Three-lateral meeting between the Presidents of Turkmenistan , Afghanistan and Azerbaijan took place in video conference format. The agenda of high-level working session included discussion of major joint project of international transit and transport corridor Lapis Lazuli.
Steadily pursuing foreign strategy, which is based on the principles of positive neutrality, peace-loving and good neighbourliness, Turkmenistan stands for expansion of beneficial cooperation in common interests taking the most active part in the projects of regional nd international importance.
Projects of new multimodal Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey (Lapis Lazuli) Corridor is one of strategically important infrastructural projects implemented together with close neighbours.
The project will allow participating countries diversifying their entries to regional and continental trade markets, which will support directly to strengthening of national economies, expansion of trade and economic relations and increment of volumes of trade between Central and South Asian and European countries.
During video conference, which is dedicated to implementation of major joint project of international Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan - Georgia – Turkey transit and transport corridor, which was held with participation of the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, Head of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted that realization of the projects for establishment of transcontinental transit and transport corridors would comprehensively serve to strengthening of regional and international trade and economic relations and common sustainable development.
Having warmly greeted President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to the colleagues for organization of the forum.
Turkmen leader highlighted that he sees this high level meeting as a good opportunity for sharing opinions on strategically important subjects of cooperation, having noted that transport and communication sphere is one of its important vectors.
It was highlighted that special attention is paid to cooperation in this direction taking into account global threat the world is facing these days. Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan carried out joint work under international efforts aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19.
In the result of this work, all necessary conditions have been made for stable operation of important transport and transit corridor, which provides protection of economic relations, from the first days of spread of infectious disease in wide geographical space, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stated.
In this regard, the Head of the state expressed gratitude to Afghan and Azerbaijan sides for understanding and comprehensive support of Turkmenistan initiative for combating of coronavirus infection and mitigation of social and economic impacts.
As is known, Turkmenistan has taken number of important measures for enforcement of sanitary and epidemiological control, customs and migration modes at its borders. At the same time, necessary conditions have been made to support safe traffic of transport and cargo flows between countries and regions.
I think that such opportunity became possible in the result of consolidation of efforts of neighbouring states where Afghanistan and Azerbaijan play special role, the President of Turkmenistan highlighted.
Our countries are united by common history, culture, traditions and customs. At present time, relying on this solid base, we develop our relations in different directions, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.
Prior to coming over the subjects of the agenda, Turkmen leader has focused on important aspect, without which it is impossible to implement any project or any best and good initiatives. This is about peace, security, friendship and understanding between our countries and people.
In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan made special mention that our country would put all efforts in the future for equal and beneficial cooperation with Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.
Turkmen leader expressed confidence that neighbouring states would achieve significant results in this direction working in the spirit of understanding and accounting of mutual interests, resting on political will of the leaders.
Coming over to the subjects of cooperation in transport sphere, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan are located on intersection of continental routes. There are exits to South Asia and Asian Pacific region in the east, to Black and Mediterranean Seas in the west, to the Middle East via Iran in the south, to Baltic Sea across Russian Federation in the north through the territories of our countries.
Such favourable location opens good opportunities for opening of sustainable transport corridors in the main four geographic directions. However, first, our countries have to establish good transport communication system between themselves, strengthen transport and logistic infrastructure, provide correct logistic for efficient use of these capabilities, Turkmen leader said.
Taking into account outlined directions of plan of joint cooperation in transport sphere as well as set timeline, the necessity of establishment of efficient cooperation has been highlighted. In this regard, the Head of Turkmenistan shared his vision with the Presidents of Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, having made number of proposals on active establishment of long-term partnership in transport sphere.
First, based on the Agreement on transport corridor Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey (Lapis Lazuli), which was signed in Ashgabat on November 15, 2017, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to open Combined Logistic Centre.
This Centre is to provide coordination of joint activities for the formation of the corridor of stable cargo flow and efficient movement of the transport on the territory of country members. As the first measure for practical implementation of the proposal, I think it is relevant to review the capability of establishment of the structure, which would coordinated logistic activity in three-lateral format Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan, the Head of the State said.
Second, presence of modern, high technological transport infrastructure has colossal significance for enhancement of efficiency of cargo transportation. realizing this fact, it is necessary to pay special attention to further development of cargo reception and dispatch facilities like sea ports, railway stations and motor stations.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that wide capabilities and conditions are available in our country in this sphere. Thus, Turkmenbashy International Seaport, which structure includes oil, ferry, passenger and cargo terminals, is the main link in transport system of Turkmenistan.
The length of port berth, which is designated for service of 17 vessels at the same time, is more than 1,800 meters. Annually, the port allows providing turnover of 400,000 containers and 75,000 units of cargo transport. Total throughput capacity of Turkmenbashy International Seaport reaches 25 – 27 million tons of cargo per year.
We are ready to review certain forms of partnership with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan including long-term leasing of warehouses, terminals for storage of petroleum products, special places for loading operations for cargo, which is sent or arrived from your countries, on Turkmenbashy seaport, the Head of the State said.
New gasoline and diesel storage complex has been built at Ymamnazar border checkpoint of Turkmen – Afghan border, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov continued. This is another positive link of the system of Turkmen transport provision of Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan route.
The terminals of the complex allows storing up to 44,000 tons of production all day round. At the same time, throughput capacity of the complex is 540,000 tons of petroleum production per year.
There are also good capabilities for transit of goods and production at Serhetabat Border check point of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan border, the Leader of the Nation noted.
For provision of uninterrupted transportation of big volumes of cargo between our countries, the Head of Turkmen state continued , we support the proposal on opening of station for transportation of dry cargo in Akina and Turgundy settlements in Afghanistan, which are located opposite of the above-mentioned Turkmen check points.
Third, we think it is relevant to introduce unified price policy for transportation of cargo in Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan direction and back. We think that such policy has to be based on desire to create optimal economic and financial terms, which are equal for all members of the partnership in transport sphere, the President of Turkmenistan said.
In this context, it was highlighted that the sides can discuss the subjects of granting of various benefits to each other such as reduction of price (tariffs) on transit, exemption from payment of certain services during storage of cargo.
Forth, Turkmen leader proposed to review the opportunity of facilitation of customs operation by introduction of the control system based on Single Window principle. It was noted that Turkmenistan successfully implements and uses special ASYCUDA Programme of the United Nations designated for customs service of the country.
The Head of the state said that exchange of positive practice between customs services of our countries would support to the formation of green corridor in Afghanistan – Turkmenistan - Azerbaijan route.
Fifth, it is necessary to make a map of Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan route in digital format with detailed information about existing transport and communication infrastructure, the Head of the state continued, having noted that it would increase investment and commercial attractiveness of this corridor.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed to hold online meeting of the heads of transport industry and other profile departments of three countries in July this year for detailed elaboration of proposed initiatives.
Further, Turkmen leader has focused attention of his colleagues on such direction of cooperation as cooperation in telecommunication sphere.
It was informed that at present time, Turkmenistan implements two important projects of construction of fibre optic line in Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan direction and fibre optic line between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in TUrkmenbashhy – Siazan route across Caspian Sea.
Having noted that realization of these projects would make new telecommunication transit route between Europe and Asia, the Head of the State proposed to consolidate efforts of neighbouring countries by development of flexible form of three-lateral cooperation.
According to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, it would open additional capabilities for entry to major market of informational services in Eurasia using the most advanced and modern technologies.
Having expressed confidence in long-term three-lateral partnership in transport and communication sphere and other key branches, the President of Turkmenistan highlighted that it is important to consider mutual interest in the context of provision of economic development of our countries and improvement of wealth of their nations during formation of joint approaches to solution of specific subjects outlined at current meeting.
Having expressed gratitude to the participants of online meeting for the attention, Turkmen leader expressed confidence that development of joint mechanisms and coordinated positions would allow expanding cooperation, which meet real interests of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
During the meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev expressed confidence that comprehensive approaches to construction of long-term and efficient cooperation proposed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, initiated major transport and communication projects would be important contribution to strengthening of the basis of stability and security, stable social and economic development of entire region.
It was noted that big perspective for consolidation of efforts are seen in establishment of ramified transit and transport system. Multilateral projects of formation of modern infrastructure support to establishment of efficient cooperation in the sphere of road, railway and ferry communication and joint realization of available potential.
In this regard, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan made special mention that initiatives proposed by the President of Turkmenistan find wide support of the world community, especially the United Nations, and their implementation takes into account global interests.
In this regard, the Leader of friendly country noted that projects related to the system of formation of transport and transit corridors occupy important place among the proposals made by Head of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Together with strengthening of cooperation between the countries, it also make positive support to development of friendly, fraternal relations of their people, Ilham Aliyev said.
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed gratitude to Turkmen colleague for constructive peace-loving policy and proposed initiatives for intensification of multilateral partnership in all perspective directions.
In the end of high-level meeting held in video conference mode, the participants confirmed commitment of their countries to constructive multidimensional cooperation as well as intent to continue strengthening traditional partnership meeting interests of prosperity of friendly countries and their people.
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