This is unofficial, slightly paraphrased translation of the text received from the foreign office of Turkmenistan:
1. How do you assess this format of cooperation (Meeting of Special Representatives for Afghanistan in the “CA-EU” format), in particular, your comments on the results of today’s meeting?
Teri Hakala: First of all, I want to emphasize that this is our 4th meeting in this format, and after the pandemic for the first time we meet in person. We are grateful to the Turkmen side for the excellent organization of today’s meeting. I believe that this format is quite successful, because we (the EU) highly value the knowledge, contacts and understanding of the diplomacy of the Central Asian countries, especially Turkmenistan (you know your neighbors well, especially from the inside). Therefore, I believe that we have created a fairly successful platform, and the fruitful bilateral meetings yesterday and today on the sidelines of our meeting are proof of that. Every time we can discuss in depth the possibilities of developing our cooperation on Afghanistan issues. So, as the European Union, we highly appreciate this format. Also at today’s meeting, the importance of such meetings/meetings was stated. At the same time, within this format, we can flexibly cooperate and use the experience and knowledge of our partners’ region. So we are happy to continue in this format and will closely continue our cooperation in this direction.
2. How do you assess the current state of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the EU, both in bilateral and multilateral formats?
T.Hakala: Speaking about our cooperation in a multilateral format, I want to note that relations are developing in a positive way. The proof of this is the fact that Turkmenistan these days has provided us with a good platform for discussing issues of our (EU-CA) multilateral cooperation. At the same time, Turkmenistan is actively cooperating in all forms of our interregional cooperation. I think that we are progressing (with Turkmenistan). At the same time, I would like to note that there is a solid potential for building up our ties on multilateral platforms.
We always emphasize that regional cooperation with Central Asia is very important for us. Because, if we talk about interconnectedness, then your (Central Asian) region is very important to us, both in political and economic aspects. Also in our interregional context, we pay close attention to the issue of security, climate change and ecology.
As for bilateral cooperation (with Turkmenistan), we can also note the intensification of our relations in various areas: three years ago we opened an EU representative office in Ashgabat and this was a big step on the part of the European Union to show that Turkmenistan is an important partner for us in the Central Asian region. Over the years, our Representative Office has been working closely with the Government of Turkmenistan in various spheres of the economy, including regional security, the environment, culture, education and youth policy. In general, we have a number of promising niches in the bilateral format, and therefore I hope for further strengthening of our relations.
3. Could you give an assessment of Turkmenistan’s efforts on the Afghan track, in particular, in the peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue?
T.Hakala: I want to emphasize once again that Turkmenistan is doing a lot in this direction. This is evidenced by the statements of today’s speakers at the meeting, who unanimously noted the importance of the efforts of the Turkmen side in the peaceful restoration of peaceful Afghanistan. Turkmenistan, being a neutral state, is doing a huge humanitarian work in the Afghan direction. You have centuries-old ties with the Afghan people, established political and economic ties with this country.
I would even say that Turkmenistan acts very modestly in this matter, that is, it does not promote itself and does not advertise itself around. Much has been said today that, despite such a difficult situation in Afghanistan, your country is intensively carrying out humanitarian work and is actively involved in resolving issues peacefully.
In this regard, I would like to note that the EU greatly appreciates Turkmenistan’s efforts in the peaceful settlement of the Afghan problem and (your country) is an important partner for us on this issue in the region. ///Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, May 27, 2023