04.07.17 09:29

Presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan hold talks in Ashgabat

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held talks with President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in Ashgabat on an official visit.

During the one-on-one meeting of the two heads of state and the talks in enlarged format, the sides discussed issues related to combating terrorism and strengthening peace and stability in the region. The enlarged format talks focused on the issues related to regional security and bilateral cooperation.

In this context, the sides emphasized the importance of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline. The Turkmen section of the pipeline is currently being constructed, while technical issues related to the pipeline construction in Afghanistan are being addressed. According to the sides, the implementation of such a large-scale project will have a positive impact on the socio-economic development not only of participating countries but the region as a whole. It can provide for the most important condition for improvement of the situation and security in Central and South Asia.

A railway from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan remains another important project. Construction of the Atamyrat-Ymamnazar-Akin stretch was completed in the autumn of last year. Issues related to extending this railway to Afghanistan are being actively discussed. The railway is expected to reach the border of Tajikistan in the future. The major overhaul of the Serkhetabat-Turgundy railway has been scheduled.

Turkmenistan has made a significant contribution to the social and economic development of Afghanistan by building additional electric power transmission lines to the neighboring country that will help significantly increase the supply of Turkmen electricity to Afghanistan and further to other countries. These projects will help to unify the electric power networks of Central and South Asian countries.

The trade-economic sphere is one of the priority areas of bilateral cooperation. Trade turnover between the two countries exceeded USD 547 million in 2016. At the same time, the leaders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan noted the opportunities to increase and diversify the bilateral trade.

Issues related to cooperation in the humanitarian sphere are invariably discussed during the Turkmen-Afghan talks. Turkmenistan intends to continue providing assistance to the southern neighbor in training qualified national specialists in various fields and educating students from Afghanistan.

At the international level, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan pursue common strategic goals, such as ensuring peace, security and sustainable development in Central Asia and the world. Both countries actively cooperate through the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Islamic Cooperation Organization and the Economic Cooperation Organization. The current talks confirmed the inviolability of fraternal and good-neighborly relations between the two countries, their readiness for close economic cooperation and joint implementation of large-scale transport and energy projects.

The 7th Regional Economic Conference on Afghanistan will be held in Ashgabat on 14-15 November 2017. This forum will continue discussing various aspects of the long-term regional economic cooperation.

The Turkmen-Afghan high-level talks in Ashgabat concluded with the signing of bilateral documents. The foreign ministries of the two countries signed the Program of Cooperation for 2018-2019. At the intergovernmental level, the sides signed the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the carpet industry; the Agreement on International Motor Transportation; and the Agreement on International Railway Checkpoint at the Turkmen-Afghan Border. The sides also signed the Regulations on rail transportation between Imamnazar and Akina border stations.

The Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Energy and Water Management of the IRA signed the Agreement on Cooperation on supply of Turkmen electricity to Badghis and Jauzjan provinces of Afghanistan.

The Magtymguly State University of Turkmenistan and the University of the Afghan province of Jauzjan signed the Agreement on Cooperation in the scientific and educational sphere.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani signed Joint Statement on the outcomes of the talks.

Following the talks, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani held a press briefing.

As was noted, the situation in the region was discussed at length during the talks. The discussions focused on the need to consolidate efforts to ensure lasting peace, good-neighborliness and sustainable development in Central Asia and neighboring countries. Turkmenistan and Afghanistan reaffirmed their commitment to the use of political means for the peaceful resolution of all emerging disputes and conflicts.

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