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It is a pleasure for me to be here today.
The European Union will open its 142nd Delegation in the world and will complete its diplomatic presence in Central Asia, opening a fully-fledged European Union Delegation here in Ashgabat, covering our relations with Turkmenistan; a country with which we have fruitful, open cooperation and partnership.
We just had with the Minister [of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov] a very intense, productive and positive meeting, covering the whole range of areas of cooperation, at a moment that is particularly important for our relations. Not only because of our decision to be present with a fully-fledged diplomatic presence here, but also because this decision, this visit, comes a few weeks after the European Union Member States approved our new European Union strategy for our cooperation with Central Asia.
This is a sign of commitment of the European Union to increase our partnership and cooperation in many different fields: in particular on issues related to reforms in the countries; developing economic and educational opportunities for the people of the region - in particular the youngest citizens of the countries; and also our cooperation in other areas such as connectivity energy, transport, and our common work to stabilise the broader region. In particular with the Minister we have discussed our common approaches to stabilise and bring peace and development to Afghanistan: a common commitment that we share.
So I am very grateful to you, Mr Minister, for the very warm welcome and for the agreement that we have just signed, which will allow our presence in Ashgabat to be fully-fledged from a diplomatic point of view, I hope as of September, and that will increase even more our good cooperation, covering all aspects of the relationship.
Thank you very much.