ArmInfo.Representatives of the Caspian counties gathering in the resort national tourist zone Avaza, located on the Caspian coast near the city of Trukmenbashi, have initiated the implementation of a number of large-scale programs for the development of comprehensive economic cooperation at the First Caspian Economic Forum.
The forum brought together over 1,500 representatives from more than 40 countries of the world, one way or another connected by their economic interests with the large Caspian region - Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Last year, having finally agreed on the global problem of the status of the Caspian Sea (the Convention has not yet been ratified by Russia and Iran - Ed. note), today they began to take full advantage of their geopolitical, geostrategic, energy and transport provisions.
At the first plenary meeting of the Forum that took place today, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov spoke to the representatives of official delegations of invited countries, business and academic circles in the Great Hall of the Avaza Congress Center. Speaking about the future of the Caspian, he noted that Turkmenistan considers it in the context of the future of the whole planet and correlates its work with the activities of the United Nations in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals. , the head of Turkmenistan emphasized.
In this regard, the head of state proposed initiating a multilateral dialogue at the UN on integrated development of the Caspian region, including based on the opinions and assessments that will be voiced during the current Forum. The head of Turkmenistan noted that the First Caspian Economic Forum should be considered in a format that will become an effective mechanism for establishing strategic dialogue and partnerships in the Caspian. Here, on its shores, for centuries, a special, distinctive type of relationship between peoples has developed, and bridges of civilizational communication between East and West have been built. , the country's leader noted.
According to him, the Caspian Sea should be a space of cooperation, development and prosperity, free from conflict and confrontation, a place for combining the energy of states, international organizations, business, scientific and technological potentials. , the head of the Turkmen state said.
He noted the four most important factors of the Caspian as a geostrategic region. This is one of the world's largest hydrocarbon sources, the most important transportation hub, directly entering the orbit of the Great Silk Road, a major international trading hub, and an excellent environmental recreational complex. Based on these main factors inherent in the Caspian region, the Caspian countries and their immediate neighbors need to develop a new format of cooperation and partnership in the energy, industrial, transport, trade, scientific and technological - innovative, environmental spheres with the aim of achieving peace, security, stability and sustainable development of a large region. Such, the leader of Turkmenistan believes, are the main issues of the "Caspian agenda", free, as he put it from politicization and unfair competition.
In this context, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed the idea of creating a large Caspian logistics center based on the port capabilities of the city of Turkmenbashi (over 25 million tons of cargo per year) and the National Merchant Fleet of Turkmenistan. Another initiative of the Turkmen leader concerns the creation of an international innovation and technology center (Caspian Innovation Center) to develop models for the innovative development of the Caspian region, to strengthen the scientific and technological research base for large-scale programs, including projects for the environmental protection of the Caspian Sea. As the Turkmen leader noted, "Ecology cannot be held hostage to commercial and economic benefits".
The first vice president of Iran, Eshaq Jahangiri, also spoke at the forum, according to which Iran is ready to provide all its economic and infrastructure potential for the development of cooperation in the Caspian and Central Asian regions. He emphasized the advantages provided by the customs agreement signed between his country and the EAEU. Iran has all the necessary transport and logistics infrastructure in order to ensure sustainable transport links between the Caspian and the Persian Gulf. At the same time, the Iranian politician noted that there are countries that by their behavior today threaten stability in the region, destabilize it: "US Iranophobia is contrary to the security of the region>.
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, in turn, drew attention to the need to increase the efficiency of transport and logistics services in the region, the maximum use of energy infrastructure through the use of new knowledge and technologies in this area, where Kazakhstan has the most advanced developments and what he is ready to share with partners. Mamin expressed an interesting idea of developing tourism in the Caspian region, creating and promoting a new tourism brand "Tourism in the Caspian" on world markets. According to him, this will be facilitated by the achievement of an agreement on a visa-free regime for Central Asian countries and the signing of an agreement on the so-called "Central Asian Schengen", which is on the agenda today.
Dmitry Medvedev, head of the government of the Russian Federation, emphasized the need to find effective mechanisms for business cooperation between the countries of the region, including with third countries in terms of improving transport corridors, logistics centers, and port facilities. He announced the allocation of substantial resources for the development of port infrastructures in the Russian zone of the Caspian with a view to further developing the Eurasian transport chain and the North-South corridor connecting the Caspian with the northern regions of Russia along the Volga, where about 60 million people live. Medvedev also noted the relevance of scientific and technical cooperation between the states of the region, technological exchange, joint activities to maintain the ecological balance of the Caspian Sea, and create tourist clusters on it.
Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Novruz Mammadov confined himself to generalities about the importance of trade and economic cooperation of the countries of the region, while emphasizing the importance of building bridges not only across the shores of the Caspian Sea, but also the stable routes connecting the Caspian with the Black Sea.
To note, the program of the First Caspian Economic Forum is very varied. Within its framework, meetings of economic ministers of invited countries, and not only of the Caspian region, meetings of transport ministers, heads of energy departments, business associations have already taken place. The ceremony of signing various interstate bilateral and multilateral agreements took place.
The Armenian delegation was invited to the forum, but for some reason it worked here within the framework of individual programs. The members of the Armenian delegation, even if attended at any session or panel discussion, unfortunately they did not speak. Such a limited presence on international sites and unjustified "modesty" is not worth a small part of the money spent from the budget on travel expenses.