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Turkmenistan and 13th ECO

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

The President of Turkmenistan H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov delivered a remarkable speech during the most recently concluded 13th Economic Organization Cooperation Summit (ECO) in Islamabad. President H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov covered all the strategic aspects of the ECO, its aims, utility, and objectives which need to be achieved through joint efforts by further promoting of trade, investments and energy cooperation in the days to come.

President of Turkmenistan H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also highlighted the salient features of its country energy policies. The President shed light on different short and long terms initiatives, policies and programs for greater energy cooperation.

During his speech the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov favoured diversification of energy resources to be utilized for the promotion socio-economic ties and integration of regional connectivity among the ECO members countries.

Turkmen leader projected the significance of its country “Permanent Neutrality” which was first presented 20 years ago in the 3rd ECO meeting of the Heads of the States and Governments of the ECO in Islamabad on March 15, 1995. Subsequently, it was unanimously adopted by the UN general Assembly on December 12, 1995.

President H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov shared that on February 2, 2017, the United Nation General Assembly also adopted the Resolution on declaration of December 12 as International Neutrality Day. The decision of the Community of Nations was the recognition of the great merit of the neutrality in provision of peace on the planet, security and stability, what in its turn meet the goals of sustainable development of all countries and peoples, careful preservation and consolidation of cultural, spiritual, and humanitarian basis of their life.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that the ECO favoured the establishment of regional dialog in accordance to long-term interests of each of the state. Turkmen Leader showed confidence that the ECO has great potential for expansion of joint activities, particularly in such important sphere as security, which is very important for the region. The Head of the State acknowledged its efficient provision in the basis of principles of unity and integrity of security. For us, the current status means that political, economic, energy, food, ecological and other securities cannot be provided separately, the Turkmen Leader continued, having mentioned that while being interrelated with each other in geo-political and geo-economic aspect, we have to form a single entity, the President added.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted the prevailing weakness in the international energy supplies system which weakened the global economy. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed relative initiative on that and relying on the support of the United Nations, steadily implements this initiative.

The Head of the State also shared his country’s another large initiative in the establishment of international legal base for reliable energy provision, which resulted in unanimous adoption of the Resolution on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy Carriers and Its Role in Provision of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2008. President pinpointed that the adoption of such important document was one of the first steps in establishment of international legal framework in global energy provision, particularly in its energy security.

During his speech the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that it is based on the principles of diversity of energy routes, expansion of their geography, involvement of more countries, which are interested in participation in international energy processes.

During his speech the Turkmen Leader highlighted the strategic importance of new gas pipelines Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China and Turkmenistan-Iran have been built and construction of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas main has started. All these projects are undertaken with participation of the ECO.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted the formation of a modern transport and communication system among priority directions of the State policy of Turkmenistan. Implementation of large-scale and long-term national programmes is aimed at consolidation of equipment and facilities base of transport sphere, establishment if relative infrastructure, which meets time requirements as well as development and training of highly professional personnel, the President added.

National programme for development of transport system of Turkmenistan is closely related with expansion of regional and international cooperation in this direction, the leader of the Nation said, having emphasized that our country initiates large infrastructural projects and implements them together with foreign partners, Turkmen Leader added.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also showcased construction of transnational railroads Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan, formation of transit transport corridors Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman, Afghanistan-Turkmenistan- Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey among these projects.

There are also other transport projects in North-South and East-West directions and their implementation and completion are directly matched with the interests of the Economic Cooperation Organization members and opens broad opportunities for cooperation with other regions in Eurasian continent the Head of Turkmenistan noted. He recommended joint efforts in this field.

Having mentioned that in December of 2014 and 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted two Resolutions dedicated to the role of transport and transit corridors in provision of international cooperation for sustainable development, the Turkmen Leader highlighted that these documents established firm legal framework for organization of the First Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat. It would be reasonable to activate cooperation in this sphere under the Economic Cooperation Organization, – the President of Turkmenistan said, having proposed to organize the meeting of the ministers of transport of the ECO states in Ashgabat in this year President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov added.

The Head of the State highlighted reconfirmed the importance of energy resources, transport and transit corridors under the ECO which stimulates realization of other infrastructural projects. In particular, the practice shows the opportunity for laying new electrical systems and other communications near the pipelines, the Head of the State highlighted.

He further shared that in December 2016 Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed trilateral document on cooperation in electrical energy sphere, which stipulated establishment of appropriate infrastructures for supply of energy from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Currently, fibre optic line is being constructed as well in trilateral format Turkmenistan- Afghanistan-Pakistan.

Talking about Afghanistan, the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov shared that 7th Regional Conference of Economic Cooperation for Afghanistan is planned to be held in Ashgabat in Ashgabat on November 14-15, 2017. The Head of the State expressed the confidence that during this forum there would be an opportunity to study in details realization of these and other projects of regional importance.

The President of Turkmenistan emphasized that achievement of peace, security and harmony in Afghanistan has always been and continues to be the main condition for the progress and advanced movement in the region. The Turkmen Leader talked about his country’s support and the efforts of fraternal Afghan people in stabilization of the situation and rehabilitation of social and economic infrastructure.

Furthermore, the Head of Turkmen State said that for many years, Turkmenistan rendered real economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan what was reflected in construction of medical and educational facilities in neighbouring country, supply of energy by beneficial price, education of Afghan students in educational institutions of our country, systematic humanitarian aid and other support.

Moreover, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov assured the participants that such systematic support would continue to be provided. The Turkmen Leader highlighted that this support is especially important in the current period of appearance of certain positive changes in internal political situation in Afghanistan.

Participation of Afghanistan in realization of large regional and international infrastructural projects is more efficient method in this direction, the head of Turkmenistan said, having made special mention that this is what we see as strategic future of Afghanistan, its role in regional and global issues and guarantee of prosperity and wellbeing of Afghan people President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov added.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that keeping in view the ongoing socio-economic trends and financial crises in the world economy there is a need to form a new development approach within the ECO. The President considered current event as important stage in the work of the ECO, especially in evaluation and analysis.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed the need not to politicize this Organization and allow deviations from its economic content as the main mechanism of cooperation between the countries trying to realize joint projects aimed at accumulation of potential and achievement of successes for common interests.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also met with Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to cooperation with Turkmenistan in energy and transport infrastructure. He also underscored the need for early operationalization of TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project.

During the meeting Pakistan already expressed willingness to join the Lapis Lazuli corridor and the Central Asia-Middle East corridor. Both countries also agreed to enhance the bilateral trade, according to a press release issued here. The Prime Minister thanked the Turkmen President for participating in the Economic Cooperation Orgaization (ECO) Summit and making valuable contributions towards its deliberations.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov congratulated the Prime Minister on the successful hosting of the Summit. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said he was pleased with the Summit’s outcome for it had identified the path for the ECO’s future progress and development.

The two leaders discussed the progress of the decisions taken during that visit and expressed satisfaction on the implementation of those decisions. The Turkmen President thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the warmth and hospitality extended to him and his delegation.

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