Ashgabat hosted the talks between President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who arrived in our country on official visit.
In the morning, the motorcade of Afghan leader escorted by motorcyclists has proceeded to the Independence Square where the official meeting ceremony of high-rank guest took place,
After, the Leaders of two countries went to the Ruhiyet Palace. After, official photographing ceremony on the background of the State Flags of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, high-level Turkmen – Afghan talks were held in one-on-one format.
Welcoming President Mohammaed Ashraf Ghani on hospitable Turkmen land, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed the gratitude to high-rank official for the accepting of the invitation to visit our country on official visit and expressed the confidence that current high-level meeting will be important step toward further development of interstate dialog.
Having expressed the gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for warm welcome and hospitality, high-rank guest noted that he is glad to visit Turkmenistan again. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani highlighted that Afghan people appreciate and support peaceful policy of Turkmen leader, which is based on the principles of positive neutrality and which is an integral factor of security, stability and sustainable development on the region and in the world.
Having old relations, Turkmen – Afghan relations have always been built on the base of respect, high-rank guest highlighted, having expressed the confidence that fruitful partnership between two fraternal countries would be consolidated and filled with new content for common sake.
Continuing the meeting, which was held in the atmosphere of trust and understanding, Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani discussed key directions of Turkmen – Afghan cooperation, having paid special attention to the implementation of the agreements reached previously and to the future development of beneficial partnership. The emphasis was laid on the implementation of important joint projects, which are important for the prosperity of the region including the construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas line and formation of transit and transport corridors.
Having spoken for the expansion of Turkmen – Afghan cooperation on trade and economic sphere, the Leaders of two countries also noted the necessity of the stimulation of traditional contacts in humanitarian and cultural sphere.
The sides has also exchanged the opinions on some issues of regional and international politics that present mutual interest.
Further, the talks were continued in extended format with the participation of the members of official delegations of two countries.
Having again warmly welcomed President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the members of Afghan delegation, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that Turkmenistan is always open for traditional friendly dialog aimed at the discussion of the subjects of further improvement and strengthening of neighbouring relations and partnership between our countries.
The Head of the State continued that this meeting is held on the day of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
Our countries have good experience in foreign policy sphere and the main subjects of modern world development, which is based on similarity of the approaches. In this context, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov made special mention of the partnership between two countries under competent international structures, first under the United Nations Organization. Turkmenistan appreciates Afghanistan’s support of the initiatives made by our state at the UN sessions. In particular, neighbouring country was repeatedly the co-sponsor of the UN General Assembly Resolutions on energy security and stable transport system proposed by Turkmen side.
The Governemtn of Afghanistan always supports the candidacy of Turkmenistan at the elections to various structures of the United Nations. This practice of mutual support in international organizations would be continued. Our countries would continue cooperating by political and diplomatic methods in wide spectrum of regional nd global issues.
Having outlined the provision of firm and long peace, sustainable development and security in the region as the main subject, the Leader of the nation expressed the confidence that close and fruitful Turkmen – Afghan cooperation would be one of the key terms for the achievement of this goal and activation of positive regional processes.
At the same time, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov confirmed the willingness of Turkmenistan to provide comprehensive support to the UN and other international and regional structures in making of the mechanisms of prevention and elimination of the conflicts in the region, in development of relevant political and diplomatic methods. Being a neutral state and close neighbour, our country is willing to create necessary conditions for establishment of direct relation between the Government of Afghanistan and all parties interested in the regulation of the situation in the country by peaceful political methods.
Provision of security in the region could be achieved only by head-o struggle against terrorism and Turkmenistan is willing to continue bilateral cooperation in this direction and to joint work with international organizations. Integrated implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy is decisive factor in this subject, the President of Turkmenistan highlighted.
Our country urges for the partnership of all states and international structures, which are interested in closer cooperation, based on adopted documents, in particular the Ashgabat Declaration from 2011 and the Joint Action Plan for Central Asia. Speaking of this, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed the confidence that Turkmenistan and Afghanistan would continue combat against drug trafficking, transboundary crime and other illegal actions both on bilateral and multilateral basis.
Implementation of major infrastructural projects in such strategic spheres as energy, transport and communications with the participation of Afghanistan is the main condition of political stability in Afghanistan, its social and economic revival and successful integration to the system of regional and world economy
As is known while carrying out steadfast work in this direction, Turkmenistan has initiated number of important regional projects, which are under implementation at the moment. For example, the new phase of construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas main has been started with the participation of the leaders of two countries two years ago. At the same time, construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan power and fibre optic lines has been launched and Serhetabat – Turgundy railway has been opened.
New opportunities for other joint projects, especially of regional importance, are opened today. For example, transportation of Turkmen gas by old Kelif – Shybyrgan pipeline could have been arranged. Relative negotiations have already taken place between profile departments of two countries.
Turkmen leader noted actively developing bilateral cooperation in electrical energy sphere. Rabatakshan – Kalaynau power line has been put into operation last year. Similar power line is planned to be built in Hamyap – Garkyn direction.
Involvement of Afghanistan to the project of formation of major transport infrastructure is important objectives of the present. As it was mentioned, the project of railway connection Serhetabat – Turgundy has been successfully accomplished and Turkmenistan is willing to start negotiating about the continuation of construction of this railway to Herat.
Five-side cooperation in the implementation of Lapis Lazuli project is also carried out actively. It is planned to continue systematic meetings of the transport ministers of participating countries for coordination of all subjects of the formation of this important transport corridor. Taking the opportunity, Turkmen leader expressed the gratitude to high-rank guest for the attention and support paid to this project.
Good indicators are observed in Turkmen – Afghan cooperation in trade and economic sphere. For example, mutual trade was around 684 million US dollars in 2018, which is much higher comparing with the same indicator in 2017. At the same time, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted the necessity to search for new opportunities for significant increment of volumes and diversification of trade as well as to attract the representatives of small and medium business to economic partnership.
Having spoken for the expansion of bilateral business contacts, the Head of the State noted that it is necessary to arrange various joint cooperation in production of industrial goods, agriculture, service sphere, and other branches. We have something to offer to each other taking into account mutual old experience and traditions of trade and entrepreneurship, Turkmen leader said.
In this aspect, it is necessary to enforce the work of Intergovernmental Turkmen – Afghan Commission for trade and economic cooperation and use its potential in full capabilities and to search for new ways and directions of productive partnership.
Humanitarian sphere invariably remains one of priority areas of interstate relations, Turkmen leader highlighted. Our neighbouring states also cooperate closely in educational sphere. Hundreds of Afghan young men and women work in the Government and different spheres of the economy of Afghanistan after receiving education in Turkmenistan. At present, Afghan students study in several high educational institutes of our country. Turkmenistan would continue teaching Afghan specialists in its universities.
Having said about the willingness to expand the cooperation in scientific and cultural sphere, the Head of the State noted that joint study of rich historical heritage of Turkmen and Afghan nations and exchange of information are main goals in this area.
Continuity of the relations between two countries and mutual willingness to close cooperation for consolidation of peace and security in the region and in the world, firm commitment to beneficial economic partnership and joint implementation of major projects have been confirmed at the meeting again.
Having expressed the gratitude to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani for his fruitful activity, invariable willingness to develop fraternal relations with Turkmenistan, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed his best wishes to Afghan nation.
The floor was given to the Head of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Having expressed the gratitude for cordial welcome in the spirit of Turkmen hospitality to the delegation of the IRA and high organizational level of the talks, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also noted that current visit with the 27th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between two countries.
High-rank guest made special mention that huge work has been done for the last for years owing to the efforts of Turkmen leader.
Having touched upon the subject of cooperation in transport section, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani highlighted the importance of Lazuli transit and transport corridor (Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey). Its efficient use will make positive effect on the expansion of the partnership between the countries participating in the project.
The Head of neighbouring state noted the presence of big opportunities in different directions of cooperation including in railway transport and communication, having expressed the confidence that Afghan part would also take part in the construction of the railroads of international importance.
In this context, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani highlighted the importance of the initiative about the continuation of Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad to Herat, having assured that Afghan side would make relative work for the implementation of this project.
At the same time, the perspectivity of the project of fibre optic line, which undoubtedly would be economically beneficial for the countries of the region, has been noted.
Having outlined energy sphere, cooperation in which has long-term character, among priority vectors of bilateral cooperation, high-rank guest expressed the gratitude for the willingness of Turkmenistan to increase the volumes of electricity supplied to Afghanistan.
Having highlighted the significance of the project of construction of the TAPI pipeline for the countries of the region, the leader of friendly country assured that Afghan side would take actual measures in this direction.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani also expressed the gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for education of Afghan youth in Turkmenistan and active support in establishment of close contacts in this field.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed the confidence in further development of cooperation in study of historical and cultural contacts between two countries. The presence of big opportunities for cooperation in such sphere as carpet production has also been stated.
Conditions for development of efficient relations in other spheres and for development useful contacts between relative structures have been montioned.
At the same time, the importance of activation of constructive cooperation under the UN for Afghanistan has been highlighted.
High-rank guest expressed sincere gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for creative initiatives and permanent support in practical implementation of achieved agreements.
Signing ceremony of bilateral documents, which are to support successful development of beneficial Turkmen – Afghan partnership, took place after the extended talks.
Under the applause of the participants, Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani put their signatures under the Agreement on Strategic Cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Joint Statement.
The following documents have been signed with the participation of the Heads of the States:
Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Oil and Gas Sphere between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Memorandum of Understanding for Increment of volumes of Turkmen Electricity supplied to Herat Province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Agreement on Air Connection between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Memorandum of Understanding for Construction of Akina – Andhoy railroad between the Türkmendemirýollary Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Communication of Turkmenistan and Railway Transport Department of Afghanistan; the Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on International Railway Transit Point on Turkmen – Afghan State Border; the Regulations of Organization of Railway Communication between Serhetabat and Turgundy Railway Station on Turkmen – Afghan State Border; the Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Affairs between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Magtumguly Institute of Language, Literature and National Manuscripts of the Academy of Science of Turkmenistan and National Archive of Afghanistan.
After, the Leaders of two countries made statement to the representatives of mass media.
Commenting on the outcomes of the high-level meeting in Ashgabat, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that the talks, during which aspects of bilateral cooperation as well as wide range of issues of regional and international politics have been discusses, went in the atmosphere of understanding and trust.
Turkmen leader noted that Turkmenistan’s vision of the situation in Afghanistan has been given during the talks. We are confident that political stability in this country can be achieved only by peaceful way and negotiations. Undoubtedly, this issue cannot be solved by force measures. Being a neutral state, Turkmenistan repeatedly said about the willingness to create all necessary conditions for organization of direct talks between the Government of Turkmenistan and all interested parties. This position of Turkmenistan was confirmed again at current meeting.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed the confidence that involvement of Afghanistan to major international and regional projects in economic sphere is an important condition for the achievement of peace and solidarity in this country. Following its commitment, Turkmenistan proposed numerous important projects with the participation of Afghanistan in energy, transport and communication sphere.
It includes the construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline. The orientation of this project to social targets is its important component.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are the partners in big and important project of the establishment of Lapis Lazuli multimodal transport corridor. The willingness to continue regular meetings with transport ministers of participating countries has been confirmed for the discussion of the issues related to the implementation of the project. Opportunity to implement number of other projects with the participation of two countries has also been discussed at the talks.
Having reviewed in details the conditions and perspectives of interstate trade and economic relations for further development of cooperation and bringing of it to new level, the sides agreed to give relative instructions to profile departments of both states.
Turkmenistan would continue rendering humanitarian support to Afghan people, build social facilities in this country, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted. Special relative programme is under the development for this purpose.
Having expressed satisfaction of the negotiations, the Head of the State highlighted that current meeting confirmed invariable character of Turkmen – Afghan relations based on the principles of goodwill, fraternity, respect and equal rights.
Addressing mass media and voicing the outcomes of high-level meeting, President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani noted that it is 27 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
As it was highlighted the Agreement on Strategic Cooperation was signed by the outcomes of bilateral talks, which is an important step toward the development of long-term partnership in wide range of directions. All of these again confirms the fact that interstate dialog would be taken to higher level.
Afghan leader highlighted the importance of cooperation in involvement of the capabilities of Lazuli transit and transport corridor as well as the project of the TAPI pipeline and projects of power and fibre optic lines related to this project, which provide the prepositions for activation of regional partnership, creation of new production facilities and hence promoting the provision of wealth of the nations.
Having noted that combating of such challenges as terrorism and extremism are one of important aspects of consolidation of the efforts, high-rank guest assured that Afghanistan and Turkmenistan would continue cooperating in this direction.
It was also highlighted that Turkmensitan and Afghanistan demonstrate positive example of the implementation of joint projects. the initiatives proposed by Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov make prepositions for improvement of the partnership between the countries of Central Asia, Caucasus and Europe.
Speaking about the partnership in railway sphere, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani noted the future of continuation of construction of Kerky – Ymamnazar – Akina railroad as well as continuation of Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad to Herat.
Reverting to the subject of the TAPI project and having noted that the works for construction are carried out at high rates in Turkmenistan, high-rank guest expressed the confidence that these works would be carried out efficiently and actively by both countries. Necessary works for building of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan power line are carried out and it is good that companies from the Republic of Turkey expressed their wish to participate in the implementation of this project, afghan leader said.
Great attention is paid to Turkmen – Afghan cooperation in humanitarian sphere, which would support the improvement of friendly contacts between the youth of both countries.
In the end, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed the gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Turkmen people for support in development of fruitful bilateral relations.
The President of Turkmenistan gave official lunch in honour of high-rank guest.
In the afternoon, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan visited the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan where he made a speech for professors, lecturers and students.
Answering the questions of students and having noted an important role of our country in activation of fruitful cooperation in the region, the Head of neighbouring state highlighted special significance and currency of constructive initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov including on peaceful regulation of Afghan problem.
Having given high appraisal to the negotiations, which resulted in signing of bilateral documents, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed sincere gratitude to Turkmen leader for considerable input and active position in social and economic restoration of Afghanistan, its integration to the system of regional and international economic relations. It was highlighted that implementation of major infrastructural projects with participation of Afghanistan, especially in such vital directions as energy and transport, is key factor in this case.
Afghan leader expressed the confidence in further improvement of traditional interstate cooperation resting on strong friendship and goodwill relations.
Having completed the programme of official visit to Turkmenistan, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani went to the International Airport of the capital and left Ashgabat.
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