Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, May 20 / Trend H. Hasanov /
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have discussed prospects for inter-state cooperation and some aspects of international and regional issues of mutual interest during a telephone conversation, the Turkmen government said on Monday.
According to the report, the telephone conversation was initiated by the Iranian side.
'The leaders of the two countries have mentioned the fuel and energy sector, the trade and economic sphere, construction and development of transport communications among the priority areas of bilateral cooperation', the report said.
Underscoring the continued mutual commitment of the people of the two countries to unbreakable bonds of friendship and equal and mutually beneficial cooperation, the sides noted with satisfaction that thanks to on-going efforts, the intergovernmental dialogue has been given a strong momentum of development in recent years which enabled it to achieve a new level meeting of common interests.
Iran and Turkmenistan have common land borders and share the Caspian shores. Neighbouring countries have built two common gas pipelines, power lines, border dam and other facilities. Turkmenistan has been transferring natural gas to the northern provinces of Iran since 1995.
According to the report, during the last telephone conversation, Ahmadinejad congratulated the Turkmen leader with the commissioning of the Turkmen-Kazakh railway section of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railroad. This large scale North-South project has been realised on the basis of a tripartite agreement signed in 2007.
According to experts, the regional project will give European and Asian countries access to Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. A similar opportunity will appear for transit of goods from countries in South and Southeast Asia, from the shores of the Indian Ocean to the countries of Northern and Eastern Europe through Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Russia.
According to preliminary estimates, some three to five million tons of cargo per year will be transported through this highway in the initial phase and in future the volumes will increase to 10-12 million tons of cargo a year.