Afghanistan borders with Turkmenistan. Today, about twenty percent of all volume of humanitarian cargoes, which our country needs much, are forwarded through Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
During the last several years, when the civil opposition was shaking Afghanistan, Turkmenistan has played really important role during the inter-Afghani dialogue. Under the initiative of Turkmen leader Saparmurat Turkmenbashi several rounds of negotiations between the conflicting sides were organized and passed in Ashkhabad. During all period of the inter-Afghani settlement Turkmenistan consistently has been taking the most active part in establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Thus at a new stage of Turkmen-Afghani dialogue there are all bases for comprehensive strengthening of originally a good-neighborhood, development of political, economic, cultural contacts.
Q: In the near future the leaders of three countries - Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan - intend to hold a meeting to discuss prospects of construction of a gas main from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan up to Pakistan. What are the prospects of realization of this project?
A: Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan feel the necessity of economic development and are much interested in the prompt beginning of realization of construction of Trans-Afghan gas main. It is obvious, that so huge international project almost having no analogues in world practice, can not be realized at once, without accord between all possible partners on all possible issues. But leaders of three countries, I think, will not miss an opportunity to declare the readiness to start implementation of this problem.
Turkmenistan has a huge energy potential that makes it a favourable partner not only for Afghanistan, but also for many regional countries. Construction of a gas main via Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean becomes today a vital topic, and we are very interested in realization of this project. The laying of a gas main in itself can result to deep transformations in the field of economy of Afghanistan and serve both to our national interests, and interests of development of regional cooperation.
Q: Can Afghanistan get real benefits from implementation of such project?
A: The infrastructure of such a large construction as the gas main foresees construction of transmission lines, settlements. This will demand a plenty of a labor forces, thus will assist in providing with work a wide skopes of population. Moreover, this project would require speeding up of international cooperation in this sphere, training of the personnel. Inflow of energy products to the state would stir up improvement of industrial infrastructure in Afghanistan.
Q: How efficient, in Your opinion, is the potential of Turkmenistans' neutrality in regional economic integration is used?
A: We understand that the main priority of foreign policy of the state - that is neutrality of Turkmenistan - is mostly based on real expectations of Turkmen people.
Turkmens are peaceful and hardworking people that aspires to active creation for the sake of national interests. While not only Turkmenistan get benefits from serving to its national interests. It is useful for its neighbors as well. This factor in itself serves not only as a strong guarantee of good neighborhood relations between ours two countries, but also marks the role of Turkmenistan in the Central Asian region. The fact that Turkmenistan initiates and is ready to take part in implementation of large international industrial projects is of big value for all Central Asia.
It should be stressed that ten countries of region enter the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the Turkmen initiatives are able to play a crucial role in revival of the international cooperation within the frameworks of ECO. Implementation of this project will undoubtedly open a way to intensive trade turnover between ECO member-states and will stimulate more active economic development in entire region.
The gas main can not be constructed without additional construction of international highways, branch lines and terminals. Energy resources are the most important, most profitable products in the world market, a key to the international cooperation. I am more that sure that other countries along with the ones, on the territory of which the pipeline will pass, would also be interested in consumption and distribution of energy resources. I think, that participation in the new project will be in interests of American, Russian companies as well as the ones of some other countries.