On 14 October 2022, Astana hosted summit of the Council of CIS Heads of State under the chairmanship of the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. For the first time in the last few years, the event was held in a face-to-face format.
The meeting was attended by:
- President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
- Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan
- President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko
- President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov
- President of Russia Vladimir Putin
- President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon
- President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov
- President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev
- Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee Sergey Lebedev.
Meeting in narrow format
Opening the meeting, Tokayev welcomed all summit participants, highlighting the participation of the leader of Turkmenistan.
“As a member of the Council, the President of Turkmenistan, dear Serdar Gurbangulyevich Berdimuhamedov, is participating in the meeting today for the first time. On behalf of the colleagues present here and on my own behalf, I would like to welcome you and wish you success in your responsible state activities,” he said.
In a narrow format, the heads of state exchanged views on topical issues of cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The chairmanship of the CIS in 2023 will be transferred to the Kyrgyzstan.
The Council decided to appoint Sergei Lebedev as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the next three-year period.
The expanded part of the summit started with discussing the role of the Inter–Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS member States in the development of the Commonwealth. They heard the report of the Chairman of the Council of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly Valentina Matvienko. She emphasized the IPA’s role as a functioning integration structure, as well as its contribution to the formation and development of inter-parliamentary cooperation within the CIS, in her speech.
The heads of State also supported the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan to create an international organization for the support and promotion of the Russian language under the auspices of the CIS and approved its Concept. This organization will be aimed at preserving cultural and humanitarian cooperation based on the close harmony of the Russian language and the languages of the CIS member states.
The Heads of State decided to declare:
- 2024 – the Year of the Volunteer Movement,
- 2025 – the Year of the 80th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War – The Year of Peace and Unity in the Fight against Nazism
- 2026 – the Year of Health Protection.
At the initiative of Kazakhstan, 2023 has been declared the Year of the Russian Language as the language of Interethnic communication in the CIS.
A statement on the development of cooperation in the field of culture was adopted. This document envisages strengthening of intercultural dialogue, the development of traditions of multiculturalism in the CIS, the popularization and mutual enrichment of national cultures.
The meeting also decided to implement the Interstate program “Cultural Capitals of the Commonwealth” in the Russian Federation in 2023. St. Petersburg will receive this honorary status.
A number of decisions relates to the security field.
The heads of state signed an Agreement on cooperation in combating corruption. The agreement will contribute to improving the effectiveness of cooperation in the fight against offenses, the development and implementation of a coordinated anti-corruption policy. It will be open for accession by any CIS member state, as well as any country that shares the goals and principles of the Agreement.
The summit also approved a Program of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism for 2023-2025. The Program’s activities involve the improvement of organizational and legal mechanisms of cooperation in the fight against terrorism and extremism, the preparation and conduct of joint activities aimed at preventing, detecting and suppressing terrorism and extremism, information, analytical and scientific support for the activities of the CIS countries in this area, the development of human resources of competent authorities.
Reaffirming the commitment to international obligations arising from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992 and the Paris Agreement of 2015, the CIS heads of State adopted a joint statement on cooperation in the climate sphere, thus confirming their intention to make constructive contribution to the implementation of the global climate agenda.
According to the commit decision, an Advisory Council of Heads of Electoral Bodies will be established. The purpose of the creation of the Council is to exchange experience on ensuring the electoral rights and freedoms of citizens, improving the legal conditions for holding elections and referendums in accordance with national legislation and international obligations of the CIS States.
The Heads of State instructed the governments of the CIS countries to finalize the internal coordination of the draft Agreement on Free Trade in Services for its further signing by the Council of CIS Heads of Government.
In order to ensure the political, economic, social and other rights of citizens of the CIS member states, the Regulations on the CIS Human Rights Commission was adopted.
The CIS Council of heads of state awarded the Chairman of the TV and Radio Company “Mir” Radik Batyrshin a Diploma of the Commonwealth of Independent States for a great personal contribution to the formation of the common information space of the CIS, strengthening friendship and cooperation between the countries and in connection with the 30th anniversary of the TV and Radio Company “Mir”.
The next CIS summit will be held on 13 October 2023 in Bishkek.
Speech by President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov
(Here is slightly paraphrased speech by President of Turkmenistan at the CIS Summit in Astana. For convenience, the text is divided into subheadings according to the topics covered in the remarks).
First of all, let me express my gratitude to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for organizing this meeting, cordiality, hospitality and excellent working conditions.
Economic Cooperation in CIS
Cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, despite objective global trends and difficulties, in my opinion, remains stable and dynamic. I believe that this nature of our relations is dictated by a common understanding of the necessity and prospects for their further development, a sober vision of the new realities of the global and regional agenda, which require an adequate coordinated response. I am convinced that the CIS format gives us the opportunity to build clear lines and priorities of partnership, using its undoubted strong points: the accumulated experience of cooperation, its equal nature, responsibility of leaders, common historical legacy, deep humanitarian ties.
These factors can and should continue to play a positive, constructive role in the viability of the CIS as an important and effective interstate mechanism both for CIS states and a partnership model attractive to neighboring countries and regions.
First of all, we are talking about economic, trade, and investment ties. And we should admit frankly, that our combined capabilities in this sense are still far from being fully used.
As you know, at a meeting of the Council of Heads of the Commonwealth of States in Ashgabat in October 2019, a Declaration on strategic economic cooperation of the CIS member states, developed on the initiative of Turkmenistan, was signed. This document formed the basis of the Strategy of Economic Development until 2030 adopted later, gave new boost to our partnership and business ties.
We are pleased to note that the priorities of the Strategy include such as transport, fuel and energy complex, communications, industrial cooperation, trade, innovation and technology. We are convinced that the current potential of the CIS allows us to talk in substantive terms about the implementation of significant projects in these promising industries, and the territories of our countries to become the main routes of economic cooperation on the continent connecting Europe and Asia.
In this context, we emphasize the importance of promoting the economic vectors and interests of the CIS beyond the geographical boundaries of the Commonwealth, integrating neighboring regions into our projects. First of all, this concerns the creation of transport and transit infrastructure, optimization and expansion of energy supplies, laying new communications.
In particular, we see great opportunities for cooperation in these areas in the Caspian region, the creation of a modern system of combined logistics with the participation of land-locked countries. Most of our countries belong to this category. In this regard, we propose to consider the prospects of using the port infrastructure on the Caspian Sea in the interests of the CIS, including the capacity of the International Seaport of Turkmenbashi, as well as the growing merchant fleet of Turkmenistan.
In 2019, during the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenbashi, at the Second Caspian Economic Forum held recently in Moscow, as well as at the Conference of Ministers of Transport of Landlocked Developing Countries held under the auspices of the UN in Turkmenistan in August this year, conceptual issues of multilateral trade and economic cooperation in the Caspian sea were discussed. Many states, especially those adjacent to the CIS, are interested in cooperation in this area. We believe that the Caspian direction should take its proper place in the long-term plans of the CIS, be considered as a zone of priority economic partnership.
Turkmenistan has initiated and is implementing energy, transport and communication projects in the southern direction of the Commonwealth – to Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. There are plans to diversify them with access to the Indian Ocean, to the Persian Gulf countries, to the Middle East. I believe that the CIS states could actively join such projects.
This is a very promising and profitable business. Let’s offer potential partners the launch of a multilateral mechanism for communication on these projects. I am convinced and I know that such a proposal will find a positive, interested response from them. I think it is necessary to give relevant instructions and powers to the relevant CIS committees.
As for the development of trade and economic relations within the Commonwealth itself, there is a need to overcome the objective difficulties that slowed down our business ties during the pandemic as soon as possible. It is necessary to re-check the positions in order to clearly imagine our capabilities and determine prospects.
To do this, we propose to think about organizing a multidisciplinary economic exhibition-fair of the CIS countries as a platform for establishing further substantive partnership, activating trade, restarting and cooperative ties in various industries.
Countering Security Risks
A few words about the foreign policy agenda. At the recent Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States in Cholpon-Ata, Turkmenistan put forward a number of security initiatives. I believe that they are equally relevant for our entire Commonwealth.
We’re talking about both clear and concealed threats that materialize in various ways and under varied conditions. They include the penetration of extremist and radical elements into the CIS space, terrorist threats, drug trafficking, other types of illegal activities; conflict potential within some CIS regions; unfair use of information technologies, the implantation from the outside of ideas and attitudes that run counter to the historical traditions of our peoples, basic values and age-old foundations.
These challenges require us to create effective protective mechanisms that guarantee the Commonwealth from becoming an arena of confrontation and conflict, taking measures to set up a solid, long-term and indivisible security system. In this regard, it is important to improve the international legal and organizational framework of the CIS in these areas.
We propose to instruct the foreign ministries of our countries to start preparing relevant proposals, as well as to intensify joint activities through special services. Together we must make sure that the CIS space remains a zone of stability, not subject to risks to peace and development.
Despite the difficulties of the pandemic period, we managed to prevent a break in cultural, scientific, and educational ties. Humanitarian cooperation continues to be a strong unifying factor in the life of the CIS, it strengthens and cements interstate relations.
Sports cooperation is a crucial component in this context, and Turkmenistan has traditionally placed a high value on it as seen by the fact that it regularly organizes and hosts key international sporting events. We feel that the moment is now to give the CIS sports collaboration a really comprehensive and organized character.
In this connection, we propose the creation of a Coordinating Committee for International Sports games under the auspices of the CIS Council for Physical Culture and Sports. More specifically, to start work on organizing regular “Friendship Games”, and open to participation not only athletes from the CIS, but also from other countries that will show interest in them. “Friendship Games” can have a seasonal character, that is, they can be summer and winter, held in the format of youth, youth competitions, individual sports, etc.
We have developed a draft Charter of the Coordinating Committee with a detailed statement of its goals, composition, and organizational aspects. We count on the support of this initiative and are ready, taking into account the existing experience and the availability of good infrastructure, to hold the first “Friendship Games” in Turkmenistan.
Finally, I would like to reaffirm Turkmenistan’s solid commitment to continued close cooperation within the CIS, as well as my belief in the great prospects for our cooperation.
I express my gratitude to the Republic of Kazakhstan for its skillful and effective chairmanship in the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2022.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the Head of the Executive Committee, CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Nikolaevich Lebedev for the effective coordination of our work and contribution to the successful holding of this meeting. ///nCa, 15 October 2022