Russia does not recognise Turkmenistan's unilateral withdrawal from Dual Citizenship Agreement

Turkmenistan's one-sided withdrawal from the Dual Citizenship Agreement "runs counter to mutual agreements and will not be recognised by the Russian side," Vladimir Kotenev, Director of the Consular Service Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, told a RIA Novosti press conference.

"The Russian side keeps regarding the 1993 Dual Citizenship Agreement as valid," he added.

During the June 6 and 7 talks in Ashgabat, "the Russian side suggested to Turkmenistan that the situation be led back into the legal field, with due regard for the Russian Constitution and mutual agreements, namely the Protocol on Termination of the Dual Citizenship Agreement that the parties signed on April 10, 2003," the diplomat told journalists.

"The kind of withdrawal that Turkmenistan is effecting results in disruption of a whole set of bilateral documents dealing with the humanitarian sphere," said Kotenkov, referring to the 1991 mutual travel agreements.

The Russian side has also been worried about the campaign to track down people with dual citizenship that Turkmenistan has launched, he added.

Turkmenistan's one-sided withdrawal from the Dual Citizenship Agreement "violates Russians' right to free travel," he emphasised.

According to his account, Turkmenistan has "listened carefully" to the arguments of the Russian side. Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, who took part in the talks, suggested setting up a joint commission to solve the mounting issues.

In April 2003, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov decreed that people with dual Russian-Turkmen citizenship must choose citizenship of one of the two countries in a matter of two months. People with dual citizenship who permanently reside in Turkmenistan and fail to report their choice will be considered Turkmen citizens, while people permanently residing in other countries must apply to the republic's consular institutions to report their choice. Their failure to do so in a matter of two months will lead to the loss of Turkmen citizenship.

According to preliminary estimates, the decree covers from 80,000 to 120,000 Russians, the majority of them being Russians permanently residing in Turkmenistan.

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