Ambassador: Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Türkiye summit will have an impact on the transformation of the three states into a single energy hub-INTERVIEW

Gurbanmamet Elyasov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan

© APA | Gurbanmamet Elyasov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan

# 13 February 2023 15:53 (UTC +04:00)

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan Gurbanmamet Elyasov was interviewed by APA Agency

You have been appointed an ambassador of Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan in August 2022. First of all, it would be interesting to know your impressions of our country.

Azerbaijan is one of the most reliable partners for Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea region, with which our country has established close relations in various spheres. Of course, it is a great honor for me to be an ambassador to the brotherly country. After all, our historical roots are the same, our previous generations lived side by side for centuries, preserving peacefulness and good neighborliness. Today we observe how over the past few years the scope of cooperation between the two countries has expanded. This is clearly evidenced by the high-level meetings of the Heads of State of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. During these negotiations, a number of important intergovernmental agreements and other documents have signed that complement the regulatory framework for cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Last year, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the independent states of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, founded in 1992, was celebrated. How do you assess the dynamics of the development of relations during this period?

Indeed, for more than three decades, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan have been following the path of independence, which has provided historical achievements in the development of the economy, culture, education, science, sports, etc. Last year in June we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In such a short period of time, relations between our countries have reached a strategic character. This is evidenced by the high-level meetings of the heads of state of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. The visits of the President of Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan and President Ilham Aliyev to Ashgabat this year, the discussions held during the visits and the agreements reached play an important role in determining further areas of cooperation. They also complement the regulatory framework for cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Please share your views on current trade and economic relations and trade turnover between our countries. Are there any proposals to increase the volume of trade?

– Relying on the good traditions of friendship and mutual respect, over the past decades, our people have succeeded in bringing interstate cooperation, as I have already said, to the level of strategic partnership. Bilateral cooperation is developing dynamically in the political, trade, economic, energy, humanitarian, and many other fields. In this context, it can be noted that in 2022, the volume of trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan increased five times, which is a record figure. Here, a significant role is assigned to the Intergovernmental Commission, the sixth meeting of which was held on November 29, 2022, in Baku. I am convinced that the agreements reached during the meeting will contribute to the achievement of the goals set for the further intensification of effective cooperation. In addition, I am sure that the results of the Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Türkiye summit held in Awaza in December 2022 will have an impact on the development of transport and transit potential, and on the transformation of the three states into a single energy hub.

– We know that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan provide mutual support and close cooperation within the framework of international organizations, including the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization of Turkic States, the OSCE, and other structures. What steps are being taken to further expand cooperation between our countries on international platforms?

– Over the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, we have accumulated extensive experience in interaction not only in a bilateral format but also through authoritative international organizations, primarily the UN. In this regard, numerous examples can be given when the Azerbaijani side supported the international initiatives of Turkmenistan, including co-authorship in more than 15 resolutions of the UN General Assembly initiated by our country. In turn, Turkmenistan with great respect supports the proposals of Azerbaijan put forward in the international arena, as well as its candidacies in elections to various multilateral structures. In this context, it is necessary to note the successful chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Non-Aligned Movement in 2019-2023, which once again confirmed the high authority of the country and its leadership.

What steps are being taken to raise the cultural relations between our countries to a higher level?

In the process of developing Turkmen-Azerbaijani cooperation, interaction in the humanitarian field is also of priority. Figures of science and culture of the two countries take an active part in international conferences, exhibitions, and other events held both in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Carrying out various cultural events, regular contact between representatives of the creative and scientific intelligentsia will contribute to the enrichment of the established fruitful dialogue. For its part, Turkmenistan confirms its openness to the organization of cross Days of Culture in the coming period. Good opportunities for cooperation also exist in the field of tourism. Here the main factor is the presence of a rich historical and cultural heritage in Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, unique natural objects, and historical monuments of great interest. In addition, an active character is inherent in the interaction between the two countries within the framework of the International Organization of Turkic Culture - TURKSOY. As is known, the participants of this organization supported and declared 2024 the year of the great poet and thinker of the Turkic world - Makhtumkuly Pyragy, and the ancient Turkmen city of Anau - the cultural capital of the Turkic world for the same year. In addition, the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Turkmen poet Magtymguly Pyragy was also reflected in the Samarkand Declaration, approved by the Heads of State at the 9th Summit of the Organization of Turkic States held on 11 November 2022.

Recently, the President of Turkmenistan, Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov, made his first state visit to the People's Republic of China. International media write that the leaders of the two countries announced that the Sino-Turkmen relations have been upgraded to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership. It is clear that the basis of cooperation between the two countries is the partnership in the energy sector, so it is interesting in what direction the strategic cooperation will expand.

Quite right, the highly respected President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov paid a state visit to the People's Republic of China, on January 5-6, 2023. During the visit, the parties noted with satisfaction that the established relations of mutual understanding and respect between the two countries and the leaders of the two states, along with regular, productive contacts at the intergovernmental and interdepartmental levels, create a favorable basis for effective interaction in a number of priority areas. Among the most important of them are trade and economics, fuel and energy, transport and communication, cultural and humanitarian spheres, and cooperation which fully meets the development priorities of the two friendly states.

Two years ago, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on joint exploration, development, and development of hydrocarbon resources of the "Dostlug" field in the Caspian Sea. This historical event is regarded as the beginning of a new stage...

This Memorandum was signed as a result of many years of great work carried out by our countries, and this work is aimed at unlocking the huge potential of the two largest energy powers and creating favorable conditions for the development of sustainable energy in the Caspian Sea region. I am confident that this project will help strengthen the energy cooperation between our countries, and new stages will open in the energy cooperation between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea, and these are new opportunities for joint work on a solid international legal basis, additional incentives for large foreign investments, development national economies of the two countries.