President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in a telephone conversation with President of the European Council Charles Michel on Sunday said Turkmenistan, in political aspect, supports the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan only by peaceful, political and diplomatic means and methods.
During the conversation, confirming the serious focus of Turkmenistan on further expanding cooperation with the European Union, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said today the country faces urgent tasks of building up partnership interaction, the official media of Turkmenistan reports.
Referring to the practical activities carried out by Turkmenistan during the current complex situation in Afghanistan, the Head of State emphasized that the country is taking concrete steps to continue the Turkmen-Afghan economic cooperation and humanitarian support needed for the Afghan people.
In particular, Turkmenistan continues to supply electricity to the neighboring state in accordance with existing contracts. Turkmen electricity is supplied to Afghanistan in several directions, allowing provision of electricity to almost all of its northern provinces, its western and northwestern regions.
Ashgabat also ensures the smooth operation of its checkpoints on the Turkmen-Afghan border. Regular contacts are being carried out on issues of ensuring the protection of the state border, customs, sanitary, phytosanitary and other types of control and supervision for cross-border movement of goods, according to the report.
Touching upon the impact of the situation in Afghanistan on Central Asia, the Turkmen Leader stressed that Turkmenistan is located in a geopolitically difficult region. At the same time, the neutral status allowed the country over the years of its independence to keep the line on creating conditions for a stable political dialogue in the region, creating a climate of trustful political and diplomatic interaction.
Returning to the difficult times in the history of neighboring Afghanistan, when from 1996 to 2001 Taliban controlled the 90% of the territory of the country, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said, Turkmenistan continued to provide economic and humanitarian support to the people of this country. The consulates of Turkmenistan in Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat at that time continued their operation, performing their functions of providing consular services to the population of Afghanistan.
Despite the difficult internal political situation in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan hosted four rounds of talks in Ashgabat in 1999-2000 between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, which was headed by Ahmad Shah Massoud at that time. The organization of these negotiations took place with the participation of UN representatives, the Head of State said, stressing that then both sides recognized the effectiveness of the consultations.
Summarizing the above-mentioned statements, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed his belief that further developments will undoubtedly depend on the level of interaction of the new authorities with the countries of Central Asia and other states.
Speaking about the position of Turkmenistan on this issue, the Turkmen Leader noted that in the current difficult epidemiological conditions, it is necessary to make sensible decisions on the admission of refugees and, along with other aspects of humanitarian issues, first of all, the risks of a large-scale spread of coronavirus infection should be seriously assessed.
During the telephone conversation, special attention was focused on the fact that, in fulfilling its international obligations, including those arising from the norms of international humanitarian law, Turkmenistan provides its airspace to ensure the smooth evacuation from Afghanistan of citizens of a number of countries, including European states. In this regard, the Turkmen President informed the EC President that, starting from August 15 this year, dozens of overflight permits have been granted to aircrafts evacuating citizens from Afghanistan, noting that this work will continue in the future.
In turn, President Charles Michel stressed the importance and timeliness of the international initiatives put forward by the Head of Turkmenistan aimed at ensuring global security, stability and creating conditions for sustainable development in Central Asia, stating that the European Union supports the progressive foreign policy and creative initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Thanking the EC President for an open and constructive dialogue on issues of concern to the entire international community today, the Turkmen Leader expressed Turkmenistan's readiness to consolidate joint efforts for the further peaceful and stable development of the region.