April 25, 2023
Release Number 20230425-01
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TAMPA, Fla. – On April 24, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, visited Turkmenistan. In Ashgabat, Kurilla met with the nation’s senior foreign affairs and military leaders, including:
- Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vepa Hajiyev
- Minister of Defense Lt. Gen. Begench Gundogdyev
- Chief of the General Staff Col. Akmurat Anemetov
At the same time Kurilla was meeting with these leaders in the Turkmen capital, Turkmenistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Rasit Meredow was in Washington D.C. meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the Annual Bilateral Consultation.
Kurilla and the Turkmen leaders discussed methods to strengthen the U.S.-Turkmenistan security partnership. The Turkmen leaders praised the State Partnership Program, established in 2021 between the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan and the Montana National Guard. The program created an enduring partnership, building training events, professional development sessions, and cultural engagements between Turkmenistan and the Montana National Guard.
They also visited the People’s Memorial and Monument Complex where Kurilla and Anemetov laid a wreath in honor of Turkmenistan’s World War II fallen. Inside the monument, Kurilla received a tour and briefing on Turkmen history. They also visited the Magtymguly Pyragy monument and Independence Monument.
“We respect Turkmenistan’s doctrine of ‘positive neutrality’ and are united in support of the territorial integrity and stability of the Central Asian states,” said Kurilla. “During this visit, I had the opportunity to not only sit, speak with, and engage in meaningful dialogue with the military and foreign affairs leadership of Turkmenistan, I also observed the wondrous Turkmen culture and had an opportunity to ride the country’s world-renowned Akhal-Teke horses.
“Visits like this allow the kind of enduring relationships that cannot be built over the phone or through a video teleconference. Such visits give me an opportunity to discuss security challenges and mutual opportunities, but also to get a glimpse of the amazing people, rich cultures, and stunning heritage across the CENTCOM region.”