On October 27, 2020, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Vepa Khadzhiyev met with the Head of the Presidential Administration of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Shakir Kargar via videoconference.
During the constructive dialogue, the high level of Turkmen-Afghan relations based on the principles of good neighborliness, mutual respect and trust was emphasized. It was noted that the top leadership of Turkmenistan attaches particular importance to the development of comprehensive ties with neighboring countries, in particular, with Afghanistan.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan noted that the Turkmen side fully welcomes the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan to restore peace and stability in the country, and seeks to provide the necessary assistance in the process of reconciliation and integration within the framework of its neutral status. The readiness of Turkmenistan to provide its political space for holding peace talks between the responsible forces of Afghanistan was emphasized.
Turkmenistan firmly stands for a peaceful political settlement of the situation in Afghanistan and suggests using the full potential of political and diplomatic means to achieve concrete results. Realizing that the process of political development is closely linked to economic growth and the humanitarian component, the Turkmen side is actively initiating and promoting a number of significant projects with the participation of Afghanistan.
In this context, Sh. Kargar, especially emphasized the huge contribution of Turkmenistan to the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan and the integration of the Afghan people into the global development channel. The construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, the TAP power transmission line, the development of rail links, the implementation of the "Lapis Lazuli Corridor" and other infrastructure projects of a social, economic and industrial nature are a clear example of the commitment of the two countries to expand cooperation. In turn, all of this is intended to have a beneficial effect on the security, stability and development of the entire region.
There is a solid package of bilateral documents between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan that regulate the strategic partnership of the parties in the field of transport, communications, energy, construction, science and education, and much more. This legal framework for cooperation was supplemented by a number of bilateral and multilateral acts signed in September and October this year.
During the meeting, the need was expressed to continue well-coordinated work on the way to the implementation of joint projects of geopolitical and geo-economic importance, with the active participation of public and private structures of the two countries.
In the course of a meaningful conversation, mutual interest was expressed in enhancing contacts between representatives of relevant departments of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for the full-scale and timely implementation of promising projects.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to the development of bilateral ties across the entire spectrum of cooperation.
27 октября 2020 года состоялась встреча заместителя министра иностранных дел Туркменистана Вепа Хаджиева с Главой Администрации Президента Исламской Республики Афганистан Мохаммадом Шакиром Каргаром в режиме видеоконференции.
В ходе конструктивного диалога был подчеркнут высокий уровень туркмено-афганских связей, основанных на принципах добрососедства, взаимного уважения и доверия. Было отмечено, что высшее руководство Туркменистана уделяет особое значение развитию всесторонних связей с соседствующими странами, в частности с Афганистаном.
Заместитель главы МИД Туркменистана отметил, что туркменская сторона всецело приветствует усилия Правительства Афганистана по восстановлению мира и стабильности в стране, и стремится оказывать необходимое содействие в процессе примирения и интеграции в рамках своего нейтрального статуса. Подчёркнута готовность Туркменистана предоставить свое политическое пространство для проведения мирных переговоров между ответственными силами Афганистана.
Туркменистан твердо выступает за мирное политическое урегулирование ситуации в Афганистане и предлагает использовать весь потенциал политико-дипломатических средств для достижения конкретных результатов. Осознавая, что процесс политического развития тесно связан с экономическим ростом и гуманитарной составляющей, туркменская сторона активно инициирует и продвигает ряд значимых проектов с участием Афганистана.
В этом контексте Ш.Каргар, особо подчеркнул огромный вклад Туркменистана в социально-экономическое восстановление Афганистана и интеграцию афганского народа в мировое русло развития. Строительство газопровода ТАПИ, линии электропередачи ТАП, развитие железнодорожного сообщения, реализация «Лазуритого коридора» и других инфраструктурных проектов социального, экономического и промышленного характера являются наглядным примером приверженности двух стран расширению сотрудничества. В свою очередь, все это призвано оказывать благоприятное воздействие на безопасность, стабильность и развитие всего региона.
Между Туркменистаном и Афганистаном существует солидный пакет двусторонних документов, регламентирующих стратегическое партнерство сторон в сфере транспорта, коммуникаций, энергетики, строительства, науки и образования и многого другого. Данная правовая база сотрудничества была дополнена рядом двусторонних и многосторонних актов, подписанных в сентябре и октябре текущего года.
В рамках встречи была выражена необходимость продолжать слаженную работу на пути к реализации совместных проектов геополитической и геоэкономической важности, с активным участием государственных и частных структур двух стран.
В ходе содержательной беседы, высказана обоюдная заинтересованность в активизации контактов представителей профильных ведомств Туркменистана и Афганистана для полномасштабной и своевременной реализации перспективных проектов.
Стороны подтвердили приверженность развитию двусторонних связей по всему спектру сотрудничества.
Government Actions and Words Appear to Show Its Support for Poti at the Expense of Anaklia and Raise Questions About Whether it has been Misleading Georgian Public as well as International Communities
TBILISI, GEORGIA, 27 October, 2020 – Recent actions and comments by the Georgian Government appear to have exposed its true intentions to promote Poti and to turn its back on Anaklia as the location of a future world-class seaport. In the process, the Government has damaged its reputation in the global investment community by misleading investors and diplomats who were led to believe that the Government is still committed to a project at Anaklia. By every measure, it appears the Government has no interest in such a project at Anaklia.
Government Puts Its Support Behind Poti at the Expense of Anaklia
As reported in the media on 18 October, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at a political event sponsored by Georgian Dream, "We have to agree and be honest with each other that there are many problems in Poti, but nevertheless, I want to tell you that the next 4 years will be the years of Poti reconstruction, specifically the years of Poti reconstruction. Because that is what necessary not only for Poti but the entire country.”
Separately, Davit Ebralidze, Chief Executive Officer of Poti Free Industrial Zone (FIZ) said in an interview with Georgia Today “Initially when thinking about location of new FIZ, the most significant location was chosen strategically, not only in Georgia but in the Black Sea and Caucasus Region. Poti FIZ is located in the centre of the Silk Road and international transport and logistics corridors. Its location is one of the distinctive advantages over other free industrial zones in the country… The Poti Free Industrial Zone is one of the most strategic and successful companies within Smart Capital Group.”
Taken together, these comments suggest that the Government are now committing themselves to Poti as the future home of the long-anticipated deepwater seaport, contradicting prior statements from the Government.
The 23 October announcement by APM Terminals Poti (APMT) and Poti New Terminals Corporation (PNTC) that they have signed an agreement for the joint development of a new bulk cargo facility on the northern side of the Poti Sea Port reinforces the belief that the Government has been telling two conflicting stories: One that it is still committed to Anaklia; the second that it is focused solely in Poti. PNTC’s website suggests their intent is to see “a new deep-water harbor (greenfield) for dry bulk and container handling north to the existing Poti Port.” In other words, an alternative to Anaklia.
The interests of Georgian Dream Supporters Intersect with those of Poti FIZ
Based on public records, there appears to be close financial interests between Poti FIZ and high-level people connected to Georgian Dream:
- Poti Free Industrial Zone is managed by Euro-Asian Management Group, which is jointly owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese company CEFC and Eurasian Invest LLC.
- Both David Ebralidze and Ivane Chkhartishvili are on the Supervisory Board of Eurasian Invest, which itself is owned by two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, where laws make it difficult to track who owns them.
- Davit Ebralidze was previously Head of Administration for Georgian Co-Investment Fund, a fund set up by Georgian Dream leader and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to manage some of his personal investments.
- Chkhartishvili is also co-chairman of Euro-Asian Management Group and owns Smart Capital Group which, as noted above, is involved with Poti FIZ. Chkhartishvili “has been connected to several corruption cases” according to Democracy and Freedom Watch
- George Bachiashvili, who served on the board of directors of Eurasian Invest and appears to be the sole director of one of the BVI companies behind Eurasian Invest. He previously served as CEO of Georgian Co-Investment Fund and has long been connected to Bidzina Ivanishvili as a financial advisor.
Government Admits That Anaklia is Unlikely
As further evidence that the Government has no interest in seeing a port developed at Anaklia, it included language in its proposed 2021 budget that would be certain to scare away any potential investors. On pages 517-518 of the proposed budget is the following passage regarding the intended new tender for an Anaklia Port Project: “Potential risks – as it currently stands, due to the potential arbitration dispute, an investor of high reputation and experience may not be selected. Also, other unforeseen circumstances.”
Government Abandons Anaklia Site and Creates Health and Environmental Risks
The Government has also abandoned the site of the proposed Anaklia project after it unlawfully seized the land from ADC in February 2020. While ADC had invested considerable resources to begin site preparation work, including clearing 110-hectare area where soil was removed and cleared of waste, the Government’s failure to maintain the site has led to significant and chronic circulation of dust and particulate emissions, causing damage to the environment as well as threatening nearby residents with potentially serious respiratory health problems.
ADC had advised the Government of the need and means to mitigate these risks. However, the Government has ignored this, causing problems for the people of the region and signaling its lack of any further interest in the site.
Statement from Anaklia Development Consortium
“The current Government has misled the people of Georgia and the international community about its intentions for Anaklia port. Since unlawfully terminating the investment agreement with ADC in January 2020, Government ministers have said multiple times that the Government will issue a new tender for a port project at Anaklia. Based on its actions, however, it seems the Government has chosen to promote Poti and the related Free Industrial Zone, at the expense of the Anaklia Port.
“Most troubling is the Government’s duplicity, which will only serve to discourage foreign investors who feel they cannot trust the Government, and Georgian citizens who fear that the scourge of corruption will once again tarnish Georgia’s reputation and undermine their trust in the Government. One has to question whether the Government is acting in the best interests of the people of Georgia. Regardless of its motives, however, it certainly appears the Government is not being honest about its intentions with Anaklia.”
Why Poti Cannot be an Adequate Alternative to Anaklia
The Government’s initial decision to develop Anaklia was taken in 2013 after the Government hired a consortium of international consultants to compare and contrast the options in Georgia for a deep sea port. Anaklia was chosen because it held a number of advantages over every other location in Georgia, including the geo-technical conditions of the site, its financial feasibility and most importantly, the significant economic, social and geopolitical impact the project would have both on the Abkhazia region and the wider country.
The consultants’ report clearly outlined that the existing ports in Georgia (including Poti) are limited in their capacities and hinterland connections, and any expansion would have only short-term impact for the national maritime sector. The consultants advised the Government of Georgia to consider the development of the greenfield and large-scale deep sea port at Anaklia to ensure long term advantages for the country and phased capacity developments to serve Georgia’s needs in long-term perspective.
The existing port in Poti has numerous disadvantages and is not suitable for expansion, and the proposed new site at Poti is equally flawed, as explained by ADC.
Further details of the Anaklia Port project and ADC can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com
 The full set of documents submitted by the Government to the Parliament of Georgia together with the draft Law on 2021 State Budget are available at: