Turkmen, Afghan presidents stress TAPI project significance for region
Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, June 8 / Trend H. Hasanov /
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Beijing during his working visit to China, the Turkmen government said today.
The meeting took place at the end of the SCO summit where the Turkmen and Afghan presidents attended as guests of honour. The main subject of discussion was the issue of practical implementation of the construction project of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
'It was stressed that the implementation of this large scale project initiated by Turkmenistan, will contribute to the socio-economic revival of Afghanistan, work for the benefit of all participating countries and serve to strengthen positive mutual cooperation in the Asian region as a whole', a statement said.
The leaders exchanged views on priority areas of bilateral cooperation, urgent issues of regional and international policy having mutual interest.
The Afghan leader stressed the importance of the initiatives put forward by official Ashgabat from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly UN. The initiatives are related to creating the best solutions to the issues on Afghanistan. This is also reflected in the speech of the Turkmen President at the SCO summit in Beijing.
"While expressing solidarity with the Afghan people in their strive for peace and prosperity, Turkmenistan will continue fully supporting Afghanistan in its restoration of the social and economic infrastructure," the Turkmen President said.
Turkmenistan stands for settlement of the situation in the neighbouring country exclusively through peaceful, diplomatic means. The two sides expressed confidence that traditional Turkmen-Afghan relations will continue strengthening and developing successfully in all directions.
The base document for promoting TAPI is the member states' interstate agreement on the early implementation of the project signed in Ashgabat in late 2010. The issue of security of the project, passing through Afghanistan is still on the agenda.
Turkmenistan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the TAPI project with Afghanistan last month. The agreements on Turkmen gas purchase and sale were signed with the State Gas Systems of Pakistan and Indian GAIL.
The Asian Development Bank, acting in the TAPI project as the secretariat, said earlier that after 20 years of complex negotiations, the 1800 kilometre gas pipeline which will connect one of the largest energy suppliers of Central Asia - Turkmenistan with South Asia has become one step closer to reality. This testifies to the unprecedented new sphere in regional relations.
At this stage, Turkmenistan supplies gas to China, Iran and Russia.