Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev pays a working visit to Turkmenistan. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan Askhat Orazbayev told Kazinform about the development of Kazakh relations with this country.
How do you characterize the Kazakh-Turkmen relationships? What level are they on?
Kazakhstan attaches prime significance to the development of good neighborhood relations with Central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan. Kazakhstan has friendly and mutually beneficial relations with Turkmenistan.
Solid contractual basis containing over 60 documents and covering different spheres of bilateral interaction promotes development of Kazakh-Turkmen cooperation.
Regular contacts of the heads of the two states greatly contribute to the development of interstate cooperation. Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Gurbanguly Berdimukhammedov held four bilateral meetings and regular telephone conversations during this year.
Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have similar positions on majority of aspects of the legal status of the Caspian See. Our countries successfully cooperate in realization of a range of big transnational fuel and energy projects important for provision of energy security in the world.
The construction of the transnational railway North-South connecting Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran is of special importance for our states.
The Kazakh-Turkmen Intergovernmental Commission on cooperation aimed at developing bilateral interaction was formed and functions.
What spheres of cooperation are considered to be perspective?
The interaction between the fuel and energy complexes of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan is one of the strategic dimensions of interstate cooperation due to big hydrocarbon reserves and existing transit-transport potential of our states. In this regard, cooperation between our states in fuel and energy sphere has a long-term character.
Thanks to the geographical location of the two countries the transit and transport sphere is another perspective direction of Kazakh-Turkmen cooperation.
Apart from the implemented North-South railway project, special attention is paid to the projects on building roads through the territory of Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan.
The plans of Turkmenistan to create Caspian merchant navy and started reconstruction of Turkmenbashi seaport open big prospects in the sphere of cargo and passenger transportations between Aktau and Turkmenbashi including ferry traffic. It will be very useful for the development of trade-economic cooperation between our states.
To deepen interstate cooperation and contacts between our peoples it is important to create conditions for activation of collaboration between the border areas of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The establishment of twin-city relations between Aktau and Turkmenbashi can become a major step in this direction.
As is known, in 2010 Kazakhstan assumes the office of OSCE chair. The state will pay special attention to countering challenges and threats in the OSCE space including the Central-Asian region. In our region it is necessary to address such problems as preservation of the Aral Sea, stabilization of the Afghan situation, strengthening of the status of Central Asia as a nuclear weapons free zone and others. Turkmenistan takes an activate part in the solution of these problems. Thus, Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the OSCE can give a new impulse to the development of Kazakh-Turkmen interaction.
How do you interact with the representatives of Kazakh Diaspora in Turkmenistan? Are any newspapers in Kazakh published in your country?
The Kazakh Diaspora in Turkmenistan resides mostly in Dashoguz and Balkan provinces. The Kazakhs living in Turkmenistan can get a visa to Kazakhstan without payment of consular fee. The citizens of border regions - Mangystau and Balkan - are allowed to cross the border without visas for up to 5 days.
We keep contacts with the Kazakh Diaspora. Twice a year I make working trips to the regions of Turkmenistan inhabited with the Kazakhs. The Embassy informs the compatriots of Kazakhstan's foreign and internal policy, changes in legislation, benefits and allowances provided there. The process of informing is also realized through audio-, video products and printed publications, Kaspionet satellite channel, 31 and Zhetysu TV channels. However, there are no newspapers in Kazakh as well as in other languages.
The Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan annually provides the Diaspora with the textbooks and training manuals on the Kazakh language, literature and history. Every year the Kazakh youth pass the preparatory courses for admission to Kazakhstan's universities. Over 50 students were enrolled in the preparatory courses in 2009.
The representatives of the Kazakh Diaspora are interested in the increase of period of visa-free visits, activation of cultural-humanitarian contacts. In this context the Embassy holds joint work with the state bodies of Turkmenistan aimed at expanding cultural-humanitarian cooperation, holding joint concerts, workshops and sports festivals. It should be noted that the Days of Kazakhstan's Culture in Turkmenistan with the participation of prominent Kazakh workers of culture were held in June 2009. In 2008 the Days of Turkmenistan's Culture in Kazakhstan were held in Almaty and Astana.
Thank you for the interview!