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Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan mull cooperation

27 November 2013

Turkmen President went on a two-day official visit to Tashkent where he mulled a wide range of issues with his Uzbek counterpart.

During the one-on-one meeting, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Islam Karimov discussed the current state and prospects of Turkmen-Uzbek cooperation in key areas.

The sides called for furthering constructive interstate political dialogue and building up effective trade and economic partnership and humanitarian and cultural ties.

Talks continued later with the participation of the governmental delegations of the two countries.

Greatly appreciating the results of the one-on-one talks, President Karimov said a wide range of aspects of bilateral collaboration were discussed and key priorities for long-term cooperation were identified during the talks with President Berdymukhamedov.

He also said these talks were another evidence of the willingness of the two neighboring countries to build up mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.

The Uzbek President mentioned the transport and communications sectors as promising areas for cooperation given the favorable geographical location of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and their transit potential.

Pointing to cultural and humanitarian cooperation as an essential component of intergovernmental dialogue, the Uzbek leader focused on the importance of promoting fruitful ties in this field.

President Berdymukhamedov, in turn, said Uzbekistan is a strategic partner of Turkmenistan, and the relations between the two countries were built on a long-term basis.

He also said Turkmen-Uzbek relations played a critical role in strengthening peace and stability in the region and stood as a key factor contributing to maintaining security in Asia.

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan shared the concerns of the international community about attempts to spread extremist ideology in the region, the activities of criminal groups involved in drug trafficking, and other illegal activities, he said.

President Berdymukhamedov said the two countries were particularly interested in establishing lasting peace, stability, and security in Afghanistan and traditionally paid much attention to the situation in the neighboring country during talks.

Focusing on bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the Turkmen president called for enhancing it further, emphasizing the need to generate new ideas and innovative models of cooperation.

Berdymukhamedov also highlighted the need to develop ambitious joint projects for cooperation in the industrial, agro-industrial, transport, and communication sectors.

Touching upon environmental protection, Berdymukhamedov called saving the Aral Sea a key aspect in interstate cooperation.

He also said water and energy problems in Central Asia should be addressed in line with the universally recognized standards of international law, taking into account the interests of all the countries in the region and through involving the authoritative international organizations.

The Turkmen President also suggested holding Turkmen-Uzbek cultural and humanitarian forum in Turkmenabat in 2014.

After concluding the talks, the Presidents of the two countries issued a joint declaration.

The document envisages the main principles and directions for bilateral cooperation, and confirms the necessity of deepening political interaction and developing cooperation between the two countries within the UN and other international organizations.

The joint declaration noted the importance of developing mutually beneficial trade and economic relations by increasing the volume and range of the trade turnover and boosting interactions between the two countries' business circles.

The sides also stressed the priority of expanding bilateral cooperation on transport and developing transit corridors that ensure the shortest and most effective access to foreign markets.

They also highlighted the significance of implementing agreements on the development of the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman international transport corridor.

The document also said the main conditions for resolving the Afghan problem is a political settlement and achieving peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan through the use of diplomatic means and methods, the recovery of economy, and the improvement of people's socio-economic life.

Agreement and adoption of mutually acceptable decisions on the inter-regional problems in Central Asia should be carried out by regional countries themselves on the basis of equal rights, mutual benefits, and respecting each other's interests, the document notes.

The document also highlighted the necessity of taking joint measures aimed at forming a fair and rational water use system in Central Asia on the basis of commonly accepted norms and principles of international law and taking the interests of all regional countries into account.

The sides also signed various bilateral documents, particularly an agreement on cooperation in tourism, a cooperation agreement between Turkmen State Commodity and Raw Materials Exchange and Uzbek Commodity Exchange, an agreement on cooperation and exchange of information between Turkmen State News Agency and Uzbek National News Agency, an agreement on cooperation in countering money laundering and financing of terrorism, a framework agreement on cooperation between the Turkmenhimiya State Concern, the Uzkimyosanoat State Joint-Stock Company, and the Markazsanoatexport State Joint Stock Foreign Trade Company, an agreement on cooperation in emergency prevention and response, and an action plan of cultural cooperation for 2014-2016.

The Presidents of the two countries held a press conference afterwards.

As part of the visit, Berdymukhamedov and Karimov visited the Mustakillik square, the Monument of Independence and Humanism, the Palace of Symposiums, and Alisher Navoi National Library.

Trade turnover between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan amounted to $424.4 million in 2012. Uzbekistan exported goods worth $164.3 million to Turkmenistan, while import from Turkmenistan amounted to $260.1 million.

Around seven joint enterprises with Turkmen capital operate in Uzbekistan, and six enterprises created with the participation of Uzbek investors operate in Turkmenistan.

To date, around 150 documents constitute the legal framework of bilateral relations.