Monday, 14 November 2011 00:00
On November 14, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov paid an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Chairperson of the Mejlis, cabinet ministers, high-ranking officials of ministries and departments bade farewell to the leader of the Turkmen state at the Ashgabat International Airport.
Two hours later the Presidents’ place landed in the Islamabad Chaklala Airport decorated with national flags of Turkmenistan and Pakistan. Federal Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin and the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan greeted the Turkmen leader at the airport. They cordially greeted the Turkmen leader on behalf of the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
From the airport the President’s cortege headed to the residence at the Islamabad Serena Hotel. The government delegation that accompanied President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov consisted of cabinet ministers and high-ranking officials of Turkmen ministries and departments.
The banners with the statements glorying friendship between the two nations and the pictures of the leader of the Turkmen state, the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan installed along the way of the President’s cortege evidence the high status of the Turkmen leader’s visit to this country.
In the afternoon the Turkmen leader headed to Aiwan-e-Sadr, the official residence of the President of Pakistan where the official ceremony of greeting the President of Turkmenistan took place.
President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani cordially and heartily greeted the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the entrance to the Presidential Palace. The leaders of the two states shook hands and walked to the special area where the official greeting ceremony took place.
After the ceremony was concluded, the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari invited President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to enter the hall where the one-to-one talks were held.
Cordially greeting the Turkmen leader and emphasizing that he was glad to meet again in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari expressed satisfaction with a new opportunity to exchange views and harmonize views on all aspects of cooperation. The leader of Pakistan noted that the first visit of the leader of Turkmenistan was evaluated highly by the receiving party. Noting that Turkmen-Pakistani relations had significantly intensified since the previous top level meeting in Tehran in 2009, President Asif Ali Zardari underlined the importance of deepening cooperation at the new stage.
Thanking the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for the heartfelt welcome, the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said Turkmenistan Turkmenistan viewed Pakistan as a strategic and promising partner that it intended to promote close and fruitful cooperation based on mutual understanding and friendship with.
Turkmenistan valued Turkmen-Pakistani relations established over the years and took specific steps to promote them, continued President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasizing that our country highly evaluated Pakistan’s support for our foreign policy initiatives in the framework of collaboration within the United Nations and other international organisations. The leader of the Turkmen state expressed belief that the interstate dialogue being filled with a new content today would be enriched further and brought to qualitatively new level.
Discussing the possibilities to enhance the potential of bilateral partnerships, the sides identified priority fields of collaboration and exchange views on the issues of regional and international politics. The leaders of the two states emphasized that Turkmenistan and Pakistan intended to contribute further to strengthening peace and stability and expanding mutually advantageous regional cooperation.
Then the government delegations of Turkmenistan and Pakistan joined in the talks.
First the floor was given to the distinguished guest, the leader of the Turkmen state. Greeting the participants of the high-level meeting and thanking the President and the Government of Pakistan for extending the heartfelt welcome and hospitality to the Turkmen government delegation, the Turkmen leader said viewed this visit as an important step to strengthen the ties of friendship and interstate cooperation. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed belief that meetings and talks in Pakistan would offer a powerful impetus to deepen relations between our countries and bring them to a qualitatively new level meeting modern realities and the potential to promote bilateral partnership.
Both Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan attach great importance to the issues related to safeguarding of peace and security and from this standpoint evaluate the current state and prospects for development on regional and global scale, continued President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Our states collaborate in a constructive way in the world arena, particularly within the major international structures such as the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organisation.
The Turkmen leader expressed gratitude to the Pakistani side for providing support to Turkmenistan’s international initiatives and proposals. These particularly include the initiatives of the Turkmen state on energy security and development of adequate international legal mechanisms for this purpose. Pakistan supported and co-sponsored the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on the Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and Its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation adopted on the initiative of the Turkmen state in December 2008. In this regard President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed profound gratitude to President Asif Ali Zardari for his firm position on this issue.
In the context of discussion of the approaches to ensuring security on regional and global scale, the Turkmen leader put particular emphasis on the important role of concerted efforts of the two states in reconstructing neighbouring Afghanistan. The quite firm foundation which exists nowadays to address peacefully the problems facing this country should be strengthened through wide international assistance in developing its economic and social infrastructure and consistent efforts to combat terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, organized crime and other threats and challenges, said the leader of Turkmenistan.
Touching upon the aspects of Turkmen-Pakistani relations, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted their key priorities including promotion of trade and economic cooperation and collaboration in the energy sector, where our country viewed Pakistan as a strategic partner in implementing new projects for transit of Turkmen energy to world markets.
In this context the Turkmen leader mentioned the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project promoted through concerted efforts as an illustrative example of long-term cooperation. Also, the Turkmen leader underlined the dynamic growth rate of bilateral trade in recent years and suggested considering the possibilities to enhance and broaden a range of exports and imports which should reflect the real economic potential of the two countries.
Good prospects for mutually advantageous partnership were opened up in such sectors as transport and telecommunications, construction and agriculture, said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov urging to more actively involve the business circles of the two countries along with state-run organisations in enhancing economic cooperation. The use of such instruments as joint business forums, exhibitions, fairs would facilitate closer contacts between entrepreneurs and chambers of commerce of the two countries. In this context the Turkmen leader put forward the initiative to conduct a Turkmen-Pakistani investment forum in Ashgabat in 2012. It could provide Turkmen and Pakistani businessmen with an opportunity to exchange views and conclude contracts in the sectors of mutual interest.
Underscoring the importance of establishing direct contacts between cultural and education institutions and research centres of the two states, the leader of Turkmenistan suggested exploring the possibilities to establish a think tank innovation centre at one of higher education institutions in our country.
Evaluating the potential of Turkmen-Pakistani relations, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov characterised them as having prospects and showing great promise. In this context the Turkmen leader particularly emphasized that Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had profoundly contribute to enhancing friendship between our states and nations. She was a true friend of our country, and the gratifying memory of her lived in hearts of citizens of Turkmenistan, said the Turkmen leader.
At the conclusion of the speech President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed belief that the Turkmen-Pakistani talks and the agreements reached in Islamabad would inaugurate a new landmark stage in the history of interstate relations. Addressing President Asif Ali Zardari, the Turkmen leader expressed gratitude for paying great attention and contribution to maintaining the traditions Turkmen-Pakistani friendship and cooperation and invited the leader of Pakistan to pay a visit to our country at any convenient time and expressed the wishes of peace, wellbeing and prosperity of the talented and hard-working Pakistani people.
Accepting the invitation with gratitude, President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized that he viewed Turkmenistan as a strategic partner and true friend. The Pakistani leader emphasized that it was a great honour for the people of his country to receive such a prominent politician, state figure as President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who had won the high international prestige with his reforms and peace-building initiatives.
Expressing satisfaction with dynamics of interstate relations at the present stage, the President of Pakistan highly evaluated the Turkmen leader’s contribution to enhancing multilateral collaboration. In this context emphasis was put on high effectiveness of these top level talks which enabled to coordinate concerted efforts in the fields of vital importance for the two countries.
Collaboration in the sphere of region security where Turkmenistan took consistent steps to put the principles of positive neutrality and the active peace-building strategy
In practice and cooperation in the economic, energy, transport and communications sectors were mentioned as promising areas.
Further development of the region and solutions to urgent problems facing it directly depend on how effectively the resources of partnership are implemented for the utmost benefit for all parties involved, continued the President of Pakistan. And our countries as the states located in the same region are aware of community of objectives in this context and the tasks they are to fulfil.
It is the activity of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who dreamt that our region would be peaceful and prosperous, called for solidary and equal cooperation and saw Turkmenistan’s specific role in this, was aimed at.
Maintaining the traditions of partnership, Pakistan was also interested in the experience accumulated by the Turkmen state in many fields, including the economic sector, promotion of cooperation in the fuel and energy, power, industrial and railway and pipeline construction sectors, intensification of business and scientific contacts and exchange of artistic delegations.
Stating that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan would take continuing efforts to promote friendly relations and cooperation with Turkmenistan for the benefit of our countries, for the wellbeing, prosperity and strength of the two states, President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized that we had all necessary prerequisites, political will and mutual readiness for mutually advantageous partnership.
The progress in implementing bilateral agreements on cooperation in the trade and economic, power, transport, communications and other sectors were analyzed during the enlarged meeting emphasis was put on the importance of enhancing the efficiency of the activity of the intergovernmental Turkmen-Pakistani Commission. The sides agreed to more closely collaborate within the Commission.
The options for collaboration between the entrepreneurial circles and their involvement in the investment activity were considered. Noting that the favourable conditions for foreign companies’ business activity had been created in Turkmenistan, the Pakistani officials said the business community of their country sought to expand on the Turkmen market. In their turn the Turkmen officials underlined Turkmenistan’s willingness to expand opportunities of Turkmen companies and enterprises abroad.
A focus of discussion was the promotion of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere as an important aspect of the Turkmen-Pakistani dialogue. The sides expressed the mutual willingness to broaden the spectrum of partnership, intensify it in key fields, including through implementing joint social and economy development projects on a regional scale.
Then the ceremony of signing the Joint Turkmen-Pakistani Declaration took place. To the applause of those present President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari affixed their signatures to the document designed to strengthen and open up new horizons for wider bilateral partnership.
After the talks were concluded, the leaders of the two states gave a press conference. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Asif Ali Zardari noted that the talks had been held in an atmosphere of mutual confidence and understanding and spotlighted the mutual intention to promote cooperation in various fields.
The leaders of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the talks and characterized them as the beginning of a new chapter in the chronicle of multifaceted cooperation between Turkmenistan and Pakistan which served the interests of the two friendly countries as well as all states in the region.
After the press conference was concluded, an official dinner was given in honour of the distinguished Turkmen guest on behalf of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at Aiwan-e-Sadr. Foreign diplomats accredited to Pakistan attended the official dinner.
In the afternoon President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov visited the Government House of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani met the leader of the Turkmen state at the entrance. Cordially greeting the distinguished guest and congratulating on the success of the talks, the Prime Minister invited the President of Turkmenistan to the assembly hall of the Government House where they had a meeting.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of discussed the issues regarding trade and economic, scientific and technical and cultural cooperation between the two countries and their collaboration in strengthening regional security.
Opening the meeting and greeting the Turkmen leader, who had arrived in Pakistan leading the Turkmen official delegation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani underlined the effectiveness of the Turkmen-Pakistani talks noting that they played a significant role in enhancing further bilateral cooperation.
Our peoples are bound with the centuries-old ties of friendship based on the traditions of mutual assistance and solidarity, said the Prime Minister. The location in the geostrategic region of the planet is the basis for the community of objectives and aims of development. Pakistan is keenly interested in promoting trade ad economic contacts with Turkmenistan as a natural gas exporter as well as dependable partner in enhancing the role of the two states in world markets. Focusing on consistent development of the regulatory framework of cooperation and the favourable investment climate in Turkmenistanе, Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed belief that bilateral trade would significantly increase in the near future.
The Prime Minister noted that implementing such a an ambitious gas project as the TAPI project and putting it into operation was a key factor for the economic growth of Pakistan, whose industry and infrastructure could be developed through energy exports.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani said his country was interested in enhancing cooperation with Turkmenistan in the financial and banking, agricultural, processing, private, scientific, education and cultural sectors and focused on the importance of direct contacts between sectoral departments and ministries, organisations and enterprises and the business communities. We should use each other’s experience for the benefit of our peoples and states, said the Prime Minister.
We view existing relations of friendship and mutual assistance as vivid evidence for the commitment to deep roots of the traditional ties between our nations, said the Turkmen leader.
Expressing profound gratitude on behalf of the Turkmen delegation to the Pakistani friends for creating a good working atmosphere, the Turkmen leader said “here while staying here we have an opportunity to make sure to the full extent of sincere friendship and high respect of Pakistani brothers to the people of our country. I believe it is mutual respect that lays the firm foundation for Turkmen-Pakistani relations, said the leader of Turkmenistan.
Characterising energy partnership as a strategic factor in bilateral collaboration, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov dwelt upon the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project. In this context the Turkmen leader said Turkmenistan which had abundant natural resources, particularly hydrocarbons, attributed opportunities for progress conditional to not only with the programmes of oil and gas production and export.
The economic indicators reached in the country enable to consistently and steadily implement the society-oriented reforms, including aimed at further diversification of the industrial sector and establishment of new industries especially in the high technology sector. Such basic sectors of the national economy as the power, processing, textile and food industries, the transport and communications sectors are being actively developed along with the oil and gas industry in Turkmenistan today.
At the present stage our country promotes foreign trade relations with over a hundred of countries of the world and the volume of exports significantly exceeds the volume of imports. In this regard the Turkmen leader said that along with the dynamically increased trade between Turkmenistan and Pakistan our country have the profound potential to broaden a range of exports-imports and expanding further mutually advantageous foreign-trade operations.
In this context the President of Turkmenistan focused on the need to intensify the work on the implementation of bilateral agreements and exploration of new options for cooperation given the expanded regulatory framework of interstate collaboration.
This particularly concerns the practical work on promotion of Turkmen electricity exports to Pakistan through Afghanistan that upcoming political consultations aimed at making specific plans and projects in this sphere realistic are to intensify.
Cooperation in the transport sector and the use of the potential of Turkmenistan as an important intersection of transportation routes connecting Europe and Asia were mentioned as showing great promise. It was noted that combining existing resources in this sector, especially in the context of Pakistan’s profound transport and infrastructure capabilities, will contribute to building a reliable trade and transport corridor in this part of the continent.
The possible practical measures to implement the agreements on collaboration in the tourism sector reached during the Turkmen-Pakistani top level talks given the ongoing ambitious project of the Avaza national tourism zone in Turkmenistan, in the spheres of culture, science, education, etc were considered during the meeting.
In particular, the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov characterised partnership between the state news agencies of the two countries as quite helpful. Such contacts on a regular basis will enable to develop the Turkmen-Pakistani dialogue – the dialogue of sincere friends who respect and value each other and are aware of the importance of enhancing cooperation in a new, wider format, concluded the President of Turkmenistan.
After the meeting was concluded, the ceremony of signing the bilateral documents took place.
These included the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; the for Cultural Cooperation Programme for 2012-2014 between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; the memorandum on Cooperation between the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Commerce of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and the Agreement for Cooperation between the Turkmen State News Agency and the Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation. Also, the sides signed the Joint Declaration on the Gas Sales Purchase Agreement of the TAPI project.
Then the President of Turkmenistanа visited the Alley of Guests of Honour near the Government House. Chairman Capital Development Authority, Mayor of Islamabad I. Elahi greeted the leader of the Turkmen state at the entrance. The mayor of Islamabad invitedPresident Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to walk along the Alley and told about the origin of this park.
Then the leader of Turkmenistan planted a young tree there as a sign of the indissoluble ties of Turkmen-Pakistani friendship.
During a conversation with the distinguished guest the Mayor of Islamabad talked about the long-term plans for development of the Pakistani capital.
Then the President’s cortege headed to the Serena Hotel where the Turkmen leader had a meeting with Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan Asim Hussain.
During the meeting the Turkmen leader and the head of the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry discussed the prospects for partnership in the fuel and energy sector, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said this segment of bilateral relations gained currency in light of promotion of the TAPI project.
Turkmenistan seeks to implement its tremendous hydrocarbon potential for the common benefit. Pursuing the energy strategy our country is committed to diversifying energy transit to world markets and stands ready for equal fruitful cooperation. In this regard Turkmenistan views Pakistan as a dependable partner.
Upon concluding the meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Minister Asim Hussain expressed belief that relaying on the positive experience of collaboration, Turkmenistan and Pakistan would promote energy cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of the two states and other countries in the region.
Then the President of Turkmenistan received Chairman of the Senate (the upper house of the Parliament) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Farooq Hamid Naek. The Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan briefed President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the activity of the Parliament of Pakistan. Farooq Hamid Naek expressed hope that the highest legislatures of Turkmenistan and Pakistan would establish and promote effective contacts.
Noting that paramount importance was attached in Turkmenistan to further democratization of the social and political life, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov dwelt upon the major aspects of the ongoing legal reforms in Turkmenistan focusing on the crucial contribution of the Mejlis of Turkmenistan to the ongoing changes. The President said the lawmaking activity in Turkmenistan was carried out through using world achievements and promoting cooperation with leading international structures in this sphere. The Turkmen leader also noted that Turkmenistan would study Pakistan’s experience in order to strengthen inter-parliamentary ties that would certainly help our peoples to know each other better.
Upon concluding the meeting, the Turkmen leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov wished Pakistani parliamentarians every success in their important activity.
After the meetings were concluded, the President’s cortege headed to the Islamabad International Airport. From the airport the President of Turkmenistan left for Ashgabat.
Few hours later the President’s plane landed at the Ashgabat International Airport. The Chairperson of the Mejlis and cabinet of ministers cordially greeted the Turkmen leader and congratulated him on the success of the top level talks in Islamabad which had added a new page to the history of Turkmen-Pakistan relations.
State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH)