The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and Turkmenistan on the occasion of the United States-Turkmenistan Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABCs) in Washington.
On April 24, 2023, U.S. Department of State Acting Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov of Turkmenistan led a successful ninth round of United States-Turkmenistan Annual Bilateral Consultations in Washington.
Acting Assistant Secretary Horst emphasized the United States’ unwavering support for Turkmenistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. Underscoring Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Meredov’s engagements this year, including their bilateral meetings in Astana on February 28 and in Washington on April 24, Acting Assistant Secretary Horst highlighted the Annual Bilateral Consultations as a platform to discuss joint challenges and achievements, advance bilateral and regional goals, and further strengthen U.S.-Turkmenistan partnership. The participants also affirmed their support for the C5+1 regional diplomatic platform for Central Asia and the United States.
Security, Political, and Educational Cooperation
The United States reiterated its support for Turkmenistan’s sovereignty and independence and its foreign policy principle of positive neutrality. Both countries shared a desire to discuss ways in which they can jointly promote a safe and secure Central Asia in the face of security threats, including terrorism, from within the region and beyond.
Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to cultural and educational programming as a core aspect of the bilateral relationship, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on educational cooperation that will serve as a basis for continued joint efforts in this area.
The United States recognized the openness of Turkmenistan to multiple visits by the International Labour Organization (ILO) during the past year and the finalization of an action plan based on ILO standards to address forced labor. The Turkmen side expressed their intent to implement that action plan, including reforms to Turkmen labor law already recommended by the ILO.
The participants affirmed their commitment to discussing an array of human rights issues through regular meetings of the Human Dimension Working Group in Ashgabat.
Economics, Ecology, and Investment
The United States plans to continue to provide technical support to Turkmenistan as it pursues its goal of membership in the World Trade Organization.
The United States and Turkmenistan emphasized the importance of fighting climate change, particularly by reducing methane emissions. The United States and Turkmenistan stated their intentions to cooperate on deploying leak detection and repair solutions as well as develop a methane reduction investment plan in 2023 to control methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. To advance this work, the United States and Turkmenistan will form a working group on methane mitigation and will endeavor to feature methane mitigation outcomes by COP28.
Acting Assistant Secretary Horst and Foreign Minister Meredov expressed their desire to build on the high-level bilateral meetings and hold the next round of Annual Bilateral Consultations in Ashgabat in 2024.