Official visit to Turkmenistan

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Belarus and Turkmenistan should keep up high cooperation standards. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during expanded-participation negotiations with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on 10 December.

“Our countries have secured truly noticeable accomplishments in cooperation over a short period of time. We should keep up these standards,” stressed the Belarus President.

The Belarusian head of state said that there has been a certain decline in bilateral trade. The President of Belarus stressed that it is needed to raise the trade turnover because it is a good foundation of bilateral relations. “We are determined to restore these trade and economic relations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“We admit that the trade turnover has dropped. Just like in the rest of the world prices for raw materials and ready-made products have dropped,” noted the head of state. “In natural terms Belarus’ trade turnover has stayed the same and has even grown virtually with all countries, however, trade figures have shrunk in cost terms. But we have enough potential in order to reach and surpass the highest level of trade turnover that we’ve had in cost terms.”

In his opinion, Belarus and Turkmenistan have prerequisites for expanding the range of trade and economic cooperation. He added that Belarus is ready to cooperate with Turkmenistan in a wide range of fields ranging from the military-industrial complex to the personnel training.

In particular, Belarus is ready to considerably expand the range of products supplied to Turkmenistan. Belarusian buses, various kinds of harvesters and other agricultural machines are being tested in Turkmenistan now. It will allow adapting them to climatic and operational conditions.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that Turkmenistan could use freight wagons, railway equipment, and elevators. Aleksandr Lukashenko said he believes that even the future mining and processing factory would need hundreds or even several thousands of wagons for transporting potash fertilizers. “We should offer these options to Turkmenistan today,” he stressed. The Belarus government was instructed to work on these cooperation variants and other ones. “I think we could take a look at neighboring Iran, too,” said the Belarusian head of state. “We have the relevant capacity. It is just necessary to work harder to step up cooperation.”

Belarus is ready to take an active part in large-scale projects meant to modernize Turkmenistan’s economy. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited the Belarusian side to consider the possibility of taking part in such projects. “If you find your place in the projects, I would only welcome it,” he said. Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed the Belarusian part of the intergovernmental commission to take a closer look at this area of cooperation.

Belarus is ready to help industrialize the country by supplying modern agricultural machines, automobiles, road construction machines, municipal vehicles and passenger vehicles, noted the Belarusian leader.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that there are good prospects in agricultural cooperation. The Belarusian side should pay special attention not only to the delivery of tractors and farm equipment, but also to the provision of technologies. “Turkmenistan may use some Belarusian practices or maybe Belarus could learn something from Turkmenistan,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The Belarusian head of state noted that the construction of the potash mining and processing factory in the town of Garlyk remains the most important area of joint work. He added that less than a year was left till the factory is commissioned. The most difficult periods of the project are already over: the mines were flooded and frozen. “In the near future we are going to mine the potash that the region and Turkmenistan need so much. We will rejoice at the factory’s launch,” said the Belarusian leader.

“For Belarus Turkmenistan is one of the most important strategic partners in Central Asia. Belarus and Turkmenistan are connected by genuinely friendly ties,” the Belarusian leader said.

In his words, the fact is confirmed by productive cooperation on the bilateral basis and the multilateral one. “Just like Turkmenistan our country aims for mutual respect and equal cooperation with any partners without an exception. Belarus believes that the existing problems and conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means,” noted the Belarusian head of state.

He stressed that there are absolutely no political problems between Belarus and Turkmenistan. “With satisfaction we note the similarity of approaches to a broad range of international and regional matters. Belarus intends to intensify contacts with Turkmenistan in international organizations as well as further constructive interaction within the framework of the United Nations Organization and the joint promotion of initiatives of mutual interest,” said the Belarusian leader.

Cooperation in humanitarian affairs is an important area. The number of Turkmenistan citizens willing to study in Belarus has increased rapidly over the last few years. At present over 9,000 students from Turkmenistan study in Belarus. The Belarusian side intends to continue training highly qualified specialists.

Besides, the two countries have made some headway in the sphere of science and technologies. There is also mutual interest in advancing cooperation in the area of agribusiness. Cooperation in healthcare is a promising avenue. Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that he expects the trading houses located in Ashgabat and Minsk to make an essential contribution to the bilateral trade turnover.

In his opinion, the development of bilateral contacts is assisted by active contacts in cultural affairs. The ongoing Belarusian Culture Days in Turkmenistan is a vivid testimony.

The heads of state discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations during the one-on-one meeting. After that they met with the delegations. They stressed that the negotiations had been productive and substantive. The sides had noted the positive and fruitful nature of Belarusian-Turkmen contacts, which will be continued without a doubt.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that he visits Ashgabat in the run-up to an important date for Turkmenistan – the 20th anniversary of acquiring the status of permanent neutrality. He thanked for the invitation to take part in the conference which will bring together the heads of state of the region, outstanding political figures from other countries. The Belarusian head of state noted that the topic of the conference “The policy of neutrality: international cooperation in the name of peace, security and development” illustrates the main focus of the Belarusian foreign policy.

“There is no stability without peace and security. This is a topical issue today. There are many fires of conflicts, clashes and even wars around us. As I said in my speech at the UN, God forbid if we live till the day when all that turns into a large-scale war. This is a very important context of the talk,” the Belarusian head of state believes.

“I would like praise the similarity of our approaches to the state construction. We both think that the state should be socially oriented. The wellbeing of people is the most important principle. People are the main priority for Belarus and Turkmenistan,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

After the talks in Ashgabat Belarus and Turkmenistan signed a package of documents. In particular, the two countries have signed a roadmap of cooperation for 2016-2017. The roadmap is a plan of joint actions to promote cooperation of the states.

The leaders of the two countries have made a joint statement about the deepening of relations, friendship and cooperation between Belarus and Turkmenistan.

An intergovernmental agreement on the mutual assistance and protection investments, the program of cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs for 2016-2017 have been signed as well. Besides, Belarus and Turkmenistan have signed documents on cooperation in the food and light industry, between the academies of sciences of the two countries, entrepreneurs, and regional authorities.

“I am convinced that the agreements reached during the top-level meetings and the documents that were signed will contribute to the enhancement of the favorable atmosphere of our cooperation, to the expansion of the legal base of the interstate relations,” The Belarus President emphasized.