بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
The Honorable State Minister Myrat Archaev,
Mr. Amanov CEO and Chairman of Board TAPI Pipeline Ltd.
Mr. Ben Slay, Senior Economist UNDP, Regional Bureau of EUROPE and CIS,
Ambassador Elena Panova,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to extend our appreciation to Ambassador Elena Panova, the UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan, and Mr.Rahimberdi Jepbarov, Chairman of the State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs, for convening this important Conference and inviting me to speak in this session.
As most of us know, the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) is a natural gas pipeline, which originates in the Galkynysh Gas Field of Turkmenistan and transports natural gas through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India.
The Government of Turkmenistan started the construction of the project in December 2015, while the second phase of the project’s construction on the Afghan section began this past February. The presidents of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan’s prime minister and Indian minister of state for external affairs participated in opening the second phase of the project in a grand ceremony in Herat.
I wish to extend my gratitude’s to each of the TAPI participating countries for their support for launching the second phase, as well as to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the technical support and guidance throughout the lifetime of this major regional energy project.
And, indeed, without the vision, tireless efforts and support of His Excellency Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, TAPI would not have taken off. We remain grateful to the President for his continued leadership and support, as we and other participating countries strive to realize this much needed project.
The TAPI pipeline will not only provide our Energy-Starved region with natural gas but will also help link up our least connected region. It will create the kind of win-win interdependence in our region of immense opportunities, from which shared peace, security, and prosperity should flow.
The direct and indirect economic impact of the project on our societies is noteworthy, as more jobs for our youth will automatically deny extremist elements the opportunity to radicalize and exploit those that need a sustainable job. This is particularly true of youth in Afghanistan and Pakistan where economic growth – flowing from the implementation of regional projects like TAPI – will create social-economic facilities and opportunities for our youth.
We estimate that Afghanistan will earn approximately 450 million Dollars Per Year in transit fees from the TAPI project. We will invest these revenues in the implementation of other economic projects that create livelihoods at the provincial and districts across in areas through which the pipeline passes. With more jobs in our districts and villages, the Taliban and other terrorist groups will be deprived of their oxygen to terrorize Afghanistan and destabilize the whole region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As President Ghani, often says, Afghanistan is a natural land-bridge between Central Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. With the support of our neighbors – especially China, India, Russia, and Iran – we can and must bolster regional connectivity towards full economic integration in the foreseeable future – building on the lessons of the European Union or ASEAN.
With expanding Regional Cooperation as a vital pillar of Afghan Foreign Policy, “We want to revitalize the Silk Road and turn Afghanistan to a regional hub for connecting Central Asia to South Asia.” That is why the implementation of TAPI, TAP-500, CASA-1000, the Railway lines, fiber optic lines and other regional projects will bring us closer to realizing the benefits of our geography – spreading connectivity for shared prosperity throughout the region.
I am pleased to report here that we have made ongoing progress since the inauguration of TAPI’s second phase in Afghanistan.
- We have finalized the feasibility studies;
- The TAPI LTD opened its Branch Office in Afghanistan and operates as expected;
- On 15th February 2018, internal procedures for de-mining of the lands along the TAPI route has started in Afghanistan;
- Reclamation process of the lands where the pipeline will pass has begun; and
- An environmental survey and contracting with consultancy companies have also been launched.
With regards to the security of pipeline, please allow me to assure you that the Afghan people – including the Taliban – have demonstrated their support for the project and will collaborate with us to provide all necessary protective measures for the pipeline. We look forward to working with the participating countries to further cooperate and to ensure the security of the pipeline.
Afghanistan Government recent roadmap for PEACE and negotiations with TALIBAN, and historic EID cease-fire are the solid example of our commitment toward durable peace and development in Afghanistan and region. No doubt these developments will positively impact on the security of TAPI and other Infrastructural Projects.
To conclude, once again, I would like to thank the relevant officials of the participating countries. We know that only together we can realize this much long expected project to bear fruit – not just in energy security but in protective security terms – for all of us.