Turkmenistan strategy is to develop constructive partnership in the Caspian Sea

During the session of the cabinet of Ministers on November 18, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that development of mutually beneficial partnership with neighbouring countries including with Caspian states is one of the priority directions of foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan, which takes active part in formation of relative legal framework indicated by his constructive initiatives.

Having confirmed the commitment of our country to wide successful cooperation in the Caspian region, the Head of the State noted the importance of further consolidation of efforts for development of balanced decisions for the Caspian issues, which are summoned to provide reliable base for development of mutually beneficial partnership in different spheres.

As is known, according to the proposals of the Leader of the Nation uttered during III Summit of the Heads of the Caspian States in Baku in 2010, the Agreements on preservation and rational use of water and biological resources of the Caspian Sea and cooperation in prevention and response of emergency situations in the Caspian Sea were drafted and signed. The Agreement on cooperation in hydrometeorology of the Caspian Sea was also developed and adopted under support of the Head of Turkmenistan.

Being active participant of the negotiation process on the Caspian range of issues, Turkmenistan, at the same time, undertakes large work for protection of environment of this unique water pool. This is evidenced by productive work of the Interdepartmental Commission on the issues of the Caspian Sea, which was established to coordinate the activity of relative ministries and branch departments in Turkmen sector of the Sea as well as for steadfast realization of adopted National Caspian Action Plan, which stipulates specific measures for prevention of environment pollution, preservation of biological diversity of the Caspian Sea, rational use and reproduction of biological resources.

Our country propose new approaches to solution of existing and prevention of possible ecological problems in close cooperation with its neighbours and partners as well as with large competent organizations and structures. This is visually indicated by adopted above-mentioned agreements initiated by Head of the State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov including the Agreement on preservation and rational use of biological resources of the Caspian Sea, which established legal framework for joint implementation of combined measures for protection of rare fish species, especially the sturgeon.

This is Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea, which is according to international experts is most environmentally friendly. The country undertakes steadfast work for greening of industrial branches of the economy, improvement of national legislation taking into account international norms and standards. It is no coincidence, therefore, that all large-scale transformation programmes are closely related to ecological aspect.

Thus, following the principles of equal long-term partnership, Turkmenistan makes considerable contribution to the development of positive processes in the Caspian Sea, to preservation of ecological prosperity, biological diversity and rational use of the richest natural reserves of ancient Hazar, consolidation of its status as a sea of peace and concord.

During IV Summit of the Caspian States in Astrakhan in September of 2014, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov spoke with initiative on consolidation of efforts for development of the partnership in legal, trade and economic, transport spheres.

Regarding to the first direction, the proposal on activation of the cooperation in the Convention on Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and regular meetings of the ministers of foreign affairs of the Caspian states was given. Along with this, the Leader of the nation offered to start detailed development of ten Protocols to the Agreement on Cooperation in Security in the Caspian Sea.

In this regard, the session of the ministers of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russian federation and Turkmenistan was held on July 13, 2016. Its agenda included discussion of the project of above-mentioned Convention. Besides, the session of special working group on deputy ministers level for discussion of the Provisions of this important document was held on October 23 � 24 of the current year. Next meeting is planned to be organized in Ashgabat in the second half of December.

For practical realization of the Agreement on cooperation in security sphere, the talks for discussion of the Draft Protocol on Cooperation in illegal extract of biological resources (poaching) in the Caspian Sea was held in Ashgabat with participation of the representatives of the Caspian states.

In the context of realization of the initiatives of the Leader of the Nation on the second and third directions, currently, the meeting of the experts for development of the Agreement on trade and economic cooperation in the Caspian Sea, planned to be conducted in December, is under preparation. It is worth reminding that negotiations for discussion of the draft Agreement on cooperation in transport in the Caspian Sea were held in Turkmen capital on November 15 � 16.

Maximum use of the potential of the Caspian Sea, the communication hub of continental significance, is strategy direction that opens perspectives of expansion of trade and economic relations between Caspian states and their entering of the world's markets. In particular, development of the project of the above-mentioned Agreement on cooperation of the Caspian States in transport, which stipulates establishment of the Caspian regional transport and logistic centre, is aimed at this.

International initiatives of Turkmenistan, uttered during 65th, 66th and 70th sessions of the United Nations general Assembly, Summits of the heads of the CIS countries, the SCO and other high-level forums, are aimed at improvement and development of trade and economic relations in the light of new realities and demands of today. In particular, it is about development of the UN Special Programme for development of transport, which stipulates transport opportunities between the Caspian and Black Seas, Central Asia and Middle East, and Eurasian continent.

The Resolution the Role of transport and transit corridors in provision of international cooperation for sustainable development, initiated by our state and adopted by the UN General Assembly has great importance in this context. According to the Resolution, Ashgabat will host Global Conference for Sustainable Transport System under the UN aegis on November 26 � 27 of the current year.

The currency of this subject is also highlighted by successful events of international level initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and dedicated to the role of transit and transport corridors in provision of international cooperation, stability and sustainable development. Thus, in the beginning of September of 2014, large forum gathered leaders and representatives of competent organizations and structures in Turkmen capital including the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the International Road Transport Union (IRU), the Intergovernmental Commission of the Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) as well as participants from more than 30 countries.

Trying maximally realizing existing considerable potential in this sphere, our country successfully implements target national programmes of complex modernization of equipment and facilities base of this branch, expansion of existing and expansion of new transport and communication networks. All these measures are summoned to enhance active integration of domestic transport system into international communication infrastructure, establishment of large logistic centres in Turkmenistan, which provides regional coordination of multimodal cargo trafficking.

Thus, establishment of modern transport system is quite comparable with the Great Silk Road, which run from ancient times and being revived today. In this relation, it is worth mentioning the rapid construction of International Sea Port in Turkmenbashy.

This large investment project stipulates construction of automobile, passenger, loading and polypropylene terminals, bulk cargo terminal as well as shipbuilding and ship repair yards. Project capacity of the shipyard is 4 � 6 ships per year built with use of modern technical equipment and automated systems, which meets international quality standards. Besides, this high technological facility will be able to make full repair of different ships (capacity 20 � 30 ships per year).

Formation of modern commercial fleet of Turkmenistan is one of the priority directions of the state policy in transport communications. Industrial and agricultural equipment, auto transport, metal works, timber, mineral fertilizers are delivered to our country and polypropylene, coke and other hydrocarbons, chemical products are exported via Turkmenbashy port. The capacity of cargo traffic crossing the harbour considerably increased recently.

This is mutual interest of all Caspian states in efficient use of growing potential of maritime lines that stipulates the review of the Draft Protocol on Cooperation in Navigation Security in the Caspian Sea by the experts of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan during the session in Turkmen capital on November 17 � 18. This document is related to solution of most important issues � the prevention of accidents of ships, protection of life and health of crews and passengers, provision of security of transport means and cargoes.

The document covers broad spectrum of issues related to fulfilment of norms and standards of construction, equipment and provision of marine vessels, their exploitation, qualification of crew, organization of search and rescue operations at sea as well as control in marine terminals, accident investigations, prevention of negative impact of dangerous factors for the navigation including pollution of marine environment and artificial marine facilities such as underwater cables, pipelines, drilling platforms, other vessels, etc.

Source: Turkmenistan State News Agency-TDH