Official visit of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Belarus
Belarus and Turkmenistan have agreed to enhance bilateral ties and determined new mutually beneficial avenues for cooperation in the roadmap. This is the result of the negotiations between President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in Minsk on 8 October.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that it is a pleasure for him to meet Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for several reasons. “First of all, you are our friend. Secondly, such meetings greatly contribute to the development of our trade, economic, and political cooperation,” the Belarus President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that there are no serious problems in the relations between the two countries. Even if there are some shortcomings, they are usually settled before high-level visits, the he said.
Belarus and Turkmenistan have created a unique cooperation formula based on the annual exchange of visits by the leaders. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus tries to build its relations with other countries on the same principles. Such an approach has already had effect: over a short period of time the trade between the two countries has reached almost $0.5 billion, and Turkmenistan is the fourth largest trade partner of Belarus among the CIS countries after Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. “All that we have today has been achieved over the last five years. I am grateful to you for this, for your responsiveness, and for the effectiveness of our cooperation,” the Belarus President said addressing his Turkmen counterpart.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov believes that Belarus and Turkmenistan have good cooperation prospects, for example, in machine building, metallurgical industry, chemical industry, food manufacturing, and agriculture. He thanked Belarus for the support in the international arena and for the cooperation in education. “Our young citizens want to study in your country. If you let us increase the number of those who can come to Belarus for education, we will be grateful,” the Turkmenistan President said. He also emphasized the importance of cooperation in science, culture, and sport.
Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested new mutually beneficial avenues of cooperation to Turkmenistan.
In particular, the Belarusian side is ready to supply Belarusian harvesters, passenger buses, railway freight cars to Turkmenistan. “I am confident that the Belarusian vehicles, which are being tested in complicated climatic conditions of Turkmenistan, will prove their ability and we will sign mutually beneficial contracts,” the Belarusian head of state remarked.
In his words, vigorous cooperation between the Belarusian company Fidmash and Turkmen oil and gas processing concerns opens up new prospects in the mining and chemical industries.
The large-scale housing construction effort in Turkmenistan could use construction materials and lifts. These positions are also interesting for Belarus, stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.
According to the Belarusian leader, the establishment of a joint venture to make uniforms for Turkmen power-wielding agencies could be a pilot project in the light industry. With this in mind the Belarusian side suggested signing an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in this sphere in order to create the relevant legal framework.
“Certainly, we should bear in mind the conventionally developed ties — future shipments of Belarusian trucks and tractors,” the Belarusian head of state noted.
“The development of new avenues of interaction taking into account Turkmenistan’s policy in favor of the accelerated modernization of the production sector creates a real base for the future expansion of the mutual trade,” said the Belarus President. With this goal in mind Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested that co-chairpersons of the Belarusian-Turkmen intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation should develop a roadmap that will take care of a wide range of bilateral cooperation avenues.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that there is mutual interest in matters other than pure trade. The project to build the Garlyk mining and processing factory remains the key one in the bilateral relations. The President stressed that the Belarusian side prioritizes quality fulfillment of its obligations.
Belarusian economic operators are also ready to take an active part in the implementation of projects in the area of transport communications construction and logistics development in Turkmenistan.
The Belarusian President mentioned the expansion of contacts in the sphere of science. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he was confident that the research products that Belarusian scientists offer will be of interest for government agencies of Turkmenistan. “As you know, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus is in negotiations on the possibility of shipping multifunctional unmanned aerial vehicle systems to Turkmenistan,” said the Belarusian leader. “Taking into account our friendly relations we are ready to start the joint production of unmanned aerial vehicles in Turkmenistan in the future apart from shipping them”.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus is ready to train more students from Turkmenistan and provide accommodation for them. “The Turkmen side would like to expand the presence of its students here particularly in view of the events in Ukraine. We have to do as much as we can,” the Belarusian leader said.
The Belarusian side suggested allocating land possibly in the student village for the sake of building a hall of residence for students from Turkmenistan and sport facilities nearby. The presidents agreed that a relevant project will be developed. The project’s implementation will start after the new premises of the Turkmen embassy in Minsk are built.
Aleksandr Lukashenko suggested implementing a similar project for the scientific circles taking into account the vigorous development of cooperation between the two countries in science. According to the Belarus President, a small hotel may be built on premises of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.
The Belarusian head of state pointed out that humanitarian cooperation particularly in the sphere of education and culture is an important aspect of the bilateral interaction. According to the Belarusian head of state, the fact that there are nearly 9,000 students from Turkmenistan in Belarusian universities is a convincing confirmation of the fruitful work in the area of education. “It testifies to the trust in the Belarusian education system’s ability to train highly qualified personnel for your dynamically developing country,” the Belarusian leader said.
After the negotiations the sides signed 14 documents to expand industrial, humanitarian and regional cooperation. In particular, the heads of state also signed a joint statement that remarks upon the importance of developing and advancing the political dialogue between the two countries, the enhancement of interparliamentary ties, trade and economic relations, and the expansion of the legal base of bilateral cooperation. The heads of state also signed the agreement on trade and economic cooperation in the delivery of Belarusian agricultural, automobile, road construction, municipal and passenger equipment.
A memorandum of understanding between the governments of the two countries on the main principles of cooperation in the area of transport was signed as well as an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the prevention of emergencies and the alleviation of their consequences.
The two governments also adopted a program for cooperation in culture and art in 2015-2016.
The agreements on friendly relations and cooperation were signed by the cities of Minsk and Ashgabat, the administrations of Minsk Oblast and LebapProvince.
The NationalCenter for Marketing and Price Studies of Belarus and the institute in charge of studying trade in national products of Turkmenistan agreed to advance cooperation. The History Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus and the History Institute of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan will do the same.
Apart from that, a number of universities signed cooperation agreements.
The two presidents believe these documents will greatly enhance the legal base of the bilateral relations between Belarus and Turkmenistan. The legal base represents a reliable foundation for the comprehensive development of interaction between the two countries, for the effective usage of their potential for the benefit of the two nations.
To sum the negotiations Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “For Belarus Turkmenistan is a strategic partner in Central Asia. I am convinced that the arrangements made today and the documents that have been signed will help bolster the favorable atmosphere of our cooperation, the expansion of the legal base of the interstate relations.”
President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov laid a time capsule with a message to descendents at the foundation of Turkmenistan’s Embassy in Minsk.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that it symbolizes a new advanced stage in cooperation between Belarus and Turkmenistan. “We launch the construction of the complex of buildings of Turkmenistan’s Embassy in Belarus. By doing so we prove that we are confident in the long-term character of our cooperation, eagerness to develop and enhance it,” the Belarusian leader said.
The Belarusian head of state noted that since the establishment of bilateral relations the two countries have promoted ties and have become strategic partners. “We are connected by mutual economic interests, similarity of approaches on many issues of the foreign and domestic policies, friendly relations between our hardworking peoples,” the Belarusian President said. In his words, Belarus and Turkmenistan organize regular meetings at the highest level, maintain sustainable contacts at the level of governments, ministries and companies, have developed a formidable legal framework of bilateral relations. Over the past five years the bilateral trade increased 4.5 times. Belarus and Turkmenistan implement a large-scale project to build the Garlyk mining and processing factory. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the countries made a huge progress in the scientific, technical and humanitarian cooperation, expanded the geography of inter-regional ties, enhance contacts between the business circles of Belarus and Turkmenistan. “All that is an eloquent testimony to the versatility of our partnership,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
The opening of the Turkmen Embassy in Minsk will create new opportunities for ramping up partnership. The embassy will become a home of friendship and a place for productive meetings, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I am convinced that in the near future we will attend the solemn ceremony to open the new facility which will enrich the architectural look of the Belarusian capital,” he said. The Belarusian head of state assured his Turkmen counterpart that the Belarusian side will do its best to support the construction project.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov remarked that the new building of the embassy will be the place where Belarusians will be able to learn more about the culture and art of Turkmenistan, meet with scientists and intellectuals. “I am convinced that the building will rely on a solid foundation of friendship and understanding, and that its doors will be always open for friends and partners,” the President of Turkmenistan emphasized.