President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani warmly welcomed this morning President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan and the high-ranking delegation that accompanied him in an official ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Following the ceremony and meetings, the two leaders appeared in a joint press conference.
Welcoming the President of Turkmenistan and his accompanying delegation, President Ghani said that Turkmenistan is a good friend, neighbor, social and economic partner of Afghanistan as well as a key contributor to security, stability and peace in the region.
The President said that the visit by President of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan heralds good news for the manufacturers and exporters of rugs in Afghanistan noting that 1.6 million Afghans, mostly women, are involved in the carpet making industry.
President Ghani said that President Berdymuhamedov has instructed his country’s Ministry of Carpets and the Academy of Sciences to further expand cooperation with Afghanistan and highlight the role of rugs in the cultural heritage of both countries.
The President said that the plan for transferring electricity to Pakistan via Afghanistan was also discussed and hoped that it will pave the ground for further regional cooperation in the future. President Ghani stated that an agreement on a preliminary framework for importing oil and gas has been reached, and that the pipeline of Turkmenistan will get extended to Aqina port soon.
The President hoped that the businessmen of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan will have the opportunity to hold different exhibitions, especially of carpet in the country.
Concerning the agreement between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan on extension of the pipeline, the President said that the Project is transitioning from planning to implementation. The President said that the project will get implemented according to the initial plan and that the main route of this pipeline remains unchanged. The President hoped that the project bring good results in the areas of agriculture, industry and commerce for the people of both countries.
The President said that construction of the railway network to Aqina Port will get completed by February 2016 and that the government of Turkmenistan will conduct a feasibility study for extension to Andkhoy.
Stressing the importance of transit cooperation among Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey, President Ghani said that every step that we take in that direction is in fact an act in reviving the Silke Route.
President Ghani said that both Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are committed to having the border between the two countries rise to become a model for peace, cooperation, coexistence, good livelihood and neighborly relations in the region.
In his opening remarks, President Berdymuhamedov thanked President Ghani and people of Afghanistan for their hospitality and said that he had productive and constructive visit with President Ghani. He stated that Turkmenistan is committed to fulfilling its pledges and is ready to deepen and expand relations with Afghanistan.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that Afghanistan and Turkmenistan plan to cooperate on ensuring peace and stability, addressing social, economic and humanitarian issues, and in countering narco-trafficking and terrorism. He said that Turkmenistan is willing to cooperate in the Istanbul Process and looks forward to hosting its next meeting.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that his government is willing to implement big projects in areas of energy and transport. He stated that construction work on Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India pipeline will start in the current Gregorian calendar year (2015) and thanked President Ghani for his valuable input. President Berdimuhamedov also expected the construction work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railway project be completed on schedule.
President Berdimuhamedov said that his government will continue to train specialists in different sectors and increase the export of electricity and expand trade between the two countries.
President Berdimuhamedov invited President Ghani to attend the 20th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality next September 12. President Ghani thanked President Berdimuhamedov in accepting the invitation.
The two sides then signed a joint statement as well as five agreements and memorandums of understanding as follows:
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed the joint statement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
Ministers of Finance of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, Mohammad Eklil Hakimi and Mohammad Quli Mohammaduv signed the Memorandums of Understanding on Cooperation in Countering Money Laundering, Income Generated Through Illegal Trade and Financing Terrorism as well as the Agreement on Economic and Commercial Cooperation Between the Joint Intergovernmental Commission of the two countries.
Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water Ali Ahmad Usmani and Turkmenistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shah Mohammad Dur Duliuv signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Further Enhancement of Cooperation in the Energy Sector.
Afghanistan’s Director of Sports Jan Ali Hassani and Turkmenistan’s State Sports Committee Director Kaka Bai Saiduv signed MoU on sports.
Afghanistan’s Deputy and Acting Director of Academy of Sciences Dr. Najmuddin Tarrin and Turkmenistan’s Director of Academy of Sciences Qurban Murad Meziluv signed the agreement of Science and Technology Cooperation.
In the afternoon, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also met with representatives of Afghanistan’s Turkmen community in Kabul.