Congress President’s official visit to Georgia
Strasbourg, 20 February 2020 – The President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Anders Knape, will pay an official visit to Georgia from 22 to 25 February 2020, organised in the framework of the Georgian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Accompanied by Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer, the president will hold meetings with senior representatives of national and local Georgian institutions and authorities. The talks will focus, among other things, on the decentralisation strategy that the Georgian government has just adopted in response, in particular, to the recommendations made by the Congress following its monitoring visit in 2018. Other topics of discussion will be the priorities of the Georgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the Congress's co-operation with the National Association of Local Authorities of Georgia (NALAG) and the Congress's co-operation programmes in the country.
In Tbilisi, Anders Knape will meet with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Lasha Darsalia and the Vice-premier and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Mrs Maya Tskitishvili. He will also hold meetings with the Deputy Chairman of Parliament, Mr Kakhaber Kuchava, the Mayor of Tbilisi and the head of the Georgian Delegation to the Congress and President of NALAG, Mr Kakha Kaladze, and the Public Defender, Ms Lomjaria Nino.
Meetings are also scheduled in Gori with the Mayor, Mr Konstantin Tavzarashvili, and the Governor of Shida Kartli region, Mr Giorgi Khojevanishvili.
Meetings with the Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr Irakli Kobakhidze, and with the members of the Georgian delegation to the Congress will complete the visit.
The Congress comprises two chambers: the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions. It has 324 full and 324 substitute members, who represent more than 150,000 European local and regional authorities.
President of the Congress: Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CCE), President of the Chamber of Local Authorities: Xavier Cadoret (France, SOC/G/PD), President of the Chamber of Regions: Gunn Marit Helgesen (Norway, EPP/CCE).
Political groups: Group of Socialists, Greens and Progressive Democrats (SOC/G/PD), Group of the European Peoples Party (EPP/CCE), Independent Liberal and Democratic Group (ILDG), European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR)
A TRILATERAL MEETING OF THE PRESIDENTS OF TURKMENISTAN, AFGHANISTAN AND AZERBAIJAN WAS HELD
On July 2, 2020, a trilateral meeting was held in the form of a video conference between the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. The agenda of the high-level meeting included discussion of a joint project - the international transit and transport corridor along the route Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lapis Lazuli).
During a video conference on the implementation of this joint project, the heads of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted that the fulfillment of projects on the creation of transcontinental transit transport corridors will serve to strengthen regional and international trade and economic relations, universal sustainable development.
Warmly welcoming President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov thanked his colleagues for organizing the forum.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan emphasized that cooperation in this direction is given particular importance taking into account the global danger that the world is currently facing. As part of international efforts to combat the proliferation of COVID-19, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan have worked together effectively. In this regard, the head of state expressed his gratitude to the Afghan and Azerbaijani parties for understanding and providing comprehensive support to the initiatives of Turkmenistan to combat the coronavirus infection and reduce the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.
Turning to the issues of cooperation in the field of transport, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan are located at the crossroads of continental routes.
Considering the already outlined directions of the plan for joint cooperation in the transport sector, as well as the deadlines, the need to establish effective cooperation was emphasized. In this regard, the head of Turkmenistan put forward a number of specific proposals for actively establishing a long-term partnership in the field of transport.
Firstly, based on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lapis Lazuli) Agreement on the transport corridor, signed in Ashgabat on November 15, 2017, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed the creation of a single logistics center.
Secondly, the availability of modern, high-tech transport infrastructure is of paramount importance for increasing the efficiency of freight transportation. Aware of this, it is necessary to pay special attention to the further development of points of departure and reception of goods: seaports, railway stations and bus stations.
Thirdly, the head of state proposed a common pricing policy for the transportation of goods along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan route and in the opposite direction. In this context, it was emphasized that the parties can discuss the issues of providing each other with various benefits - such as reducing prices (tariffs) for transit, exemption from payment for certain types of services during storage of goods.
Fourthly, the Turkmen leader proposed to consider the possibility of simplifying customs operations by introducing a control system based on the Single Window principle.
Fifthly, the need was expressed to prepare an atlas of the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan route in digital format with detailed information on the existing transport and communications infrastructure.
In order to elaborate on the initiatives voiced in detail, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed holding an online meeting in July this year between leaders of the transport agencies and other relevant departments of the three countries.
Thanking the participants of the online meeting for their attention, the Turkmen leader expressed his conviction that the development of effective mechanisms and mutually agreed positions will expand cooperation that meets the real interests of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
During the meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani told in their speeches that the initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan find broad support from the international community and expressed gratitude to the Turkmen counterpart for the ongoing constructive peace policy and put forward initiatives to deepen multilateral partnership in all promising areas.
The path of Haajji -Arkadag – the path of people
What does it mean to be a leader of a nation, a country? This is not just a position or a title. This is the embodiment of the national unity based on trust, commitment to çommon values and a çommon vision of goals.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proclaimed a person as the main value of the state, and the well-being and happiness of his native people as the goal of the independent development of our country. The Turkmen leader is confidently leading the country towards this goal, opening new horizons for growth, marking the path with important and great achievements.
Caring for the people, being the main task of the state, underlies the entire socio-economic policy of the President of Turkmenistan.
The care for the people, their worthy future is dictated by the most daring ideas and large-scale transformations, major projects and comprehensive programmes, the implementation of which brings our country to the leading positions in the world, increases its international prestige.
The ministry of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, exclusive responsibility, will and consistency, wisdom and foresight in making strategic decisions, are at the center of these deep processes, covering all aspects of the life of the state and society.
Seeing the leader of the state as an example of such tireless work in the name of the Motherland, the prosperity of the people, the happiness of children, the Turkmen people are inspired for creative work, supporting all the initiatives of the President and rallying around the ideas put forward by the Turkmen leader.
The reliance on the people - this is the basis and the decisive condition for achieving significant successes in the economy and social sphere of the country. These words of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov were proved by the recent working trips of the Turkmen leader to the regions, during which he personally got acquainted with the progress of reforms and programme measures on sites.
Each of the many events in the life of our country reflects the panorama of rapidly developing country and its policy priorities.
Having set the task to transfer Turkmenistan into an industrialized state, into a country with powerful industrial production, manufacturing high-quality, competitive products on the world market, the President of Turkmenistan has determined the introduction of advanced foreign experience and total digitalization, covering all areas of economy and society, as a key factor.
This work is also dictated by the thought of the future of our children and descendants. A powerful platform is created to ensure that the present young generation, having mastered the most advanced technologies and competencies, takes control of a powerful country with an efficient and self-sufficient economic complex, strong scientific and technological potential, socially protected society.
And for the further sustainable development of the country, the continuation of the initiated reforms, the specialists of the new generation are extremely important - and this is especially emphasized by the Turkmen leader, who spoke about the prospects for international cooperation.
This topic was touched upon at a recent working meeting held by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The progress of educational reforms and the steps taken to reduce the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy were discussed during the meeting.
The level of development of public health is one of the main indicators of the quality of life of the population in any country, the effectiveness of its state model and social policy.
The main thing in these large-scale works is that all this is done in the name and for the benefit of people living on our earth. The socio-economic programme of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, aimed at ensuring material well-being and spiritual development of the population, is distinguished by innovation, the scale of the tasks set, courage, a comprehensive creative approach and, at the same time, a practical justification for finding resources to bring it to life.
The obvious and impressive results of the measures taken in the country speak for themselves, and Turkmenistan no longer needs to prove its viability and maturity - the increasing interest of the world business community to develop long-term partnerships with our country is the best evidence of its sustainability.
In this context, it is necessary to emphasize the role of the neutral status of Turkmenistan as an effective mechanism for establishing multifaceted cooperation to address the crucial problems of our time, strengthening friendly, good-neighborly relations between states and peoples.
The United Nations Organization highly appreciates the contribution of our country to the development of constructive international partnership in various fields, fully supports the creative initiatives put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov that is vividly proved by a number of resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly.
On the initiative of the Turkmen leader, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 3rd World Bicycle Day and unanimously adopted a Turkmenistan-initiated Resolution declaring 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust.
Peace and Trust! That is exactly what humanity most needs today, because these two inseparable concepts are becoming the main condition for cooperation and development.
The universal security and prosperity for all the peoples of the planet, progress and humanism, spirituality and friendship, all this was incorporated into the idea put forward by the Turkmen leader, who acted as the head of an independent state with a neutral status, the 25th anniversary of which we celebrate this year.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov notes that the foreign policy of any state is inseparable from the domestic policy. The key to understanding neutrality as a condition for the independent development of our country lies in this relationship.
As the President of Turkmenistan notes, in order to raise the living standards to even greater heights, we should not to be satisfied with what has been achieved. There are new, responsible tasks that require the most serious approach and forward-thinking solutions are ahead.
In accordance with national programmes, these tasks are solved in stages, on a systematic and integrated basis. It is not by chance that we used the concept of "complex". Along with the availability of material wealth, spiritual and moral values are also important for a person to feel happy.
Our President does not ignore these issues. In the country, regardless of religion, the necessary conditions are created for the performance of religious rites.
Today, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov celebrates his 63d anniversary. This date is considered sacred in the Islamic world, the age of the Prophet. Reaching this age is a great honor, well-being. The Turkmen leader brings this well-being to his native people. We wish our President good health and long life.
Turkmenistan moves forward to the heights of its prosperity, and the active, transforming energy of the President of Turkmenistan, his leadership, embodying the unity and spirit of the people offer strong impulses to this movement.
With his work, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov shows that the leader is not the one who points the way, but the one who paves it and takes responsibility and work in this direction, is the first to face challenges and build a strategy. A leader does not just lead and direct. A leader organizes, consolidates and works, leading a large team of like-minded people.
Therefore, the movement of Turkmenistan has gained new dynamics with every passing year. It is in the ongoing processes of creating material, spiritual, political, economic and social prerequisites that ensure qualitative changes in the development of the country, increasing well-being of the people according to the demands of the times.
Happy life of people and a prosperous state is the main concern and mission of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
President of Turkmenistan addresses scientists of the country and participants of the International online scientific conference
“I congratulate you on the Day of Science and opening of the online International Scientific Conference “Science, Engineering and Innovative Technologies”, says President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’ in his address.
“Science and education stand as an inclusive power of a society in achieving great goals and strengthening the power of our state. Therefore, in accordance with the requirements of the times, we improve the structure, management and legal base of the sphere of science, successfully implementing fundamental scientific and technological reforms, and creating all conditions for training of highly qualified specialists and scientists. Based on knowledge and innovations, we modernize the national economy at the level of the developed countries of the world, implementing large-scale projects, and achieve great successes in the socio-economic development of the country.
“The economic development of our sovereign state is impossible without modern technology. Modernizing economy, creating innovative industrial enterprises, manufacturing high-quality products that are competitive in world markets, Turkmenistan systematically strengthens its role in the global economy.
“Such a rapid development is connected, first of all, with the introduction of advanced achievements of science and technology, the best world experience, the level of scientific and technological progress, new opportunities for innovation, exact engineering sciences, information technologies. In this regard, we pay particular attention to the digitalization of the economy as a priority of the state policy. For these purposes, we improve our computer systems and modern means of communication, automating production. We significantly strengthen our economy due to the electronic document management system.
“This year, we have adopted the Programme for the transfer of science in Turkmenistan to the digital system in 2020-2025. This document, aimed at the technological and innovative development of our country, will ensure providing the system of science with high-quality electronic information base, developing technical and software solutions, using sustainable and new technologies, and thereby bringing research activity to a new level. In addition, it will be possible to further strengthen the relationship between science, education and production, create new software for scientific research, and actively involve young people in science, engineering, and technology business.
“At present, we are systematically strengthening cooperation with large international structures in the field of science, engineering and innovative technologies. In accordance with the program of socio-economic development of the country for 2019-2025, we significantly expand our scientific contacts with the leading scientific and educational centers of the world, international organizations and foundations.
“The election of our country to the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development, the agreements achieved at the international and interstate levels, multilateral and long-term cooperation in the field of science, scientific conferences on political, cultural and economic issues vividly demonstrate the success of our independent state, the authority of which steadily grows in the global scientific and educational space. This is also an evidence that our country becomes a dynamically developing state in socio-economic terms, and in terms of innovative technologies, it successfully integrates into the global scientific field. We will continue working on the development of science”, emphasized the President of Turkmenistan in his address.
Telephone conversation between President of Turkmenistan and President of Afghanistan
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani had a telephone conversation.
Warmly, fraternally welcoming each other, the heads of the two states expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to personally exchange views on the state and prospects of the Turkmen-Afghan dialogue, as well as discuss some aspects of international and regional politics of mutual interest.
The President of Turkmenistan congratulated the head of Afghanistan on the holy holiday of Oraza, wishing him good health and happiness, and peace, prosperity and prosperity to the people of the friendly country.
In turn, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and all Turkmen citizens on the 25th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan celebrated this year, as well as UN declaring the year of 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust on Turkmenistan’s initiative.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed gratitude to his Turkmen colleague for the ongoing policy of peace and good neighborliness, the efforts made to strengthen cooperation in the region, to ensure favorable conditions for the development of constructive interstate partnership.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that the foreign policy of Turkmenistan prioritized multifaceted relations with the states of the world, and, first of all, with its closest neighbors.
During the conversation, the leaders of the two states expressed mutual interest in intensifying political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties between the countries.
Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani identified fuel and energy, transport and communications sectors as priority areas for partnership.
First of all, the construction of the transnational gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), which will provide long-term supplies of Turkmen natural gas to the largest countries in Southeast Asia.
Another significant project is the laying of a new interstate energy highway - a high-voltage power line and fiber-optic communication along the route Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan.
According to the parties, the favorable geographical position of the two countries is of great importance for the implementation of strategically significant infrastructure projects for the formation of new transit and transport corridors, including along the route Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey, which will directly contribute to the expansion of trade and economic ties and an increase in the volume of trade between the countries of Central and South Asia and the states of Europe.
During the telephone conversation, the head of Turkmenistan supported the proposal of the Afghan leader to hold a trilateral online meeting between the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, the agenda of which will include the issues of increasing the efficiency of the transport corridor Lyapis-Lazuli.
Given the geoeconomic and geopolitical importance, special attention will also be paid to the further development of international transport corridors.
Expressing solidarity with the fraternal Afghan people to maintain peace, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that Turkmenistan would continue providing all possible support and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
Discussing the issues on the international agenda, the heads of two states underlined the necessity to develop a coordinated approach to address the challenges of our time, one of which is the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which had a negative impact on international economic relations and the life of many states and peoples.
In this regard, the Turkmen leader noted that our country had put forward the idea of widespread use of the mechanisms of scientific diplomacy in the fight against such challenges as the spread of coronavirus on a global scale.
The President of Turkmenistan emphasized that the mechanisms of scientific diplomacy were the most effective vector of cooperation at present, therefore, the initiative put forward by the Turkmen side to create a Council of Medical Scientists could have a positive impact on the overall fight against coronavirus.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov underlined once again that Turkmenistan, successfully implementing the measures to combat the dangerous virus, fully supported the efforts of the international community and considered it necessary to intensify international cooperation aimed at developing coordinated actions, emphasizing that only due to the joint efforts positive results could be achieved.
Speaking about the necessity for coordinated sanitary-quarantine measures on the border between the two states, the Turkmen leader expressed the willingness of Turkmenistan to build special terminal facilities in the border railway stations, checkpoints and in some other places on the territory of Afghanistan - similar to those erected in our country - for the disinfection of railway transport and cargo, and also to equip these facilities as a humanitarian aid to the neighbouring state.
Thus, joint measures will allow achieving the high level of sanitary and epidemiological safety, creating conditions for the disinfection of vehicles and goods crossing the border.
Reaffirming the mutual aspiration to intensify the interstate dialogue, the heads of the two neighbouring countries expressed their commitment to long-term partnership.
In conclusion, Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani once again expressed good wishes to each other and the peoples of the two countries.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan celebrates Republic Day: Relying on the roots and confidently looking to the future
Republic Day is a significant date in the life of Azerbaijan. On May 28, 1918, the Declaration of Independence of Azerbaijan was proclaimed in the historical Viceroy’s Palace in that time Tiflis. Thus, the centuries-old tradition of statehood of the Azerbaijani people was revived in a new form of secular democratic republic. Becoming the first republic in the Muslim East, Azerbaijan affirmed the equal rights of all its citizens, regardless of gender, religious, ethnic or social affiliation. In the country, earlier than among many leading European nations, women's suffrage was guaranteed. All ethnic groups were represented in the Parliament of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR).
Noteworthy is such an important circumstance as – ADR closely coordinated its efforts in the foreign policy arena with the Georgian Democratic Republic. So, in 1919, our countries concluded a defensive pact against the common threat posed by Denikin’s troops. The independence of both states was de facto recognized by the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers under a decision of January 11, 1920. It is truly symbolic that the sketch of the ADR coat of arms, taken as the basis of the current coat of arms of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was proposed by Prince Alexander Shervashidze, who was then in Baku.
Alas, that time global political situation did not allow Azerbaijan to maintain its independence. In April 1920, Baku was occupied by the Red Army. And less than a year later, the Georgian Democratic Republic fell under the blows of the Bolsheviks. All this once again demonstrated that the destinies of our countries are intertwined with history. The successes of one lead to the good of the other. And vice versa, the trouble of one is reflected in the next.
Being a part of the USSR, Azerbaijan also strove to develop friendly contacts with Georgia; outstanding representatives of the intelligentsia of both countries were connected by warm and close relations. Our peoples continued to crave for each other. The crown of this cooperation was the friendship between the leaders of the republics – Heydar Aliyev and Eduard Shevardnadze, whose activities laid the foundations for the restoration of the countries’ independence.
Returning to the leadership in Azerbaijan after the collapse of the Soviet Union and taking the country away from the edge of the abyss in 1993, Heydar Aliyev began to systematically strengthen the foundations of statehood. He became a true architect of the today’s Republic of Azerbaijan, identifying key areas and a strategy for its development. It is no coincidence that the main export pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, the construction of which through the territory of Georgia became the triumph of Heydar Aliyev’s oil diplomacy, is inextricably linked with his name.
Relying on the strong foundation of modern effective statehood, the Republic of Azerbaijan, under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, has developed successes in all areas: reducing poverty from almost 45% in 2003 to less than 5% by now, developing social infrastructure, technological modernization, stimulating the non-oil sector, ensuring dynamic stability within the country and strengthening its prestige in the international arena. In this connection, it’s enough to recall at least such momentous events as the election of Azerbaijan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from a group of Eastern European states for 2012-2013 and the country's chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement, uniting 120 states, which began in 2019.
Azerbaijan is successfully building up cooperation in all significant vectors: from the European Union to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Council of Europe, from NATO to UNESCO, etc. Of course, the strengthening of strategic partnership with neighboring countries occupies a special place in the system of priorities, and among them Georgia traditionally plays the role of our closest good neighbor, whose brotherhood has passed the test of the long history and the collisions of the present stage.
Our countries, like a hundred years ago, continue to coordinate their activities, invariably provide mutual support to each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Like a hundred years ago, we have similar problems, we feel common pain. One fifth of the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is under occupation. A fifth of Georgia’s territory has also been occupied.
The people and the state of Azerbaijan are determined to restore international law and justice, to ensure the violated rights of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing in their own country and forcibly expelled from their homes. Strengthening the Azerbaijani state’s power significantly increased the ability to assert its rights and eliminate the consequences of the illegal use of force against it. And everyone can be sure that the success of Azerbaijan in this direction will create conditions for improving the situation in the region as a whole.
Today, celebrating Republic Day, the Azerbaijani people rely on their own strengths and actively use the potential of international cooperation. We are convinced that only by developing a mutually beneficial partnership it’s possible to confidently continue forwarding on the path of progress and prosperity. In its turn, the progress and prosperity of Azerbaijan will always benefit its good neighbors and Georgia, of course, in the first instance.
Press Service of the Embassy
of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Georgia