France and Turkmenistan

Political relations

France’s decision to open a mission in Turkmenistan was made during President François Mitterrand’s visit to Achgabat in April 1994. This mission was elevated to the rank of Embassy in 1999. Following an initial dynamic phase (signing of several agreements, co-sponsorship in 1995 of the UN resolution proclaiming Turkmenistan’s neutrality, the Turkmen president’s visit to Paris in 1996), our relations have suffered as a result of choices that the Turkmen regime has made in the past. As a result, public contacts have become increasingly rare. The change in president was accompanied by a resumption in bilateral relations and several areas of bilateral cooperation are now under consideration.

Foreign and European Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner made a bilateral visit to Ashgabat on 10 April 2008, where he was received by the Turkmen President.

Turkmenistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Meredov, participated in the EU-Central Asia Security Forum on 18 September 2008 in Paris.

On 1-2 February 2010, the President of Turkmenistan made an official visit to France at the invitation of President Nicolas Sarkozy. During their meeting, the two presidents brought up current international issues, in particular Afghanistan and Iran, and the reinforcement of Turkmenistan’s ties with the European Union, specifically in the energy sector and support for reforms in the areas of human rights and reinforcement of rule of law.

President Berdymukhamedov’s first visit to France was also the opportunity to bring up bilateral issues. Intergovernmental agreements intended to extend cooperation were signed, in particular in terms of cultural, scientific and technical cooperation and museum cooperation. On this occasion, a joint economic committee, made up of a Franco-Turkmen working group in the energy sector, was created to support this dynamic for the development of trade relations.

The human rights situation in Turkmenistan is closely scrutinized by France and human rights advocacy NGOs. In particular, France calls on the Turkmen government to release Messrs. Amanklychev and Khadjiev, Turkmen journalists arrested and sentenced in 2006 after helping film a report broadcast by France 2. The Foreign Affairs Commission of the National Assembly, which on 7 April 2010 adopted the bill to be ratified by France on the partnership and cooperation agreement between Turkmenistan and the EU, asked the Government not to include this bill on Parliament’s agenda before these two Turkmen nationals are released.

Updated on 01.05.10