President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdymukhamedov Makes First State Visit to Kazakhstan

ASTANA – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev welcomed Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdymukhamedov during his state visit to Kazakhstan, marking the historic significance of the visit in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, reported the presidential press service. 

Berdymukhamedov and Tokayev shake hands at their meeting in Akorda. Photo credit: Akorda press service

Berdymukhamedov arrived on a state visit on Oct. 14 to attend the meeting of heads of the Commonwealth of the Independent States and Central Asia – Russia meeting. On Oct. 15, he met with President Tokayev for bilateral talks. 

Welcoming Berdymukhamedov and the Turkmen delegation, Tokayev noted that Kazakhstan sees the potential in strengthening of the centuries-old Kazakh-Turkmen ties of friendship and good neighborliness as the two countries mark 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. 

“I think this is a huge event for Kazakhstan. Your visit has, without any exaggeration, a historic significance. In a closed format, we have discussed the urgent issues of our cooperation,” said Tokayev, noting that the two countries have built strong and harmonious relations as well as active political dialogue. 

During the talks, the leaders agreed to increase the volume of mutual trade up to $1 billion. Last year, trade turnover doubled surpassing US$250 million. 

Tokayev noted that the two countries have significant potential for deepening trade and economic cooperation, saying Kazakhstan can increase exports to Turkmenistan in 80 commodity items. 

Cooperation in the gas industry sees growth as well, following the signing of a contract between Kazakhstan’s QazaqGaz and Turkmengaz for the import of Turkmen gas.

“I express my gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for his personal support in promoting this project. We are interested in concluding a long-term agreement and are ready to increase the volume of gas imports up to 1.5 billion cubic meters per year,” said Tokayev.

Tokayev also declared Kazakhstan’s readiness to participate in the implementation of major energy initiatives of Turkmenistan, exchange experiences, and develop projects in gas processing and gas chemistry. 

He also mentioned the prospects of Kazakh wheat exports to the Turkmen market and the construction of a grain terminal on the Turkmen-Afghan border.

“We have agreed to take joint measures to bring the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railroad to its full capacity. Amid the disruption of established logistics chains, the demand for this route has increased dramatically,” added Tokayev. 

The leaders also discussed the deepening of cooperation between the seaports of Aktau, Kuryk, and Turkmenbashi and the construction of the road across Turkmenbashi – Garabogaz and the Kazakh border. 

When speaking about cultural and humanitarian ties, Tokayev said that everything is “developing as planned.” 

“I would also like to note our cooperation and interaction in the Caspian process. Not so long ago, Ashgabat hosted the Caspian summit. It was very successful in terms of achieving substantial results as well as in terms of the hospitality from the Turkmen side,” said Tokayev.

Berdymukhamedov said his visit to Kazakhstan is a milestone event in the relations between the two countries.  

“The main goal of the visit is to strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership in all directions, define clear guidelines for interstate cooperation in the region of Central Asia and in the international arena taking into account new realities and development trends,” said the Turkmen leader. 

He emphasized that his meeting with Tokayev confirmed the “goodwill, determination, and readiness” of the two leaders to develop cooperation in all areas.

“We will continue coordinating our efforts in the most important area of the global agenda, such as sustainable development, energy security, development of international transport and transit communications, ecology, and environmental protection,” said Berdymukhamedov.

Wrapping up their meeting, the two leaders adopted a joint statement, where they reaffirmed their willingness to develop and strengthen trust-based political dialogue.

They also confirmed the global nature of current challenges in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which require ensuring the security of all humankind through an effective combination of national, regional, and international efforts.

President Berdymukhamedov emphasized the relevance of the initiatives proposed by Tokayev at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly to create the International Biological Security Agency, which will be based on the convention on the prohibition of biological and toxin weapons, as well as to create a network of regional centers for disease control and biosafety under the UN.

The two leaders also agreed to organize Days of Culture of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan on a mutual basis in 2023 – 2024. 

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