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CIS summit

December 5, 2012, Ashgabat

Vladimir Putin made a working visit to Turkmenistan, where he took part in the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State.

Also taking part in the summit were President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade, Prime Minister of Moldova Vladimir Filat, and Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Erlan Abdylayev. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov welcomed the summit participants.

Signing of a package of agreements took place following the summit, in particular on security and law and order. The documents signed include an agreement on cooperation in training anti-terrorism units’ personnel and an agreement to establish a council of heads of the  CIS countries’ financial intelligence agencies to coordinate joint efforts to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The summit participants also approved decisions to declare 2013 the Year of Environmental Culture and Protection and start preparing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War in 2015.

The meeting was the concluding event for Turkmenistan’s presidency of the CIS in 2012. The Council of Heads of State will hold its next meeting in Belarus, which will take over the CIS presidency in 2013.

Mr Putin also held meetings with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

* * *

Speech at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of State

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Berdimuhamedov,

Let me start by saying that it’s been a long time since I last visited [Ashgabat], and I must say that the city makes a very pleasing impression. It is developing rapidly and according to a common plan, judging by what we have seen so far. The city is looking very beautiful, and I congratulate you on this, for developing the country’s capital city is in itself a good project.

Turning to our work together, I note that this is the first time Turkmenistan has held the CIS presidency, and it is certainly doing a very effective and responsible job, as we can see from the substantive programme on our agenda today, including the declaration on further all-round cooperation in the CIS, drafted at the President of Turkmenistan’s initiative. This document has our full support.

I think that economic cooperation within the CIS continues to be the most important part of our work. It is especially relevant today, as the global economic crisis continues and in some cases is even growing deeper. The agreement on a free-trade zone within the CIS gives us new possibilities for fighting the crisis and building up our business ties.

Most of the participating countries have not only signed but already ratified the agreement. We hope that those countries that have yet to make the final decision will do so soon, and those countries that have not yet ratified the agreement will do so by the end of this year. Only two countries have not done so yet – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as I recall. I am in touch with my colleagues on this matter and as far as I understand it is just a technical issue and work is proceeding as normal.

We wholeheartedly welcome Uzbekistan’s desire to join the CIS free-trade zone. We will help in every way we can, and I appeal to my colleagues to take this same position and support Uzbekistan.

We welcome the start of work on drafting an agreement on free trade in services. This is our Ukrainian colleagues’ initiative. I think that carrying out these proposals will bring real benefits for all of the participating countries and will give us new opportunities to develop effective economic ties.

We will take another step to strengthen our economic ties today by signing the agreement on cooperation in organising an integrated currency market in the CIS. This agreement’s practical implementation will help us to make use of our national currencies in carrying out our commercial plans, help our countries’ banks to make their activities more effective, and will certainly contribute to macroeconomic stability in the region.

This step will also be of undoubted help in deepening our integration efforts. I am referring primarily to the  Customs Union and the  Common Economic Space. We welcome all countries that wish and are ready to join these integration organisations. Let me stress this: all countries that wish and are ready to join. This is a reciprocal process, but it is something that we most certainly welcome.

I have already informed you on the results of the  APEC summit in Vladivostok. The Asia-Pacific region is the most promising part of the world. While North America and Western Europe still face problems in their economies, the Asia-Pacific region continues to grow, and we all realise that to a large extent this is where the global economic future lies.

I therefore want to say once more that we did our best to highlight all of the advantages of our integration efforts at the APEC summit, and I can tell you that we received a very positive response from our partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

Russia will host two big international events over the coming period: the G20 summit next year and the G8 summit in 2014. I can assure you that we will take into account all of the interests that I hope you will present in good time. I hope to see some of the participants in today’s meeting at these events. I think this will be important in advancing our common interests.

Just as important is to develop our coordination on topical issues with the  OSCE. Regrettably, the state of affairs in the OSCE does not inspire optimism. It is high time the organisation stops serving the particular countries’ interests and concentrates instead on an agenda that can unite us. We hope that Ukraine will follow just this line when it takes over the OSCE presidency in 2013. 

Telecommunications and computerisation were key issues on the CIS economic agenda last year. We have accomplished quite a lot in these areas, and almost all of the CIS countries are now in the process of developing electronic government.

I want to draw your attention to another high-tech project that could be of interest for all CIS countries, namely, Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation system. Using this system’s potential offers big economic benefits by helping us to cut freight transport costs in all of the different transport systems and increase transport security. We hope very much that our colleagues in the CIS will take an interest in this project, and we see good prospects for developing similar systems in the CIS countries. 

The CIS plans to declare next year the Year of Environmental Culture and Protection, and we fully support this initiative and will hold related events throughout the Russian Federation.

We are happy with the way our humanitarian ties are developing. Today, we will approve the Interstate Programme for the CIS Culture Capital. I think this is a good practice, the one we should continue.

Our military cooperation and cooperation between our law enforcement and border guards agencies are also very important of course. We place great importance on these cooperation areas and take the view that carrying out our plans in these directions will bolster the Commonwealth of Independent States’ status as an organisation.

Thank you for your attention.

December 5, 2012, Ashgabat