On January 16, 2021, the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov held an Informational briefing in Ashgabat, dedicated to the commissioning of three infrastructure facilities - a power line in the direction of Kerki (Turkmenistan) - Sheberghan (Afghanistan), a 30-kilometer railway section between stations "Aqina-Andkhoy" and the International fiber-optic communication system and transit flows along the route Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) - Aqina (Afghanistan) and Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) - Torghundi (Afghanistan).
The event was attended by the ministers, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions and representative offices of international organizations working in Turkmenistan, rectors of the country's universities, chief editors of print media, representatives of national media and journalists of foreign mass media accredited in Turkmenistan. The Ambassadors of Turkmenistan in foreign countries, as well as more than 30 representatives of foreign mass media from 15 countries of the world took part in the event through videoconferencing.
The head of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan described these projects as real steps aimed at the consistent involvement of Afghanistan to regional and international economic processes, the integration of this country into the system of continental transport and logistics ties. The importance of their successful implementation was noted in the context of present and prospective bilateral, regional and international cooperation, including the positive impact on the general geo-economic and political situation in the region.
During his speech, R. Meredov emphasized that the construction of infrastructure facilities in Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, in terms of its geo-economic and geopolitical significance, transcend its regional boundaries, and in fact means the formation of a new belt of transport and communications and the energy supplies of the continental level on the Turkmen and Afghan territories, connecting the Central Asia and South Asia with Europe and the Middle East. This, in turn, is the practical embodiment of Turkmenistan’s international initiatives in the field of sustainable development in transport and energy sector, which the country proposes within UN. As examples, the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, the construction of cross-border railways, bridges, power lines and fiber-optic communications with the participation of neighboring countries and other countries, work on the launching of the Lapis-Lazuli transport corridor along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route were presented.
In this context, during the briefing, the importance of cooperation with international organizations, including the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and the European Union, was noted. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan announced the conjugation of multilateral interests, the strive of partners to diversify transport and energy flows, which creates preconditions for joining the mentioned projects of a number of integration associations, such as the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Commonwealth of Independent States. In this regard, R. Meredov stressed that the bilateral Turkmen-Afghan infrastructure projects should be considered as part of more comprehensive plans on the establishment of geo-economic space uniting the states of the region, neighboring countries, other states, and aimed at forming an integrated system of continental cooperation in Eurasia.
The head of the Foreign Ministry confirmed the firm adherence of Turkmenistan to providing comprehensive political, diplomatic and economic support to Afghanistan, which constitutes a single long-term state strategy for Turkmenistan's cooperation with this country. R. Meredov stressed that the basis of such cooperation is the reliance on the historical traditions of friendship and good-neighborliness of the two fraternal peoples, the awareness of the fact that Afghanistan is the most important and integral link of regional and continental stability and security, and the assuredness in the ability of the Afghan people and their leadership to overcome the existing difficulties and achieve peace and harmony in the country, attain its economic prosperity.
The Minister of Energy of Turkmenistan Charymyrat Purchekov, the Counselor of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Turkmenistan Ahmad Tariq Noorzadeh, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia, Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia Natalya Gherman, Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat Natalya Drozd, Director of the Resident Office of the Asian Development Bank in Turkmenistan Chang Ching Yu also gave speeches at the briefing.
Speakers noted that these initiatives of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which were implemented, contribute to an increase in the volume and expansion of the geography of electricity exports, and an increase in the transport and transit potential of the entire region. It was also noted that the commissioning of these projects contributes to the implementation of the transit and transport potential of the two states, their interaction in the energy and communication sectors, integration into the system of modern international economic relations.
At the end of the briefing, Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan answered the questions of the representatives of the news agencies, in particular the “News Central Asia” (Pakistan), “TRT” (Turkey) и “Agence France Press” (France), the faculty members of the Institute of International Relations of the MFA of Turkmenistan, the International University for the Humanities and Development and local press.
On January 14, 2021, the inauguration of the 30-kilometer railway section between the Aqina-Andkhoy stations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took place.
The event was attended by the heads of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, members of governments, heads and representatives of a number of ministries and departments of the two countries, public organizations.
The Chairman of the Agency "Türkmendemirýollary" (Turkmen Railways) A. Atamuradov and the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams informed the ceremony participants about the construction work.
In his speech, A. Atamuradov noted that the Aqina-Andkhoy railway branch connected with the railway system of Turkmenistan is the part of the Asian International Railway Transport Corridor and is intended to become one of the key links of the Lapis-Lazuli corridor. He spoke about the well-coordinated work of the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the implementation of this project. It was noted that this and other routes initiated by the head of state contribute to building up the transport and transit potential of both Turkmenistan and the entire region, contributing to the strengthening of fruitful trade and economic cooperation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams noted the high level of Turkmen-Afghan cooperation in the field of transport. Yamma Shams expressed gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for assistance in the implementation of this project. He noted that the efficiency of this railway will continue to grow, creating new jobs and expanding the transport and transit potential of Afghanistan. Thus, the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line will open up new opportunities for the development of the Afghan economy and the revitalization of its small and medium-sized businesses.
During the ceremony, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani gave their blessing for the commissioning of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line.
The opening of this railway branch was marked by the solemn dispatch from the Aqina station towards the city of Andkhoy of a train consisting of 20 cars loaded with export products from Turkmenistan.
At the end of the ceremony, the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the construction of the facility were presented with valuable gifts on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan.
It is important to note that the Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway between the “Türkmendemirýollary” Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Communication of Turkmenistan and the Afghan Railway Authority was signed following the results of high-level bilateral talks held in Ashgabat in February 2019.
Today, on December 4, 2020, the opening of a mosque constructed in the township of Akina of the Andkhoy etrap of Faryab province of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took place as a friendly gesture from the Turkmen side to the Afghan people.
As is known, in accordance with the Resolution of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the construction of a mosque for 500 seats started on November 2018. This decision was taken within the framework of support provided by Turkmenistan to achieve stability and security in Afghanistan, including humanitarian assistance to the brotherly Afghan people.
The opening ceremony was attended by a representative Turkmen delegation headed by the Chief Mufti of the country Y. Khojagulyev, which also included the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan H. Ovezov, Consul of Turkmenistan in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif B. Kabaev, imams of Mary and Lebap velayats of the country and representatives of the Turkmen media.
On behalf of the Afghan side, the ceremony was attended by the Minister of Hajj and Islamic Affairs Mohammad Qasim Halimi, khyakim of Jovzjan province Lotfullah Azizi, khyakim of Faryab Nakibullah Faik province, representatives of the above Ministry and the IRA Foreign Ministry branch in Mazar-i-Sharif, representatives of departments and state services of the township of Aqina , as well as numerous Turkmens living in these regions.
The opening of the mosque on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan is especially symbolic. Turkmenistan, being a neutral state, whose status is enshrined in the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, is doing a tremendous job to promote political and diplomatic, trade-economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation in the entire region.
Turkmenistan pays great attention to the stable development of the neighboring country and renders fraternal solidarity and active support in its integration into the peaceful course of development.
Also, today, in honor of the opening of a new spiritual facility for the Afghan people, a humanitarian cargo was sent from Turkmenistan to the Afghan provinces of Jovzjan, Herat and Faryab, consisting of medicines and medical supplies and means, household, textile and food products produced in Turkmenistan.
A representative delegation from Turkmenistan, as well as high-ranking officials of various departments of Afghanistan, took part in the delivery ceremony of humanitarian aid in the township of Turgundi, Herat province.
Turkmenistan is convinced of the need to attract political-diplomatic tools to achieve peace and prosperity in AfghanistanWednesday, 25 November 2020 11:34
The plenary session of the High-level Conference on Afghanistan, which is being held online in Geneva, took place today.
During the meeting, the heads of foreign affairs agencies of dozens of countries of the world, including Russia, Iran, Switzerland, the USA, as well as the representatives of the UN and its divisions, the European Union and other multilateral structures gave speeches. The event was marked by the addresses of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres.
The participants of the meeting discussed issues of cooperation between the Government of Afghanistan and the international community in achieving common interests: sustainable development, prosperity and peace in Afghanistan. In particular, the development vectors for 2021-2024, partnership coordination, as well as financial support for the Afghan administration were considered. The focus is on the development of a common political statement and financial mechanism for the economic development of this country.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov outlined the position and actions of Turkmenistan aimed at supporting the process of establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan, including its involvement in the global economy.
It was especially emphasized that Turkmenistan is convinced of the need to involve diplomatic and political mechanisms in achieving peace in Afghanistan, which is a solid foundation for the country's socio-economic development.
As an example, R. Meredov cited a number of initiatives of the Government of Turkmenistan aimed at supporting fraternal Afghanistan. This includes the expansion of humanitarian cooperation, and the development and implementation of large regional and international infrastructure projects in the field of energy, transport, communications and much more.
At this meeting, it was noted that Turkmenistan intends to continue to provide assistance to Afghanistan and its people.
During the plenary session of the High Level Conference on Afghanistan, the parties discussed issues of economic cooperation.
Speaking at the event, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani spoke about the economic situation in the country. Expressing gratitude for the aspiration of the world community to facilitate the involvement of Afghanistan in the world economy, he especially noted the important contribution of Turkmenistan. Projects initiated by the Turkmen side were highlighted, in particular, the importance for Afghanistan of the construction of power transmission lines and fiber-optic communication along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TAP) route.
In turn, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov spoke in detail about trade and economic cooperation with neighboring Afghanistan.
He stressed that the leadership of Turkmenistan considers the regional economic integration of Afghanistan through the implementation of large-scale infrastructure projects as one of the main aspects of restoring peace in this country.
Thus, Turkmenistan has initiated a number of important economic projects with the participation of Afghanistan. The construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, electricity and communication lines along the TAP route, as well as railways connecting Turkmenistan with Afghanistan and other countries of the region continues.
The Turkmen side plans to complete the construction of TAPI on its territory this year, and start construction on the territory of Afghanistan next year. The final stage of the construction of power transmission lines and fiber-optic communications along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route was also highlighted.
“As for the railway communication, the construction by the Turkmen side of the 35-kilometer section of the Akina-Andkhoy railway should be completed in the coming days,” R. Meredov noted. In 2021, it is planned to continue the construction of the railway in the direction of Turgundi-Herat.
The head of the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan informed the meeting participants about the financial component of these projects. Turkmenistan has allocated 1 billion 250 million US dollars for the implementation of projects with the participation of Afghanistan.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the issues of attracting investments and the structure of financing in the process of comprehensive reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Today, at the plenary session of the High-level Conference on Afghanistan, discussions were held on issues of a social and humanitarian nature. The sides considered the possibilities of assisting Afghanistan for the earliest possible normalization of the life of the Afghan people.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan spoke about the key actions of Turkmenistan in the framework of the implementation of the national Program for the provision of humanitarian assistance by Turkmenistan to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for the coming years.
In recent years, a number of social facilities have been built with funds from Turkmenistan, including a girls' school in Balkh province, a rural hospital in Faryab province and a maternity hospital in Herat region. The Turkmen side has also completed the construction of a 500-seat mosque located in Afghanistan, the opening of which is scheduled for the near future.
Turkmenistan stands for the expansion of cultural and humanitarian ties with Afghanistan, cooperates in the field of science and education, healthcare.
On November 23, 2020, a two-day high-level online conference on Afghanistan, organized by the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Finland in cooperation with the United Nations, kicked off in Geneva. This Conference, which brings together high-ranking representatives from dozens of countries of the world and leading international organizations, takes place every 4 years.
Turkmenistan is represented at this event by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov.
In this context, the commitment of the Turkmen side was expressed to assist in the fight against international terrorism, drug trafficking, cross-border crime, for which, as noted, a cohesive and strategic approach is needed. The effectiveness of the Turkmen-Afghan partnership in this area was emphasized; in particular, the effective work of the Joint Turkmen-Afghan Commission on Security Cooperation was highlighted.
The call of Turkmenistan to expand regional and global interaction against the background of the growing risk of radical terrorism was voiced. In this regard, the commitment of Turkmenistan to the implementation of the UN counter-terrorism strategy at all levels: global, regional and national was emphasized. It was also noted that Turkmenistan welcomes and supports the involvement of Afghanistan in all regional actions on security issues.
As known, Turkmenistan supports the inter-Afghan negotiations, which started in Doha on the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, and expresses conviction in the effectiveness of diplomatic and political instruments and is also ready to assist the negotiation process by providing its political space. R. Meredov noted that the Turkmen side views this process as the beginning of the establishment of permanent peace in Afghanistan, and is an important step towards strengthening regional peace and sustainable security.
The head of the Turkmen Foreign Ministry clearly outlined three areas that the Government of Turkmenistan considers as integral in the establishment of peace in Afghanistan. These are political mechanisms, the involvement of Afghanistan in the processes of the world economy and humanitarian assistance.
In this regard, the commitment of Turkmenistan to all-round assistance to the people of Afghanistan was confirmed.
It is important to note that the Governments of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan maintain an active dialogue, which obviously makes an important contribution to the development of bilateral and regional cooperation in achieving peace, stability and security.
On the 23rd of November 2020, a two-day 2020 Afghanistan Conference has started in Geneva in the online format under the chairmanship of the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Finland jointly with the United Nations.
The given Conference has united the high-ranking representatives of more than 100 countries and international organizations. Turkmenistan is represented at the Conference by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov.
The Conference stands as an efficient mechanism and active platform for the discussion by the international community of the overall recovery of Afghanistan and unification of efforts in the process of socio-economic development of the country. The matters of peace and security are in the focus of discussions.
Speaking at the High-level meeting in the framework of the Conference entitled the “Regional Cooperation on Afghanistan,” R.Meredov noted that Turkmenistan attaches great importance to the overall reestablishment of Afghanistan and strives to contribute to the international efforts aimed at the strengthening of statehood, economic integration and well-being of the people of Afghanistan. He added that Turkmenistan makes concrete practical steps in this regard. The cooperation of two neighboring countries is based on large projects and programmes of socio-economic and humanitarian scope.
It was stated that being aware of the importance of such sectors of economy as energy, transport and communications for the overall development of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan actively works on the promotion of a number of large-scale international infrastructural projects. The commitment of the Turkmen side to the advancement of the construction of the gas pipeline TAPI, power and fiber-optic communication lines on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, building of the railway lines from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan was underlined.
Turkmenistan actively develops partnership with Afghanistan on a wide range. A lot of Afghan students are studying in Turkmen institutions of higher education, while those who already completed their studies, work in various state entities of Afghanistan, thus making an input into the development of the country.
The Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan told about the key activities of Turkmenistan within the Action Program on Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan for 2020-2022. The Government of Turkmenistan renders assistance of humanitarian scope to the fraternal country, including the construction of a number of social facilities. The Government of Turkmenistan has built a school in Balkh province, a health center in the province of Faryab and a maternity hospital in Herat province. In the coming future, the mosque for 500 people is planned for inauguration which was also built by the Turkmen side and is located on the territory of Afghanistan.
All of this was presented as an example and call for strengthening of multifaceted cooperation in support to Afghanistan which is firmly moving forward to the peace, stability and sustainable development.
During today’s 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting, the key issues of regional and international agenda were discussed. The Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan noted the active role of Turkmenistan in addressing the global challenges, as well as strengthening multilateral regional and international cooperation.
Thus, the firm commitment of Turkmenistan to the initiatives in the area of energy security, use of ecofriendly energy, expansion of regional and international transport and transit communications was underlined.
The parties expressed interest in the advancement of trade-economic, transport and energy cooperation and agreed to hold the First Economic Forum “EU-Central Asia” in 2021.
The issues of security and stability in the Central Asia and nearby regions were especially regarded. In this regard, the firm adherence of Turkmenistan to the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was emphasized. The importance of the Ashgabat Declaration of 2011 and the Central Asia’s Joint Plan of Action to counter terrorism was highlighted.
The participants expressed interest in continuing cooperation between the Central Asia and the EU on combatting terrorism, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, illegal drug trafficking and cyber security threats. In this context, the Turkmen side called for the intensification of partnership in the CA-EU-UN format.
The parties discussed the advancement of intra-Afghan peace talks and underlined the importance of support to the overall reinstatement of Afghanistan. It was noted that Turkmenistan actively works on the promotion of large infrastructural projects with participation of Afghanistan, including the construction of the gas pipeline TAPI, power and fiber-optic communication lines on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, building of the railway lines from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
The participants of the session welcomed the initiative of the Government of Turkmenistan to host in December of current year in Ashgabat, an International Conference entitled as the “Policy of Neutrality and its Importance in Ensuring International Peace, Security, and Sustainable Development” devoted to the 25th anniversary of permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan, as well as to organize an International High-Level Forum in the year of 2021, which has been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Peace and Trust.
The heads of the external policy agencies of the EU and Central Asia welcomed the mutual cooperation on humanitarian issues and discussed the opportunities of widening ties in the area of education, science, culture, technologies and innovations.
The Joint Communiqué was adopted upon the outcomes of the 16th Central Asia - EU Ministerial Meeting.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are committed to development of bilateral ties across the entire spectrum of cooperationTuesday, 27 October 2020 16:52
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.