the success of the economic development of the Caspian region, its integration into world economic relations as a competitive and promising participant is reliance on science, intelligence.
The rapid technological breakthrough observed today, in fact, changes the whole familiar face of geoeconomics, the quality and level of managerial decisions, and the very content of global economic processes.
To integrate into these trends and, moreover, influence them here in our region, I believe this task should be considered as one of the priorities for the development of the Caspian region.
It is necessary to pay close attention to the creation of a systemic technological component here, allocating the necessary funds for this, mobilizing the intellectual, organizational potential. We must consistently fill our cooperation with innovative meanings so that they begin to determine the vectors of the future development of the region, its economy and social sphere.
As a first step, we consider it appropriate to form a real base platform for a technological and innovative launch. For these purposes, we propose creating an international innovation and technology center. It can be called the “Innovative City of the Caspian Sea”. Here, in this peculiar laboratory of ideas, scientists, specialists, representatives of fundamental and applied science from the Caspian and other states can work together to create a new technological structure for the Caspian, develop innovative cooperation models, innovative solutions to a wide range of Caspian issues – energy, industrial, logistic, infrastructural, environmental. All our activities in the Caspian should be strictly justified by scientific research, accompanied by technological developments.
We also consider it necessary to create a Digital Economy cluster under the Innovation City of the Caspian. This is important as a way forward, ensuring digitalization of the activities of the main sectors of the economy of the Caspian littoral states.
A special role is given to science in preserving the ecological balance of the Caspian Sea, the unique biodiversity of the sea. From an applied point of view, this means that all economic projects in the Caspian basin should be carried out on the basis of high international environmental standards.
In this regard, we advocate the creation of a new Caspian environmental program as a set of environmental measures aimed at the conservation and rational use of the rich natural resources of the Caspian Sea. At the same time, this Program could carry out the function of monitoring the environmental situation in the Caspian and formulate relevant recommendations to the governments of coastal countries. Turkmenistan is ready for a substantive consideration of this issue with all interested partners.
At the same time, we hope for the full support of the United Nations and, first of all, its specialized environmental institutions.
We strongly believe that ecology cannot be held hostage to economic and commercial benefits. This is a principled and responsible position that our country has consistently upheld from the stands of authoritative international organizations and which it strictly follows in the formation of its own national development plans.
In this regard, I consider it appropriate to establish effective channels of “green diplomacy” for the Caspian, to involve states, international agencies, environmental centers and the media in this activity. Our common goal is to create in the foreseeable future a well-structured and flexible mechanism of global environmental partnership for the sake of preserving this unique reservoir for all of humanity. I propose to think about this idea.
Dear Forum participants!
Speaking about the future of the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan considers it in the context of the future of the entire planet and correlates its work with the activities of the United Nations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We see the Caspian Sea, both geographically and in socio-economic terms, as one of the directions of the UN Strategy until 2030.
Sustainability of the economy, energy security, and environmental balance are the supporting pillars of the common Caspian home.
I am sure that our states, as responsible and respected members of the UN, should approach the implementation of their own development plans in accordance with the main lines of activity of the United Nations, and be its reliable partners. Therefore, I propose initiating a broad multilateral dialogue at the UN on the integrated development of the Caspian region, including based on the opinions and assessments that will be voiced during the work of the current Forum.
Dear participants! Dear friends!
The first Caspian Economic Forum is only the beginning of a long journey. We hope that such a format will become an effective mechanism for establishing a strategic dialogue and partnership in the Caspian. We sincerely believe in it.
The Caspian Sea is a unique place on earth. Here, on its shores, for centuries, a special, distinctive type of relationship between peoples has developed, and bridges of civilizational communication between East and West have been built.
Of course, there have been different, sometimes difficult periods in history, from which the right lessons must be learned. But today the Caspian opens up new horizons for us.
We often say that the Caspian should be a sea of peace, friendship and harmony. Believe me, the meaning of these words cannot be lost with time. They will always be relevant.
We want to see the Caspian Sea as a space of cooperation, development and prosperity, free from conflicts and confrontations, a place of unification of the energy of states, international organizations, business, scientific and technological potentials. This is how we determine the strategic perspective, calling it the “model of the future” for the Caspian.
Today, this model takes on distinct forms. Everything must be done so that it becomes viable, benefits people, serves the benefit of present and future generations, and contributes to the achievement of universal peace and progress.
Dear forum participants!
Once again, I congratulate all of you on the opening of the First Caspian Economic Forum, I wish you good health, prosperity and success in your upcoming work. [nCa, 12 Aug]
Turkmenistan and Russia Intend to Develop Multi-Aspect Partnership
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, who arrived in Turkmenistan as the head of the Russian delegation to participate in the First Caspian Economic Forum, met in Avaza on Monday.
Noting significant successes in implementing the existing agreements, the Turkmen leader and the head of the Government of the Russian Federation confirmed their readiness to build up a fruitful partnership in terms of identifying its new directions and opportunities, including taking into account the agreements reached within the framework of the First Caspian Economic Forum.
In this regard, Turkmen leader and the Russian Prime Minister noted the productivity of the meetings between the representatives of the competent authorities for the economy and transport of the Caspian littoral states, including Turkmenistan and Russia, as well as the first meeting of the Turkmen-Astrakhan Council on Entrepreneurship.
The priority vectors of interaction were the fuel and energy complex, shipbuilding, automotive industry, shipping in the Caspian Sea, agriculture, including the supply of food products to the Russian market.
Berdimuhamedov and Medvedev paid attention to aspects of cooperation in ensuring global security of energy supplies, optimizing transport flows in the Eurasian space and solving environmental problems.
The Head of the Turkmen state and the Chairman of the Government of Russia expressed confidence in the ongoing development of interstate dialogue and reiterated their mutual interest in building a multi-aspect partnership. [BT, 12 Aug]
Speech of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at First Caspian Economic Forum
Good afternoon, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude, thank the President of the country Gurbanguly Myalikgulyevich Berdimuhamedov, all the Turkmen colleagues for the invitation to speak at the first Caspian Economic Forum, for the warmth and cordiality with which we were met on Turkmen soil.
It is no coincidence that we gathered today in the Avaza tourist zone – today, when the International Caspian Day is celebrated, to discuss everything that concerns all the Caspian littoral states and our neighbors in the region. These problems are enough. My colleagues just talked about this. There are new investment opportunities in the oil and gas, electricity, transport, tourism, agro-industrial sectors, energy and transport projects, and, of course, environmental issues.
Our forum has a special task: to complement the multi-level system of cooperation within the framework of the “Caspian Five” with an effective and modern mechanism of business, trade and economic interaction. Reinforce important policy decisions with specific, mutually beneficial projects. Including – projects involving third countries. That is why here there are guests, heads of governments, representing e other states. After all, the Caspian region should be as open as possible for economic cooperation.
A balanced and internationally recognized legal framework for the development of such cooperation has already been formed. This has just been said from this rostrum. Exactly one year ago – on August 12, 2018 – the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea was signed. This is a fundamental document. Russia intends to ratify it in the very near future. The signing of the Convention, without exaggeration, is a historic event. We sought it for a long time, worked hard. I remember how this work went. And this is our common success, a confirmation that we can find mutually beneficial solutions. To do this calmly, without prescriptions imposed on the sides, respecting each other’s interests, and most importantly – equally sharing both the rights to use the natural resources of the Caspian Sea and the common responsibility for its fate.
Today we are discussing economic and environmental issues. But they cannot be separated from the threats that all countries face in one way or another. Terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, uncontrolled migration are far from a complete list. In the immediate vicinity of the Caspian Sea there are centers of instability, so we must be aware of the responsibility that lies on all the Caspian states.
The Caspian region has always been the intersection point of the geopolitical and economic interests of many leading states, political and business circles, various ethnic groups and faiths. And recently it has become one of the key regions of global politics. It’s clear why: First of all, because of its natural resources. Together with the Gulf countries, it forms the so-called energy ellipse, in which about 70% of the world’s oil reserves and 40% of natural gas are concentrated. For the Caspian littoral countries this, of course, is a geostrategic advantage. And, one of the most important areas of cooperation.
But the modern economy is not only oil and gas production. Digital technologies, clean energy, rational nature management, free movement of goods and services – these are what today make the country strong and competitive.
And we, the Caspian states, should not be left out of these trends. Not only and not so much the raw material component should determine the economic profile of our states. Optimal transport infrastructure, high-tech and safe production, incentive measures for investors, unique tourism products – this is how the Caspian region should be in the 21st century. It is in these areas that we need to focus in the coming years. I can say right away that Russia is ready for such work.
A little more details in each direction.
The first concerns transport infrastructure. The Caspian region is indeed the crossroads of world communications. For a long time, important trade routes that connect the North and South, East and West passed through these lands. Reliable and profitable transcontinental routes are now of exceptional importance for international trade, for the formation of large regional markets.
Over the past few years, much has been done to develop the transport and logistics potential of the region. Sections of international transport corridors have begun to work in stages. Port facilities are developing. Work is underway on a draft five-sided agreement on cooperation in the field of maritime transport. Its goal is to create unified and competitive transit conditions for the Caspian Sea.
We in Russia pay special attention to this topic. We are implementing a development strategy for Russian seaports in the Caspian basin for the period until 2030. It is about seriously upgrading port infrastructure, namely, checkpoints, railways and highways, ferries, logistics complexes, and where necessary, build new ones.
Our partners in the Caspian Five are also engaged in the development of their ports, as our colleagues spoke about here. As a result, firstly, mutual trade volumes are growing. As for our country, our trade with the Caspian states last year grew by 3.5%. It is not bad that there is growth, although, obviously, this growth can be even greater. Already here, at a forum in Turkmenbashi, the ministers of economy of our countries agreed to prepare a plan to strengthen economic cooperation in the Caspian region.
An ambitious goal has been set – to increase the turnover, in fact, by a multiple-fold.
Over the past year and a half, the supply of meat and grain products from the North Caucasus to Iran has increased several times. So all these trends are currently evident.
Secondly, the development of port infrastructure, as well as joint transport projects, can significantly strengthen our position in the global economy.
Transit transportation today is a lot of money, for which there is fierce competition. In order to attract the maximum volume of transit cargo to trans-Caspian routes, it is necessary to jointly integrate national port capacities into Eurasian transport and logistics chains. Coordinate tariff policy more closely, develop integrated logistics centers, and quickly pull up to international standards for passenger and freight transportation.
One of these promising areas is the North-South international transport corridor. According to experts, when it is used at full capacity, including rail, ferry, road and air services, goods from Europe through the Caspian Sea to the Near and Middle East and further to South Asia and back will be delivered 2.5 times faster than now.
At the conference of transport ministers held as part of the forum, proposals (and ours, the Russian proposal) on the use of innovative and information-navigation technologies to expand transport flows were considered. This will allow, without significant investments in the “solid” infrastructure itself, that is, in the laying of roads, to increase the volume of cargo transportation throughout the region.
Another area of work is the development of non-resource sectors, which should become new growth points in the Caspian region.
The fact that our countries have such opportunities is clearly visible at the exhibition of innovative technologies of the Caspian states. Russian companies, as well as participants from other countries, brought their interesting and promising developments – these are drones, modern building materials, electrical, testing and drilling equipment and much more. I believe that we must exchange this as well.
In order for these technologies and prototypes to become part of everyday life, we, the governments of the Caspian littoral states, need to work more actively with investors. We have successful experience in creating special economic zones using benefits. And the business has the opportunity of their optimal combination. Many companies are already taking advantage of these benefits. We have a special economic zone in Astrakhan – it is called “Lotus”, which establishes ties with partners from the Caspian littoral states.
Dear colleagues, speaking about trade and investment, we should not forget that the Caspian Sea is primarily a unique reservoir with a fragile ecosystem. The quality of life of millions of citizens depends on the state of this ecosystem. This is the third important area of our interaction.
I am absolutely convinced that all major projects in the Caspian Sea should undergo a thorough and impartial environmental review with the participation of experts from all the Caspian countries. Now such an examination will be easier. Last year, a five-sided Protocol on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context was signed, where assessments of the compliance of the proposed activity with environmental requirements are regulated.
For my part, I want to inform that Russia is taking active steps to preserve the biological resources of the Caspian. In Dagestan, a complex for the cultivation of sturgeon fish species began. In this sense, we must do everything to leave the Caspian alive for future generations.
And of course, here, on the coast of the Caspian Sea, I cannot but say about tourism, which is becoming one of the most important sectors of the global economy.
Beautiful nature, rich history and culture – all this allows the Caspian region to take its rightful place among the most popular tourist destinations, especially when it comes to environmental, ethnographic, and extreme tourism.
According to expert estimates, the Caspian coast can receive at least one million tourists annually. That is much more than now. But for this, much more needs to be done: to build the missing infrastructure, to create competitive tourism products, including cruise routes by sea with visits to port cities.
Recently, Astrakhan shipbuilders launched and are now equipping a new generation cruiser, Peter the Great, which will launch its first voyage next year. It will be possible to go along a circular route with calls to the ports of all five Caspian countries. Or cruise along the Caspian, Black and Azov seas.
In the coastal zones, a whole series of new resorts, recreation and treatment areas are being created, which become the centers of tourist clusters. A lot is being done in this direction here, in Turkmenistan, in your Avaza tourist zone. I was here 10 years ago and I want to congratulate my Turkmen friends on the excellent success in developing the tourism cluster in Turkmenistan. This is really impressive.
Dear colleagues, dear friends!
Even the ancients said that the mountains protect and disconnect, and the seas – connect. This is especially true for our Caspian Sea. It really unites Europe and Asia, the five Caspian littoral states and their partners. And of course, it unites people who live on its shores.
Once again, I want to thank our Turkmen friends for their hospitality, and to congratulate Kurban Bayram on the occasion. And invite everyone to Astrakhan, where we plan to hold the next, second Caspian Economic Forum.
Thanks for attention! Sag bollun! [Government.ru, 12 Aug]
Ashgabat and Tehran to Promote Intensified Business Contacts
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met with First Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri in Avaza on Monday.
During the exchange of views on the prospects of Turkmen-Iranian cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, the intention of both countries to promote intensified mutually beneficial business contacts, increase bilateral trade, and stimulate investment activity was confirmed.
The Head of state and his guest considered the prospects for cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, where there are wide opportunities in the context of the favorable geographical location of both countries and their huge natural resources.
Particular attention was paid to enhancing cooperation in the transport sector, where Turkmenistan came up with a number of important initiatives to form regional and international transport and communications infrastructure.
At the end of the meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and First Vice-President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Eshak Jahangiri expressed confidence in successful development of an interstate partnership that meets the interests of two friendly countries. [BT, 12 Aug]
Turkmenistan’s Foreign Policy Will Enhance Cooperation – Kazakh PM
Avaza National Tourist Zone on Monday hosted a meeting between the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, who arrived in Turkmenistan to participate in the First Caspian Economic Forum.
Welcoming the guest, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that Kazakhstan was and remains an important partner of Turkmenistan.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Askar Mamin, noted that the initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan aimed at consolidating peace, stability and prosperity on a regional and global scale are fully supported in Kazakhstan.
During the meeting, the Turkmen leader and Kazakh Prime Minister discussed the implementation of a number of interstate economic projects, as well as prospects for building partnerships in trade, logistics and energy projects actively promoted by Turkmenistan.
Mutual interest was expressed in the implementation of new joint projects, including in the field of gas chemistry.
Askar Mamin expressed confidence that the constructivism of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy strategy will contribute to enhancing cooperation in the Caspian region.
At the end of the meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the Prime Minister Kazakhstan Askar Mamin reaffirmed the two countries’ focus on the comprehensive development of interstate relations. [BT, 12 Aug]
Speech Prime Minister Askar Mamin of Kazakhstan
[narrative report from official website of prime minister of Kazakhstan]
In his speech, Prime Minister Askar Mamin emphasized that holding an economic forum is the implementation of the agreements of the heads of the Caspian states reached at the Aktau Summit on August 12, 2018. During the Aktau summit, chaired by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – N. Elbasy Nazarbayev signed the historic Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Improving the efficiency of interaction in the Caspian Sea will have a positive impact on the development of the coastal regions of Kazakhstan, transport and energy infrastructure, preservation of the ecological balance and biodiversity, which is fully consistent with the guidelines of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokaev on the development of cooperation of the Caspian littoral states.
Askar Mamin proposed a number of initiatives necessary to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation of the Caspian littoral states in trade, investment, transport, energy, tourism and environmental spheres.
The head of the Kazakhstan Government noted the need to create favorable conditions for attracting investment in the countries of the region, including using the capabilities of the Astana International Financial Center and existing agreements on free trade zones.
Askar Mamin made suggestions on improving the functional complementarity of transport systems and improving the efficiency of multimodal transportation. The prospects for tourism development in the Caspian were also identified. Caspian resorts can potentially host several million tourists annually.
The Kazakhstani side focused on the need to strengthen work to preserve the ecosystem of the Caspian Sea. The International Center for Green Technologies and Investment Projects, established in Kazakhstan, could become a successful platform for introducing clean technologies. [Website PM of Kazakhstan, 12 Aug]
Azerbaijan is Interested in Boosting Relations With Turkmenistan
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Novruz Ismail oglu Mammadov in the Avaza National Tourist Zone on Monday. He arrived in Turkmenistan to participate in the First Caspian Economic Forum.
The Prime Minister of Azerbaijan conveyed greetings from President Ilham Aliyev to the Turkmen leader. The guest emphasized that Azerbaijan is interested in strengthening relations with Turkmenistan and noted the importance of the First Caspian Economic Forum held in Avaza.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov conveyed his greetings to the top leadership of Azerbaijan, stressing that Turkmenistan values good relations with its closest neighbors and intends to further strengthen the fruitful dialogue.
Stressing the productivity of the exchange of views within the framework of the current Forum, Turkmen President and the head of the Azerbaijani government noted the need to continue constructive cooperation in enhancing trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations among Caspian countries.
In the context of the discussion of promising areas of the Turkmen-Azerbaijani partnership, the sides noted the considerable potential for enhancing fruitful cooperation, including in energy and logistics. They discussed the creation of the international transit and transport corridor Lapis Lazuli, which will allow the participating countries to diversify their access to regional and continental markets.
At the end of the meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the head of the Azerbaijani government expressed confidence in successful development of bilateral relations. [BT, 12 Aug]
Speech of Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov
[narrative report from AzerTac]
Prime Minister Novruz Mammadov, speaking at the forum, noted that Azerbaijan welcomes the initiative to hold the First Caspian Economic Forum. Expressing gratitude to President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the high level of organization of the event, the Prime Minister said that this forum will become a new format for enhancing cooperation between the Caspian countries. Novruz Mammadov brought to the attention of the forum participants that after the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in 2018, the issue of economic development of the Caspian region became particularly relevant. The Azerbaijani side expects that the Caspian Economic Forum will give an additional impetus to our cooperation in trade, transport, investment and tourism.
Touching upon the holding of the Caspian Exhibition of Innovative Technologies in the framework of the forum, the Prime Minister expressed hope that holding such exhibitions would contribute to the expansion of economic relations between the business circles of our countries and the improvement of information content in the region, and the organization of meetings between entrepreneurs in general will play a significant role in the prosperity of the region, the Azerbaijani side fully supports the holding of such meetings of business circles against the background of other official events of high level nya, focuses on the development of bilateral relations with the Caspian states, based on mutual respect and trust.
Stressing that Azerbaijan’s trade relations with the Caspian littoral countries are at the highest level, the Prime Minister said: “For the first half of 2019, Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with the Caspian littoral states increased by more than 28 percent compared to last year. Over the same period, the share of the Caspian states in the foreign trade turnover of the country amounted to more than 11 percent. I hope that the meetings of business circles organized within the framework of this forum will lead to an even greater increase in mutual trade. ”
Noting that ensuring the development of international and regional transport corridors plays an important role in improving the efficiency of the regional economy, Prime Minister Novuz Mammadov added that joint projects in the field of transport, infrastructure and logistics expand the economic opportunities and significance of our states. Recalling that the historical Silk Road has always been known as a strategic trade and economic corridor connecting Europe and Asia, the Prime Minister said that the favorable geographical position of our countries, large-scale projects being implemented here, the efficient use of the transit and freight potential provide good opportunities for a steady increase in revenue from this area: “Azerbaijan is very actively cooperating in the implementation of such international projects, as East-West and North-South. For example, in 2018, transit goods with a total weight of more than 9 million tons were transported through the territory of our country. Particularly strong growth was observed in transit of non-oil products, which amounted to 49 percent. There was a jump in volumes of transit of goods along the North-South route by 8 times. These figures prove once again that transit routes continue to expand, trade turnover is increasing, which ultimately leads to the prosperity of the whole region.
Stressing in his speech that the new Baku International Sea Trade Port occupies an important place in the transport system of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister noted that after putting it into operation, this logistics center became the intersection of roads, railways and sea routes in the region: “The capacity of this The port currently accounts for 15 million tons of cargo and 100,000 containers per year. It is planned to increase these indicators to 25 million tons of cargo and 1 million containers. I want to note the fact that Azerbaijan has the largest merchant fleet on the Caspian Sea, consisting of 260 ships. The creation of a free eco-economic zone around the port will create conditions for the development of cooperation in the trade, economic and transport sectors.
At the end of his speech, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan congratulated the forum participants on the holy holiday of Gurban Bayram, which is a symbol of spiritual unity, solidarity and fraternity, and once again expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for their sincere welcome and hospitality. [AzerTac, 12 Aug]
Turkmen FM meets ECO secretary general
On the 11th of August 2019, a meeting was held in Turkmenbashi city between the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization Dr.Hadi Soleimanpour who has arrived to Turkmenistan to attend the First Caspian Economic Forum.
During the meeting, the parties noted the efficiency of longstanding cooperation between Turkmenistan and the ECO which has started in the year 1992.
It was noted that at present time, the economic growth, security and stability are interrelated as never before. The parties considered the opportunities for widening cooperation on the ECO platform taking into consideration the strategically vital courses of the country, including the water, transport and energy diplomacy. [MFA Turkmenistan, 11 Aug]
Turkmen FM meets UNESCO executive secretary
On the 11th of August 2019, a meeting was held on the sidelines of the First Caspian Economic Forum between the Head of the external policy agency of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and Assistant Director General of UNESCO V.Ryabinin who has arrived to Turkmenistan on a working visit.
During the talks, the parties exchanged views on the favorable directions of cooperation between Turkmenistan and UNESCO. The parties noted with satisfaction the effectiveness of partnership in the scientific-educational and cultural spheres; particularly the projects on preserving and promoting tangible and intangible heritage were discussed.
Also, the UNESCO representative specifically noted the high organizational level of the First Caspian Economic Forum and underlined the vital role of the public diplomacy in the process of strengthening mutual understanding and trust between the nations, as well as the widening of cultural-humanitarian cooperation. [MFA, 11 Aug]
Turkmen FM meets FIATA chief
On the 11th of August 2019, a meeting was held on the sidelines of the First Caspian Economic Forum between the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and the President of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations Babar Badat.
During the talks, the guest noted the significance of cooperation of Turkmenistan with the FIATA, as well as underlined the timeliness of hosting the First Caspian Economic Forum in the context of intensification and widening of collaboration between the countries of the whole region.
The parties considered the opportunities for strengthening collaboration in the area of perfecting the international transport connections that directly affects the economic growth and stability by opening access to new regions and markets. [MFA, 11 Aug]
Turkmen FM meets EBRD VP
On the 11th of August 2019, a meeting was held in the city of Turkmenbashi between the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and the Vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Ms.Betsy Nelson.
After exchanging greetings, the parties noted the effectiveness of long-term partnership of Turkmenistan with the EBRD based on mutual trust and openness. The guest noted that the joint projects positively affect not only the stable economic and social development of Turkmenistan, but also pleasantly reflect on the neighboring countries in the region.
During the years of cooperation, a lot has been done in the area of private sector development, strengthening of financial foundation of the governmental and private organizations, modernization of transport connections in the region. The EBRD is ready to continue further its activities aimed at attracting direct foreign investments to support the diversification of the economy of Turkmenistan. [MFA, 11 Aug]
Rustam Minnikhanov visited gas chemical complex in Kiyanly
Today, as part of his stay in Turkmenistan, the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov visited the gas chemical complex for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene in Kiyanly, IA Tatar-inform reports.
Rustam Minnikhanov is on a working visit to Turkmenistan – as part of the Russian delegation, he takes part in the first Caspian Economic Forum in the Avaza national tourism zone. As part of a working visit to Turkmenistan, a presentation of the gas-chemical complex for the production of polyethylene and polypropylene in Kiyanly was organized for representatives of Tatarstan.
This ultramodern gas chemical complex was built by order of the State concern Türkmengaz by LG International Corp. and Hyundai Engineering (Republic of Korea) with the participation of TOYO Engineering Corporation (Japan) in 2018. The plant’s production capacity allows it to process 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year and, due to this, produce 386 thousand tons of high density polyethylene, 81 thousand tons of polypropylene.
Rustam Minnikhanov and his entourage visited the control center of the gas chemical complex and other units. [Turkmen Portal, 12 Aug]
Government of Turkmenistan and WWF sign Environmental Cooperation Agreement
The Government of Turkmenistan and the World Wide Fund for Nature have signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of environmental protection, the official website of WWF reports .
According to information, the document was signed in the framework of the first Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenistan, and then experts have to develop and agree on a plan of further actions. Thanks to the signing of the Cooperation Agreement, the work of the World Wildlife Fund in Turkmenistan will receive a new impetus.
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international public organization working in the fields of conservation, research and restoration of the environment. The main goal is to preserve the biological diversity of the Earth. [Turkmen Portal, 12 Aug]
Regular flights may be opened between Ashgabat and Astrakhan
Interim Governor of the Astrakhan Region of the Russian Federation Igor Babushkin proposed opening regular flights from Astrakhan Airport to Ashgabat, Atyrau and Tehran, TASS reports .
“A very significant issue is the establishment of air links in the Caspian. We have established work on direct flights to the Kazakh city of Aktau and the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, which has led to an increase in business contacts. I suggest opening regular flights between Astrakhan and Ashgabat and between Astrakhan and Tehran, Astrakhan and Atyrau, ”said Igor Babushkin at the first Caspian Economic Forum in Avaza.
Acting Governor of the Astrakhan Region Igor Babushkin said he was counting on support from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran in this matter.
Recall, two direct flights from Astrakhan to Turkmenistan have already been organized as part of the first Caspian Economic Forum.
In 2016, the construction of an amazing airport in terms of beauty, modernity, comfort and ergonomics was completed in Ashgabat. Its creation is due to the active development of the country and the increase in cargo and passenger traffic. The airport has received several international certificates and awards. Thanks to two runways of 3800 meters each, the International Airport of the Turkmen capital can accept aircraft of any type and carrying capacity. [Turkmen Portal, 12 Aug]
Berdimuhamedov wishes to purchase the entire line of Aurus cars
Turkmenistan will acquire the entire line of new Russian representative cars Aurus. One of such models was demonstrated on August 12 at the I Caspian Economic Forum (CEF-2019), reports Tass.ru.
– Prior to the forum, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Together they examined the Aurus Senat car, made in July specifically for demonstration at the CEF-2019 in Turkmenistan, the source said.
Berdimuhamedov and Medvedev discussed the merits of the car.
Approaching the car, Medvedev explained that the presented car is a “simple option”, while for leaders of states there is a “special option.
After that, the head of Turkmenistan got behind the wheel and examined the interior from the inside, separately noting a large number of digital technologies. Berdymukhammedov drew attention to the color and large size of the radiator.
– The issues regarding the acquisition of cars will later be settled by representatives of relevant ministries, interlocutors said.
For reference: The car interior is made of Russian materials in bright colors. The car is equipped with a nine-speed gearbox and a hybrid power plant with a V8 engine and an electric motor. The total capacity of the installation is 660 l / s, which allows a three-ton car to accelerate to 100 km / h in 6 seconds. The car is equipped with an integrated driver assistance system for driving, which includes adaptive cruise control, electronic stability control, an automatic emergency braking system, a collision avoidance system with pedestrian recognition, a system for recognizing road signs and tracking blind spots, and so on. The car has nine airbags. [CentralAsia.News, 12 Aug]
Financing to Support Implementation of Agenda 2030
Avaza – Within the first Caspian Economic Forum the UN in Turkmenistan jointly with the Government of Turkmenistan initiated the discussion on financing the implementation of the Agenda 2030. The dialogue was joined by the high-level representatives of the international financial institutions.
The event started with the presentation by Mr. Atadjan Atayev, Head of Strategic and Sustainable Development Department, Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan. He briefed the participants on the Voluntary National Review of Turkmenistan delivered at the High-Level Political Forum in New York in July 2019.
The second session of the event focused on discussing the role of financing for sustainable development inthe Caspian region, North and Central Asia and beyond. Chaired by Mr. Rahimberdi Jepbarov, Chairman of the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan, the high-level plenary sessionincluded UN Under-Secretary-General Olga Algaerova, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, senior managers of the United Nations Development Programme, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The participants discussed how various stakeholders can contribute to a more robust and diversified financing environment for development in the region.
“To address the risks to the implementation of the SDGs, we need to act urgently and reconsider the way we organize our financial systems. We need cooperation and partnerships at all levels – global, regional and national – to increase both the amount and the impact of investment through action by all stakeholders: the private sector, official development assistance, international financial institutions and philanthropies”, noted Ms. Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan at the opening of the event.
The side event was followed bysigning of the Memorandum of Understanding between UN in Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Finance and Economyon Cooperationin achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Turkmenistan that will set a strategic partnership to accelerate implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda. [UN Turkmenistan, 11 Aug]
/// nCa, 13 August 2019