Turkmenistan, Afghanistan Agree on Extensive Cooperation, Vow to Pursue Trans-Afghan Pipeline
Ashgabat, 6 July 2007 (nCa) --- Turkmenistan and Afghanistan agreed Thursday on a broad-spectrum package of mutual cooperation that includes reiteration for Trans-Afghan gas pipeline, transit of Turkmen electricity to neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, extension of Turkmen rail network to Afghanistan, one month’s free supply of electricity to Afghanistan, and common struggle against narcotics and terrorism.
The sides signed a joint communiqué and three bilateral documents after tête-à-tête and expanded talks between President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov and President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Ashgabat.
Here are the salient features of the results of bilateral negotiations:
Turkmenistan will supply electricity worth US $ 300000 to Afghanistan free of cost. This is about one month’s regular supply of electricity to Afghanistan. Afghanistan is to buy 287 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from Turkmenistan for $5.74 million this year.
Afghanistan would permit transit of Turkmen electricity to second and third countries. Initial capacity of the grid would be 220 KV, to be expanded to 500 KV eventually.
Turkmenistan will foot the bill of reconstruction of railway link between Serhetabat and Turgondi. Two kilometers of the 7-kilometer link lies in the territory of Afghanistan. Turkmenistan will pay the entire cost of reconstruction that comes to about US $ 550000.
Turkmenistan will establish railway link between Imamnazar in Turkmenistan and Andkhoi in Turkmenistan. The Afghan president said that he would try to attract support from donor countries and ADB and World Bank for the project.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and both keen to promote Trans-Afghan pipeline project that has been lying dormant mostly because of unrest in Afghanistan. Both the presidents looked at the map of the proposed route of the pipeline and discussed several aspects of the project in a conversation that was not open to the media.
Karzai and Berdymuhamedov agreed to increase cooperation in maintenance of security and fighting the drug trafficking.
Turkmenistan has built 300-kilometers long electricity distribution network in Afghanistan.
Turkmenistan would continue to provide free medical aid to the Afghan citizens living in the border areas near Turkmenistan.
Hundreds of Afghan students are studying in Turkmenistan where they receive free education, boarding, lodging and stipend.
Turkmenistan and Afghanistan share more than 900 kilometers of common border.
During the 15 years of diplomatic relations, both the countries have signed 16 bilateral documents.
Turkmenistan supplies subsidized electricity, liquefied gas and food items to Turkmenistan. Afghan citizens in the border regions receive free medical aid from Turkmenistan.
Trade turnover between the two countries is still not very high. In 2000, the mutual trade turnover was US $ 38 million; in January-April 2007 assessment it was U $ 43 million.
Turkmen experts are building electric energy supply network in Balkh province and reconstructing grid network in Herat province. Another similar project with capacity of 220 KV would soon start to connect Serhatabat-Herat grids.
At present 43 enterprises with Afghan capital are registered in Turkmenistan and 39 of them are legal entities.
Here is the transcript of the remarks of both the presidents to the media:
Hamid Karzai: [thanked Turkmen President for hospitality and cordial reception.] In the course of our bilateral negotiations with head of Turkmen state we discussed a number of issues of interstate cooperation.
We discussed issues of cooperation in cultural sphere. The most important issues in our discussion were Turkmen electricity supply to Afghanistan, export of Turkmen gas via territory of Afghanistan and construction of railway between two countries.
We highly appreciate the gift of Turkmen side at the size of free electricity supply for sum of 300 000 USD.
I invited Turkmen President to visit Afghanistan and he agreed. I express my thankfulness.
Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov: [thanked Afghan President for visit]. We discussed a range of issues and signed some documents.
In bilateral enlarged negotiations we also discussed some issues and gas pipeline transit issue. Turkmenistan can supply 30 bcm of gas via territory of Afghanistan.
The second issue is supply of electric energy. The first variant is supply of electric energy to Afghanistan and second route is possibility to transit 500 kV of electric energy via Afghanistan.
Also we have discussed the proposal on construction of railway. We also agreed in future to continue expansion and development of economic and cultural relations between two countries. Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are two neighbor friendly states. So, We will continue to develop our cultural relations.
[President of Turkmenistan highly estimated the results of meeting and wished to Afghan people development and prosperity.]
Here is the unofficial translation of the joint communiqué issued at the end of the negotiations:
[Translation of other bilateral documents signed Thursday would be presented later.]
President of Turkmenistan and President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan visited Turkmenistan on 5-6 July 2007 at the invitation of President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov of Turkmenistan.
During the visit the heads of both the states held negotiations in the atmosphere of friendship, mutual understanding and trust.
The presidents of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have exchanged oinion on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The heads of both the countries have expressed satisfaction on the present state of relations between both the countries and have noted the progressive nature their development and effective realization of bilateral contracts and agreements. Both the leaders underlined the potential for further strengthening the Turkmen-Afghan relations based on deep historical and cultural commonalities of the people.
The president of Turkmenistan has expressed support for the domestic and foreign policy of President of Afghanistan, aimed at establishment of peace and stability in the country and the region, and has emphasized active and constructive role of Afghanistan in international affairs.
The president of Afghanistan has noted that the status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan, recognized and upheld by the world community under the aegis of the UN, is a factor for strengthening peace and security on the Asian continent.
By discussing the questions of trade-economic relations, the presidents have noted the importance of interaction in this sphere and have expressed aspiration to strengthen economic partnership on the basis of principles of equality, mutual benefit and all-round interest of both the countries.
The presidents have emphasized importance of cooperation in the field of fuel and energy complex, trade and transportation. In this context great attention was paid to realization of bilateral agreements in this sphere.
The heads of state, by noting high level of cooperation in electric power industry, have emphasized the importance of further development of partnership in this sphere by development and realization of mutually advantageous projects, providing construction of new lines for transfer of electricity and power supply objects, and also increase the volume of transfer of electric energy from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan.
By emphasizing the need to tap the potential of bilateral trade, the presidents have called for increase of trade turnover between the two countries. For this purpose they have agreed to create most favourable conditions for bilateral trade activity.
With the purpose of booting the economic relations between the two countries the presidents have agreed to create joint intergovernmental Turkmen-Afghan commission for economic cooperation.
By noting the importance of development of mutual relations in the humanitarian sphere, the heads of state have confirmed mutual interest in deepening cooperation in the fields of science, education, culture, arts and sports, among the creative and sports associations. In this context Turkmenistan and Afghanistan vow to preserve and strengthen spiritual, cultural and humanitarian relations between the people of both the countries.
The presidents have agreed to charge the appropriate bodies to continue work on expansion of legal base for cooperation between the two countries and have noted the expediency of preparation of agreements on consular question, and questions related to culture, training, opening of air passenger service between Ashgabat and Kabul, automobile passenger service between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, and also on cooperation between the law enforcement bodies.
Concerning urgent questions of international importance the heads of state have emphasized mutual resolve of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to promote and strengthen peace and stability, and establish climate of trust and mutual understanding at regional and international level.
The presidents of the two states give special importance to strengthening of the central role of the United Nations in resolving the questions of international security and sustainable development, and realization of the objectives of the UN charter. The heads of state were uniform in their opinion that proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, transborder crimes and illegal movement of narcotics are among the main threats to the peace and stability on the planet and noted the necessity to further develop cooperation in struggle in these areas.
The presidents acknowledged the need for urgent consultations on bilateral questions and multilateral problems, representing mutual interest. The bilateral consultation would be carried out at various levels including the meetings of the heads of state, heads of ministries and departments of both the countries and visits of official delegations.
The president of Afghanistan has expressed sincere gratitude to the president of Turkmenistan for warm welcome and hospitality and invited him for official visit to Afghanistan. The invitation was accepted with gratitude. The terms of the visit would be coordinated through the diplomatic channels.
The president of Turkmenistan,Gurbanguly Muhamedov
The president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,Hamid Karzai
Ashgabat, 5 July 2007