On November 23, 2020, a high-level meeting on regional cooperation in the framework of the Conference on Afghanistan was held online. Turkmenistan was represented at this event by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R. Meredov.
During the meeting, which was attended by the heads of state and government, as well as international organizations, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Deborah Lyons and many others made speeches.
The participants discussed issues of cooperation in establishing and maintaining permanent peace in Afghanistan, including the socio-economic development of the country.
During her official speech, UNAMA’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, noted the importance of help by the neighboring countries to fully rebuild Afghanistan. She noted that one of the key elements in this process is infrastructure. “Afghanistan and the region can benefit a lot from the many advantages of the electricity, energy and transportation projects that are ongoing,” she said. The construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, power transmission lines and fiber-optic communications along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan route, as well as the Lapis Lazuli Corridor were especially noted.
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani noted the particular importance of regional cooperation in the process of comprehensive development of Afghanistan. He touched upon safety issues, development of an inclusive roadmap. He stressed the key role of rebuilding road, transport, communications and energy infrastructure through coordinated practical interaction. In particular, the head of Afghanistan expressed gratitude to Turkmenistan, which makes an important contribution to the process of involving Afghanistan in the socio-economic development channel. In particular, Turkmenistan’s assistance was lauded in the implementation of the Lapis Lazuli Corridor project, aimed at ensuring a decent lifestyle for the Afghan people.
During the meeting, the important role of international financial institutions in promoting the economic growth of Afghanistan was also noted. Speaking at the event, the Asian Development Bank’s Lead Planning Economist Safdar Parvez said that Afghanistan, due to its geographical position, is located at the center of important economic transport corridors that cross the region. He noted the importance of the famous Lazuli Corridor connecting Afghanistan with Turkmenistan and Turkey, which contributes to its further integration.
The meeting took place in a friendly and open atmosphere.