Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani signed an agreement on a strategic partnership aimed at elevating the relations between the neighboring countries of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the new levels. The document was inked during the official visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Ashgabat on Thursday.
The two leaders discussed the progress in the implementation of the previously reached agreements before the governments of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan signed bilateral documents related to the cooperation in energy, customs, railways and airways sectors.
The importance of the participation of the two countries in the Lapis Lazuli corridor, an international transit route opened in 2018 linking Afghanistan to Turkey via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, was highlighted during the meeting. The sides expressed their support for the proposal on holding a meeting between the ministers of transport and heads of customs authorities of the states involved in the project. The meeting is scheduled for May 2019.
According to the Joint Statement released after the bilateral talks, the President of Turkmenistan expressed his readiness for the continued assistance in securing peace and sustainable development in Afghanistan and reiterated Turkmenistan’s respect for the Afghan people’s choices in terms of political, social and economic developments in their country.
The President of Afghanistan noted that the policy pursued by the President of Turkmenistan was a significant contribution towards strengthening regional stability and security, and ensuring the sustainable socio-economic development of the countries in the region.
The sides expressed satisfaction with the progress on the construction of the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) pipeline, the power lines and fiber-optic communication means along the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan (TAP) route, and reiterated their readiness to extend full assistance to continued efforts in this field.
The leaders of the two states also expressed mutual interest in expanding trade-economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation.
“This meeting has proven stable character of the relations based on the principles of goodwill, fraternity, mutual respect and equal rights,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said at the press conference following the talks.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani invited the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to pay a reciprocal visit to Afghanistan at a convenient date to be agreed on through diplomatic channels.