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Kabul- Ashgabad signed five MoUs on economy, energy, science and sports

“Turkmen President says his government wants to launch some mega projects in the fields of energy and railway construction”

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: In response to the invitation by the Afghan government, the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, arrived in Kabul on Thursday along with key delegates. The two sides signed five Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on areas including economy, science and education, and sports.

The Ministries of Finance, Energy and Water of the two countries signed the MoUs on power supply export, fight against terrorism and formation of a joint commission for the extension of trade and economic ties. In a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart, the President of Turkmenistan, talked about how the two neighboring countries will expand their bilateral relations in the areas of security and peace, economy, and counter-narcotics. “Both the nations are committed to fight international terrorism and narcotics.

He said that his country is keenly interested in expanding trade and economic bilateral ties. Berdimuhamedow said the UN has been playing an effective role in addressing Afghanistan’s issues however he vowed that Ashgabad was ready to facilitate peace talks being an impartial country. “We are ready to host the peace talks on our land so that our Afghan brothers can hold peace negotiations in a free and an impartial atmosphere,” Berdimuhamedow said.

Talking on key development projects, he said that his government wants to launch some mega projects in the fields of energy and railway construction in Afghanistan.

Regarding the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) gas pipeline, he remarked that a major part of the project’s work has been completed and he expected the practical work on the project would be started by the end of 2015.

“We want to increase our electricity export to Afghanistan five times and make the bilateral economic ties expanded and durable,” he said.

President Ashraf Ghani appreciated the expanding trade ties with this neighboring country and said Turkmenistan has been a good friend. He said that trade and economic ties between the two countries have been expanding and the commitment of Turkmenistan to increase the power supply to Afghanistan has been promising in boosting our production capacity and infrastructure. Ghani said that the plan to construct railway line between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan and Tajikistan has already been completed and the railway line from Turkmenistan to Aqina Port in Andkhoi district of Maimana province will be completed by February of 2016.

“Kabul and Ashgabat are determined to increase regional cooperation, establish railway line by Turkmenistan stretching from Afghanistan to Europe and via Central Asia,” Ghani said.

So far Afghanistan has the largest trade with Pakistan but Islamabad always has created troubles for Afghan traders and violated trade agreements.

Many economic analysts believe that Afghan government must seek appropriate ways for expansion of its trade with European countries as Pakistan has not been a good option any more. Turkmenistan is a good alternative which will lessen Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan.

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