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Remarks Following Meeting With Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov

Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
February 15, 2007

QUESTION (in Turkmen): Mr. Boucher, you just met with our newly-elected President. What issues did you discuss?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: We discussed a lot of issues. First of all, it is my pleasure to congratulate the President, to talk to him about how he is going to set out on his programs he described during his campaign. We talked about education, healthcare, and cooperation between our countries in areas like border security, and building democratic institutions.

I think there is a great opportunity for the United States and Turkmenistan, but it has to be directed at helping the Turkmen people, what they want to achieve what they want in life. We want to see a new beginning in our relationship, and we talked about concrete ways that we can work to the benefit of this country.

QUESTION (in Turkmen): What do you see as an opportunity for the future of Turkmenistan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: This is a country with a rich history, rich tradition, rich natural resources, and rich people. So the goal has to be to use that base to build a better life for the people, and to open up and take up a new position in the world. Education, healthcare are both vital to achieving those goals. How you use, how you develop your energy resources is important; and how you develop democratic institutions, build long-term stability, is also key to achieving those goals. So these are all areas that we would like to work with Turkmenistan.

QUESTION (in Turkmen): What did you think of the inaugural procession yesterday?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY BOUCHER: It was quite a ceremony, a unique ceremony. To me, it reminds us to celebrate your traditions, your heritage, your culture as you move into the future. So today we talked about the future, how we can work together and how we can develop our relationship.



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