Ashgabat, 1 May 2011 (nCa) — President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus visited Turkmenistan 27-29 April 2011. It was a chance for Turkmenistan and Belarus to boost partnership in areas of compatibility – the outcome was satisfactory for both sides.
The summit talks: President Berdymuhamedov and President Lukashenko had tête-à-tête and expanded format talks on 28 Apr.
Here are the main points:
- Belarus will build 20000 apartments for 100000 people. This would be an industrial town to serve the needs of the potash mining and processing complex, a joint Turkmen-Belarus project in the Garlyk area of Lebap province.
- Turkmenistan and Belarus will step up cooperation in tourism, industry, education, aviation, hi tech, trade, military, IT, food processing, petrochemicals, construction materials production, forestry and furniture industry, light industrial products and chemicals.
- Both countries will create joint ventures. Belarus will build on turnkey basis the plants for production of construction materials.
- The relations between the two countries are close to becoming strategic partnership
- Turkmenistan and Belarus will establish a business council for economic cooperation. The business cooperation council will include representatives of chambers of commerce of both the countries, business organizations and entrepreneurs. The business cooperation council will work within the framework of the joint Turkmen-Belarus commission for economic cooperation.
- Turkmenistan will substantially increase the purchase of transport and agriculture machinery and vehicles, construction materials, mechanical engineering products and other items from Belarus.
- Turkmenistan and Belarus have similar or identical positions international peace and security and combating the challenges of modern times. Turkmenistan offered condolence to Belarus on the recent terrorist attack at a metro station in Minsk.
- Belarus will make a trial shipment 26000 tons of potash to Turkmenistan. The total quantity under this contract would be 100000 tons.
- “Belarus has never played up for opportunistic reasons. We are always ready to lend a shoulder to Turkmenistan in any situation,” said Lukashenko, apparently a reference to the perceived meddling by some western powers in the internal affairs of Belarus.
- Lukashenko said to Berdymuhamedov. “I wish your term in office to last about as long as I have worked [as president of Belarus]. —– Lukashenko is in office for the last 17 years.
Education: Turkmenistan and Belarus will upgrade their cooperation in education by establishing direct contact with educational institutions and research centres of both the countries.
Currently more than 4500 Turkmen students are studying in Belarus. The first batch would soon return home on completion of their education.
Documents signed: The following documents were signed after the summit meeting:
- Programme of cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs of Turkmenistan and Belarus for the period 2011-2012
- Agreement for cooperation between the ministries of finance of Turkmenistan and Belarus
- Agreement between Turkmenistan and Belarus for mutual provision of land for placement of Turkmen embassy in Minsk and Belarus embassy in Ashgabat
- Joint communiqué
Other documents signed during the visit include:
Agreement between Turkmenistan Airlines and Belavia (including provision for mutual sale of tickets)
Agreement for supply of equipment and technology for potash processing
Tribute to Niyazov: Lukashenko paid tribute to Niyazov, the first president of Turkmenistan, and placed a wreath of flowers at his mausoleum. During the summit talks also he praised the wisdom, vision and statesmanship of Niyazov.
Horse show: On 29 Apr, the last day of his visit, Lukashenko watched a special horse show that was arranged in his honour.
Visit to Avaza: Before departure to Minsk the same day, Lukashenko stopped over at Avaza, the national tourist zone of Turkmenistan at the Caspian coast. He attended a presentation on the construction plans of Avaza and the incentives and tax breaks for foreign investors in Avaza. He was convinced that Avaza offers attractive options for business community of Belarus.
Turkmenistan-Belarus relations: At present there are 13 enterprises registered in Turkmenistan with Belarus capital. Belarus companies are doing 10 projects with total value of US $ 1.121 billion.
Minks Tractor Plant and Minsk Automobile Plant are major suppliers of agricultural, construction and transportation machinery to Turkmenistan.
Belarus company Belgorkhimprom is doing in Turkmenistan the largest potash mining and processing project in Central Asia. The design capacity of the complex would be 2.8 million tons. Most of the production would be destined for export because domestic consumption is not expected to be more than 10000 tons.
The third session of the joint Turkmen-Belaru commission on economic cooperation was held in March this year.
The volume of mutual trade turnover was US $ 80 million in 2010, showing an increase of 7% over the previous year. This represents 38% increase in Turkmen exports to Belarus and 5% increase in Belarus exports to Turkmenistan.
Belarus mainly exports agricultural and construction machinery and equipment to Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan primarily exports petroleum and petroleum products Belarus (about 50% of total exports).