As it was reported earlier, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov paid an official visit to Turkmenistan on October 23-24 at the invitation of President Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov.
The major events of the visit took place October 24. Following an official ceremony of welcoming the guest delegation, the heads of two states held a meeting in a contracted format.
The Uzbek and Turkmen peoples share a common history, similar cultures and values, languages and traditions. The scientific, spiritual-cultural and literary heritage of our ancestors is the joint wealth of the two nations. It can be said without any exaggeration that Alisher Navoi’s works are read and studied in Turkmenistan with a keen interest, while the masterpieces of Makhtumkuli enjoy a matching popularity in Uzbekistan.
The relations between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are advancing today at a considerable pace. In this regard, the friendship, the confidence-based and earnest bonds between the leaders of our two countries carry a vital significance.
Meetings at the highest level have been regular, which speaks of the elevated nature of interstate relations.
The current Ashgabat summit of the heads of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan has been a logical extension of the prolific and proactive dialogue.
Held in the spirit of openness and mutual trust, the meeting of the two presidents served to discuss cooperation issues, and it was stressed during the talks that the two nations have common interests and shared willingness to build up the multifaceted interaction. Our two countries, it was pointed out, wield enormous potential and capacities to meet those ends.
Presidents Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov exchanged views on regional and international issues and underscored that the visions and positions of the two sides on these matters are similar or identical.
That is brightly manifest in the attitude toward the crisis in Afghanistan. As close neighbors of that country, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been running a number of projects in Afghanistan designed to construct railways and bridges, restore the vital infrastructure facilities, supply electricity and other products. Our two nations thus are making a remarkable input into the establishment of peace and harmony in Afghanistan.
Today, amid a speedily changing situation in various regions of the world, when the developments are barely predictable, when aggression and violence are gaining in popularity, the community of positions of the heads of state on issues pertinent to providing for political, economic, social and environmental security acquire particular importance.
Islam Karimov and Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov paid a special attention to matters related to the use of water resources in the region. As it was noted, when addressing the water and energy issues, including the construction of major hydroelectric facilities on trans-border rivers, it is essential to comply with international norms defined in the United Nations conventions and to conduct independent international expertise of such projects.
The two presidents agreed to continue with regular meetings at the highest level in order to bolster the strategy of bilateral cooperation, the mutual coordination of postures and views on pressing issues of regional and international nature.
During the negotiations in an extended format, the two parties deliberated on the further development of trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian interaction.
The volume of bilateral trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan amounted to 353.9 million US dollars in 2013, while in January-August this year it reached 246 million dollars. Nonetheless, as it was underlined, the two sides have an even greater potential on this front.
The heads of two states stressed the expediency of elaboration of effective measures and mechanisms by the Uzbek-Turkmen intergovernmental commission for trade-economic, scientific-technical and cultural cooperation to boost the trade volumes and enhance investment collaboration.
Transport communications constitute a priority dimension in the economic cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. The motor and rail roads of our two countries, making up a well integrated system, serve as a transit complex for not only Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but also for third countries.
The two nations have been promoting interaction in transport communications both in the bilateral and multilateral basis. Notably, the agreement on the construction of a new international transport and communications corridor Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman, signed in 2011, is a practical embodiment of an initiative by President Islam Karimov and has a vital geo-strategic significance.
To make this idea a reality implies to allow for the connection of Central Asian nations with economically dynamic ports in the Middle East. That promises to open up opportunities for cooperation in customs, freight transportation and transit by automobile, rail and sea vehicles.
It is noteworthy that joint projects are going to afford a new impetus to the advancement of investment interaction.
As experts have suggested, the full-fledged implementation of the project is to raise the willingness of other countries to make use of this corridor, which will bolster its appeal.
Another priority dimension of economic bonds is the energy sector.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan boast large reserves of hydrocarbon resources, yet neither country has a direct access to world markets. In circumstances as such, coordination of actions yields practical effects. Rather telling in this regard is what has been a successful project of the transnational natural gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China that allows our countries to diversify the geography of gas exports.
The talks also served to discuss issues related to increasing the number of joint ventures and representation offices of national companies and firms. The two sides reached agreement on the steadfast continuation of national expositions that help the potential of the two countries and open new opportunities for direct contacts among entrepreneurs.
The cooperation between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan has been consistent also in the cultural-humanitarian sphere. As part of cooperation program for 2014-2016, culture and art figures of the two countries have been active in diverse concerts, festivals, exhibitions and forums organized in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
In accordance with agreements reached, the two sides vow to continue with exchanging information on the cultural events and sporting competitions held in both countries, with providing for active participation of representatives of cultural and artistic spheres and sportspeople in them. Efforts are to continue with the organization of art exhibitions, handicraft fairs, art tours of music and theatrical groups.
It was noted during the talks that the two nations wield extensive opportunities in tourism. The two sides agreed to boost ties in this sphere by organizing combined travels within the tourist project “The Great Silk Road”. Put it another way, the tourists who arrived in Uzbekistan can return home via Turkmenistan and vice versa. A foundation is to be created for the enhancement of cooperation between the national air companies.
Concluding the negotiations, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov and the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov signed a joint declaration. Other documents were inked on the supply of modern agricultural machinery, on interaction between the foreign affairs ministries and trade and industry chambers, on cooperation in environmental protection.
During the meeting with mass media, the heads of two states stressed that the current visit became a continuation of the fruitful dialogue at the highest level built on mutual respect, confidence and interestedness, and that it offered a good opportunity to discuss pressing issues in the evolution of relations and exchange views on matters of regional and international significance. It was noted that the talks took place in the spirit of openness, mutual understanding and harmony, and that the penned documents will facilitate the further advancement of multifaceted friendly bonds in the name of interests of peoples of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
The major events of the summit meeting were followed by an awards ceremony. For outstanding service toward the consolidation of friendly and cultural ties between the Uzbek and Turkmen peoples, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has been awarded the Makhtumkuli International Prize of Turkmenistan. For remarkable service in the comprehensive reinforcement of friendship and neighborly relations between the Uzbek and Turkmen peoples, in the development of mutually advantageous and productive ties, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov has been awarded the Mustaqillik Order of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Later the day, President Islam Karimov traveled to the memorial complex "Halk Hakydasy” (National Memory). The head of our state paid tribute to the memory of those fallen during the Second World War and the Goektepa Battle (1880-1881), the victims of Ashgabat earthquake (1948), and laid wreath to the monument. Islam Karimov reviewed the exhibits of the museum witnessing those events. Uzbekistan’s leader then left a memo in the Book of Honorable Guests.
The Ashgabat talks and the reached agreements confirmed once again that Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have been confidently walking their path toward progress in the mutually beneficial cooperation.