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.
The President of Turkmenistan: Central and South Asia is the space for active international economic cooperation
Ceremonial events on occasion of the launch of new construction phase of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas line (TAPI) and power and fibre optic lines Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan as well as opening o Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad were held in Serhetabat etrap, Mary Velayat. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shahid Hakan Abbasi and State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India Mabashar Javed Akbar who arrived in our country took part in the ceremonies.
In the morning, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov left Mary by helicopter for the place of ceremonial events in Serhetabat etrap. After the flight, the helicopter landed at special helipad.
After, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India arrived in the place of events .
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and high-rank guests proceeded to the ceremony staging place.
Exhibition symbolically dedicated to the Great Silk Road was organized at the same place. Its exhibits allow getting visual impression of original traditions and customs, rich culture of the nations of four countries participating in TAPI project, which territories this ancient trade route used to cross.
The exposition of our country bears the slogan of this year “Turkmenistan – the Heart of the Great Silk Road” and gives an opportunity to familiarize with the history of legendary path that run across Turkmen land, which is told by the map presented there. The displays introduce world known historical and cultural monuments of Turkmenistan located along the Great Silk Road as well as the samples of applied art including beautiful jewelleries and famous Turkmen carpets.
Thematic paintings, works of national handcrafts masters demonstrating their skills in production of national dress and headdress, felt mats, wooden souvenirs, ceramic and copper items, horse harness encrusted with silver, musical instruments, etc. have been presented at the exhibition.
The showrooms of Pakistan demonstrated decorative and applied art items including the samples of traditional painting and musical instruments. The exhibits of Pakistani partners also allow getting the impression on natural places of interests of friendly country.
The exposition of Afghanistan is mainly represented by the northern province of Herat. Souvenirs, samples of national painting art, original works of the artists and other were demonstrated there. The carpets especially those made by the representatives of Turkmen diaspora in Herat attract greatest attention.
The President of Turkmenistan and high-rank guests looked around the exhibition with the great interest. Masters of arts prepared their artistic gift on occasion of remarkable events and enthusiastically performed bright sing and dance composition.
The President of Turkmenistan, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the State Foreign Minister of the Republic of India went inside the building where numerous participants of the ceremony have been gathered in the conference hall. There were the Chairperson of the Mejlis, Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, leaders of military and law enforcement agencies, ministries and departments, non-governmental organizations. The heads of diplomatic missions accredited in our country, delegations of number of the states, representatives of competent international financial structures including Asian and Islamic Development banks, business circles, foreign and national ass media were also among the participants.
Welcoming high-rank guests and all the participants in ancient Turkmen land, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that the construction of Afghan part of TAPI pipeline, which is to serve for the sake of fundamental interests of fraternal nations of the region would be launched as well as foundation stone of 500 KWt power line and fibre optic line Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan would be laid.
Having congratulated the participants on the launch of the above-mentioned facilities, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed the confidence that implementation of such significant projects would be another important step toward further consolidation of beneficial friendly relations of independent neutral Turkmenistan with the states of the world.
Having informed that it is planned to open new Turkmenbashy International Seaport soon, the President of Turkmenistan taking an opportunity invited the participants of the events to the opening ceremony.
After, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shahid Hakan Abbasi and State Foreign Minister of the Republic of India Mobashar Javed Akbar addressed the participants of the ceremony.
After the speeches the documents signing ceremony took place. The following documents have been signed:Intergovernmental Agreement on Electrical Power Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan between the Government of Turkmenistan, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;The General Conditions of the Agreement with the Government of Receiving State on Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India pipeline project.
Later in the ceremony, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave start to the construction of Afghan part of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India pipeline and power and fibre optic lines Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan as well as opened new railroad Serhetabat – Turgundy by direct TV bridge.
The participants watched with the interest the welding together two steel pipes of another part of TAPI energy route, start of construction of power and fibre optic cables carried out using special machinery and equipment.
After, the participants of the events witnesses of the first train leaving border Turkmen station Serhetabat for neighbouring Afghanistan, Herat Province.
After the ceremony, the official photographing of the President of Turkmenistan, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the State Foreign Minister of the Republic of India took place on the background of the State Flags of four countries.
After, the Heads of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the State Foreign Minister of India left Serhetabat etrap for Afghan city Herat where the ceremony was continued.
Congress Centre «Möwlana Jelaletdin Balh» was the place of celebration events where at the main entrance, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was welcomed by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
Having shaken hands, the leaders of two countries entered the hall of the building and traditionally were photographed on the background of the State Flags of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.
Joint photographing of the heads of the delegation of the background of the State Flags of participating countries has also taken place before the start of the event.
Welcoming high-rank guests and all participants of the ceremony on Afghan land, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan highlighted that ancient city Herat witnessed the historical events that are important not only for Afghanistan but also for entire region and future generations.
Having noted that after completion of the construction of TAPI, connecting corridor between our countries would be made, Mohamad Ashraf Ghani expressed the confidence that Afghan youth would also take active part in the project.
Afghanistan places a lot of hope on the realization of big projects initiated by Turkmenistan in energy, transport and communication spheres that bring the progress and prosperity to the region.
In this regard, the Head of neighbouring state expressed sincere gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for constant support and help in peaceful restoration of Afghanistan, having highlighted that Afghan people highly appreciate this fact and value the friendship with fraternal Turkmen nation.
The floor was given to the Head of Turkmenistan. Addressing the participants of the ceremony, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed sincere gratitude to his Afghan colleague Mohammad Ashraf Ghani for the hospitality and high level of organization of this event.
The launch of construction of the next phase of TAPI pipeline, power and fibre optic line between Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad visually demonstrate responsible approach of all member states of these projects, their foresight, consent, commitment to their obligations, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.
These projects open new opportunities for further activation and expansion of international cooperation, attraction of other countries, world economic unions and financial organizations and business communities to this work.
All of these serves as visual confirmation of successful practical realization of common strategic purpose – active integration of our states to the world economy in continental and global scales.
Mentioning great importance of current events for Afghanistan, the President expressed firm confidence that opening of such important facilities would give strong impulse to economic development of neighbouring country and to revival of its industrial and social infrastructure.
The Head of Turkmenistan noted that Central and South Asian is the space for active international economic cooperation. These are the territories, through which ancient trade routes connecting Europe and Asia used to run for many centuries. At present time, the states of these regions occupy important positions in the intensification of global economic partnership, which main parts are composed by energy and transport spheres. Realization of the projects in these directions opens colossal perspectives for optimization of transport and energy relations in Eurasian space.
The projects of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India pipeline, Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan power and fibre optic lines as well as Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad turn into fundamental geopolitical condition. Their realization will make big positive effect on general situation in Asia and beyond its borders, having turned into the factor of the provision of sustainable development and security in the region.
Turkmen leader highlighted that current events are very important for our state as energy, transport and communications projects that just have started would support rapid development of the economies of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
Greeting the participants, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shahid Hakan Abbasi congratulated the participants of the ceremony and nations of four countries on current remarkable event – the launch of construction of Afghan part of TAPI pipeline, having highlighted the historical significance of the implementation of this large energy projects for the provision of peace, stability and sustainable development in the region.
Having emphasized that this project would be some sort of messenger of the beginning of new age in the history of the region, the Prime Minister of Pakistan addressed special congratulations to Afghan people.
Having expressed the gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani for the hospitality and high organizational level of the ceremonies, Prime Minister Shahid Hakan Abbasi assured them in the commitment of Pakistan to its partnership obligations.
The floor was given to the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the republic of India who, having congratulated the participants of the ceremony on the start of the construction of another phase of TAPI pipeline, power and fibre optic lines as well as on the opening of new railroad, highlighted that these events vividly indicate dynamic long-term character of interstate partnership.
India attaches great importance to this large-scale project, expressing the interest in supplies of gas and providing reliable market for it as well as to other infrastructural projects, which are important for all countries of the region, especially for Afghanistan, Mobashar Javed Akbar said.
Mobashar Javed Akbar expressed the confidence that joint efforts of participating countries will result in successful completion of the project and would be visual example of goodwill of the sides and efficient and equal cooperation.
Teleconference connecting the Congress Centre with the construction site where Afghan specialist started the construction of Afghan part of transnational energy route took place afterwards.
Video about the opening of recently built railroad Serhetabat – Turgundy with departure of the first train was demonstrated after the teleconference.
In the end, having said warm goodbye to his Afghan colleague and high-rank guests and shared best wishes to friendly states and nations, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went to the helipad and left Herat for Mary Velayat.
Mubashir Javed Akbar: TAPI gas pipeline is an important project for the economy of India
Speaking during the ceremony of launching the construction of the Afghan section of the TAPI gas pipeline, State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India Mubashir Javed Akbar emphasized that he was glad to visit Turkmenistan in this historical moment. The State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India emphasized that the peoples of Turkmenistan and India had centuries-old ties of friendship and cooperation, noting that these relations are an important foundation for further expansion of the partnership.
In this context, Mubashir Javed Akbar told that the mausoleum of Abdyrrahim khan, the son of the outstanding Turkmen commander Bayram Khan Turkmen was located in his country. Speaking about the great deeds of Bayram Khan, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India presented the poetic lines, celebrating the honour of the man, who was able to share his wealth and inspire to good deeds, linking them with the modern initiatives of Turkmen leader, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, aimed at using the wealth that Turkmenistan possesses in the name of the universal peace and prosperity. The State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India supported this idea with the well-known proverb: "Knowledge grows with time, and prosperity increases if it is shared".
Focusing on the significance of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Mubashir Javed Akbar noted that its implementation symbolized the common goal, allowing us to look to the future with hope. Speaking about the social aspect of TAPI, the high-ranking guest stressed that the construction of this transnational energy bridge would significantly improve the living conditions of the population in the region and would offer dynamics to its further development, since gas carries not only energy but also progress. The TAPI gas pipeline is an important project for the Indian economy as well. Mubashir Javed Akbar underlined that the pipeline not only connected the countries, but also created new prospects, especially taking into account the opportunities available in the region. Thus, TAPI is a new page in history, Mobashar Javed Akbar stated.
Speaking about the future of the Turkmen-Indian cooperation, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India emphasized the prospects of the bilateral cooperation in various fields, and especially in the field of IT technologies. The high-level guest said that India welcomed the forward-looking policy pursued by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the successful implementation of which made the TAPI project a reality.
In conclusion, Mobashar Javed Akbar cited the words of the Turkmen leader that in modern conditions the Great Silk Road stood as the revival of the ancient creative traditions. Laying of the new fiber-optic communication line will continue them. Congratulating everyone on the start of the next stage of construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India addressed the best wishes of progress and prosperity to the peoples of the countries participating in this grandiose project.
Prime Minister of Pakistan: TAPI Projects Creates New Opportunities for Productive Interstate Cooperation
It is a great honor for me to be here today, said the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, at the ceremony dedicated to the launch of the next stage of the TAPI project.
The head of Government of Pakistan expressed sincere gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, for the pragmatic approach to the issues of international energy cooperation and constructive initiatives put forward in this strategic sphere.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan stressed that the concept of construction of the TAPI pipeline is coming to fruition, which means that long-standing historical bonds between the peoples of the region are reborn and new opportunities for productive interstate cooperation are created.
Thanking the governments of all countries taking part in the TAPI project for active contribution to its implementation, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi noted Pakistan’s major interest in the new energy route due to the dynamic pace of economic development and, consequently, the growing demands for energy of the country with a population of 270 million people.
The head of Government of Pakistan also stressed the importance of projects in the field of electric energy and establishment of international transit and transport corridors aimed at promoting comprehensive development and economic prosperity of Central Asia.
Pakistan is ready for future active cooperation in this field, stated Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and renewed his congratulations to the TAPI project partners and to the Asian Development Bank with the launch of the new stage of construction of the pipeline.
President of Afghanistan: TAPI is Foundation for Cooperation of Future Generations
Today we are laying the foundation not only for the further construction of the pipeline, but also for cooperation of our future generations, said President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, at the ceremony dedicated to the launch of the next stage of the TAPI project.
The Afghan leader noted the tremendous significance of today’s event from the standpoint of regional development: “The countries of Southern Asia – Indian, Pakistan and others – are actively developing intestate links in all fields. At the same time, Central Asia is expanding cooperation with Southern Asian countries, being a bridge in strengthening productive cooperation”.
The dignified guest also stressed that Turkmenistan’s deliberate foreign policy course, based on the principles of neutrality, is of specific importance for Afghanistan. He emphasized the productive nature of relations between our countries that are developing both in bilateral format and on regional and multilateral levels.
Noting the successful holding of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, the Afghan leader highlighted that this was a success not only for Turkmenistan, but for the Central Asia as a whole.
The far-sighted and wise policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov is an important positive factor in the region, stated Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, and continued by stating that dynamic economic development, social stability and availability of vast potential define today’s Turkmenistan.
The Afghan leader placed a special emphasis on the fact that, thanks to the policy and concrete steps taken by the Government of Turkmenistan, the construction of the TAPI pipeline reached the stage of practical implementation. Thanking the Turkmen side for the tremendous contribution to the realization of this project that will engage thousands of construction workers, the President of Afghanistan addressed the head of Turkmenistan with a request to continue supporting this project that is important for the whole region.
Currently, TAPI is deemed to be not only a gas pipeline, but also a corridor uniting our countries. This project is not only of economic, but also of political significance. Construction of electric power and fiber-optic lines along the pipeline’s route will help link Turkmenistan, Central Asia with Chabahar Port, and Afghanistan will play a role as a bridge between the countries of the region, stated Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, and reiterated his country’s readiness to perform this function.
Agreement on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan electricity transmission line signed
The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan electricity transmission line between the Government of Turkmenistan, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as well as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project Heads of Terms - Host Government Agreement were signed during the solemn ceremony of launching the construction of the next sstage of the TAPI project and laying the electricity transmission lines and fibre-optic lines along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route.