Aleksandr Lukashenko meets with Turkmenistan President 27 April

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Turkmenistan is a reliable partner of Belarus in Central Asia б President of the Republic of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in Minsk on 27 April.

Despite the parties implement a number of bilateral projects, the two heads of state see a considerable potential for stepping up Belarus-Turkmenistan cooperation and acknowledged the need to develop new forms of cooperation.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was satisfied that the bilateral cooperation advances in all areas.

Aleksandr Lukashenko told Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov he welcomed his Turkmenian counterpart in Belarus as a personal friend and as a friend of the Belarusian people.

“These are not duty words. You have done a lot for us. You have allowed taking part in state and private programs of your country. It helped us keep our industrial enterprises operating at full capacity,” the Belarusian head of state said . Aleksandr Lukashenko said Belarus exports a lot of agricultural machines and tractors to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is interested in working together with BelAZ. Belarus is taking part in the construction of a mining and processing factory to make potash fertilizers in Turkmenistan. There are also close contacts in science, technology, culture, sport, and education.

“In short, cooperation goes on in all areas, including culture and sports,” said the Belarusian head of state. “Over the years of your presidency we did more than in the history of relations between Belarus and Turkmenistan,” Aleksandr Lukashenko told Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. “We know that you choose Belarusians, other conditions being equal,” the head of state added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for his kind attitude towards Belarus. “I thank you for keeping your word. We agreed to control our relations at the top level and with this in mind you have arrived in Belarus to resolve the problems that exist in our relations,” the President of Belarus said.

The Turkmenistan President thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for the invitation to visit Belarus. He reminded that last year the President of Belarus paid an official visit to Turkmenistan. During that visit the parties drew up plans to promote cooperation in the political, trade and economic and humanitarian fields.

“We have similar views on the political agenda. You always support us on the international arena,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.

The Turkmenistan President noted that good trends can be observed in Belarus-Turkmenistan trade and economic cooperation; the increasing bilateral trade is a testimony to that. “We use Belarusian tractors and farm machines and will continue doing that,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.

He expressed hope that the visit will give a boost to the further development of the bilateral relations.

After one-on-one negotiations the presidents joined members of the delegations.

“The joint efforts we have exercised recently have enabled us to achieve concrete and tangible results of the bilateral cooperation: the political dialogue has grown stronger along with trade, economic and humanitarian ties,” the Belarusian leader said . Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked at present Turkmenistan is a truly strategic partner for Belarus.

He believes that Belarus and Turkmenistan have a considerable potential to boost economic cooperation.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that Belarus-Turkmenistan trade went up five times in the last four years to exceed $200 million in 2011. In Q1 2012 trade turnover is expected to exceed $320 million. Thus, Belarus-Turkmenistan trade will beat the record of the previous five years.

“We should continue working together to preserve and advance the level of economic relations,” stressed the Belarusian leader.

Belarus runs a variety of projects in Turkmenistan, supplies farm machines, municipal and passenger vehicles to this country, constructs the mining and processing complex there, provides training to Turkmen students in Belarusian universities, cultivates close ties in education, sport and tourism.

The President of Belarus believes that the project to build the Garlyk mining and processing factory will be the key one in the bilateral relations. According to the Belarusian head of state, the two countries pay close attention to the project, including the presidents. “The project has been given a green light, with all emerging issues dealt with swiftly. I am confident that in 2014 – early 2015 we will be able to open the first installation of the potash industry of Turkmenistan but it will not be the last one,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said .

Another important area of bilateral cooperation is the delivery of Belarusian machinery to Turkmenistan.

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov have agreed on supplies of Belarusian farm machines, road construction machinery and municipal vehicles to Turkmenistan. Belarus will provide after-sale service for its machines during the entire warranty period and will keep supplying spare parts to machines within 10 years after the production of these machines is discontinued. Besides, Belarus will teach Turkmenistan specialists how to operate and provide maintenance service to these machines.

Belarus also suggests setting up an educational establishment for mid-tier personnel in Turkmenistan. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that such a facility will help the country deal with a staff shortage for an ore mining plant which is under construction in the Lebap Province. According to the Belarusian leader, the education ministries of the two countries are working on the relevant proposals.

“Human dimension is one of the main aspects of our partnership. Our every bilateral meeting completes with some joint decisions in the education sector,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. This year nearly 6,000 Turkmen citizens study in the different regions of Belarus. Of them about 200 people are trained to work at the Garlyk mining and processing complex. “Belarus is our key partner in education,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said.

According to the Belarusian leader, cooperation in this sector creates a long-term foundation for bilateral relations.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined Belarus is ready to take an active part in joint projects, including those to create a powerful modern manufacturing potential of Turkmenistan.

“The trusting level of our relations allows effectively implementing our arrangements and vigorously shaping new avenues of cooperation,” the Belarusian head of state believes .

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited Belarus to partake in the implementation of the social and economic development programs of Turkmenistan for 2012-2016. In line with the program the country is set to attach special attention to its agriculture, urban infrastructure and roads. “I would like our Belarusian friends have an opportunity to take part in these events and enhance their investment potential,” the President of Turkmenistan stressed.

Today there are 15 companies with the Belarusian capital in Turkmenistan. Belarus is partaking in 13 investment projects in Turkmenistan with the total sum of $1.123 billion.

The program also envisages development of high-tech productions. “This is exactly what is well-developed in your country,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed Turkmenistan is interested in buying quality Belarusian agricultural, road, construction, and municipal machines. He said: “We buy a lot of machines in Belarus. They have proved to be quality ones and therefore we will continue buying your products in the future”. Besides, Turkmenistan buys Belarusian machine tools, equipment, construction materials, food, and medications.

Belarus and Turkmenistan are going to set up a business cooperation council. This will lead to a broader involvement of businessmen, small to medium-size business, into joint projects.

Aleksandr Lukashenko informed that the parties analyzed the state of the bilateral relations and implementation of the agreements reached during the previous meetings.

The heads of state were glad to acknowledge that the bilateral cooperation is gaining momentum in all the fields. According to the Belarusian President, this is in many ways attributed to the personal contribution of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. “Our countries have much in common: we take care of ordinary citizens, understand what matters most, and are determined to defend our interests on the international arena,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President of Belarus drew particular attention to the active collaboration of the two countries in international organizations. “We have no disagreements there. We always support our Turkmen friends; they also uphold Belarus’ initiatives,” the Belarusian head of state said.

“We have a similar stance on the international agenda. Turkmenistan is a neutral country, it puts forward its initiatives under the aegis of the UN and gets constant support of Belarus,” Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said. Talking about politics, he reminded that Belarus upheld Turkmenistan’s membership in the Economic and Social Council in 2013-2015.

Aleksandr Lukashenko thanked his Turkmenistan counterpart for serious attitude to all the bilateral initiatives. He underlined that Belarus is ready to share its achievements. “We have absolutely no secrets from the people of Turkmenistan. Because you do the same. We would be glad to share with you any best practices in any field,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.

The Belarus President also praised recently expanded bilateral relations in the economic and humanitarian areas. In his words, the two countries have paved the way to signing a big package of documents which are to define new parameters for fruitful cooperation for the years ahead.

“I am absolutely confident in successful implementation of our joint projects,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Following the negotiations the heads of state signed a joined communiqué which pointed out positive changes in mutual relations. Belarus and Turkmenistan are going to take advantage of new forms of economic cooperation. In particular, the parties are set to implement joint projects in the manufacturing industry and infrastructure involving investments and modern technologies

Aleksandr Lukashenko and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov have stated their intention to help ensure effective implementation of the arrangements for the sake of future progressive development of the traditionally friendly relations between Belarus and Turkmenistan on the basis of mutually beneficial equal partnership.

A large package of documents was signed at the meeting of the two presidents. These include cooperation agreements in education, science, construction, law, and agriculture.

The parties signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement in geodesy, cartography, Earth remote sensing, and education. The agreement on scientific and technical cooperation was concluded by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (NASB) and the National Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, the NASB Center of Geophysical Monitoring and the Seismology Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan, as well as the Belarusian University of Informatics and Radioelectronics and the Turkmen State Institute of Transport and Communication.

Interagency agreements were signed in industrial, housing and social construction, and agriculture.

The justice ministries of Belarus and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding.

Besides, the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkmenistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed an agreement to establish a Business Cooperation Council.

An agreement on academic exchange was signed by the medical universities of Belarus and Turkmenistan. The Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of Belarus and the Academy of Civil Service under the aegis of the President of Turkmenistan also agreed on cooperation.

The parties signed a protocol to the intergovernmental agreement on mutual allocation of land plots for the Embassy of Belarus and the Embassy of Turkmenistan as of 28 April 2011.

The presidents emphasized that the talks were held in a friendly and trust-based manner and expressed hope that they will contribute to further development of bilateral relations.