On 15 October 2022, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had summit talks in Astana.
Traditionally, the negotiations were held in a narrow and expanded formats. The parties signed 14 documents.
The heads of state adopted a joint statement and also spoke at a press briefing.
Before the start of the summit talks, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov laid flowers at the Monument to the Defenders of the Fatherland.
Negotiations in a narrow format
Welcoming the President of Turkmenistan, the leader of Kazakhstan noted that the peoples of the two countries are bound by historical and fraternal ties, and this is of great importance for the further development of Kazakh-Turkmen cooperation.
“Turkmenistan is a fraternal state for Kazakhstan, we share a border and a common history. We have a lot in common in the field of culture, humanitarian ties, and, of course, economic interests,” he said.
During the talks, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Serdar Berdimuhamedov discussed the prospects for the development of Turkmen-Kazakh cooperation. Special attention was paid to the expansion of trade and economic cooperation, including in the fields of energy, transport and logistics, industry and agriculture. The sides also exchanged views on topical issues on the regional and international agenda of mutual interest.
The Turkmen leader thanked his Kazakh counterpart for warm hospitality.
“This is my first state visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan. We consider this visit as an important stage in the development of bilateral ties between our countries,” the President of Turkmenistan noted, adding that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
“Over the years, relations between the two countries have successfully developed in a wide range of areas. Taking this opportunity, I want to congratulate you on this anniversary date,” Serdar Berdimuhamedov said.
The leader of Turkmenistan conveyed to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev greetings and good wishes from the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
President Berdimuhamedov invited President Tokayev to visit Turkmenistan at any convenient time. This invitation was gratefully accepted. The dates of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.
Negotiations in an expanded format
After the meeting in a narrow format, the leaders of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan continued negotiations with the participation of members of official delegations.
“In a closed format, we discussed topical issues of the development of our cooperation. Thank you for your positive attitude to all the issues on the agenda. I expressed my positive assessment of all your approaches and statements regarding the prospects of cooperation between our countries,” the President of Kazakhstan said, opening the meeting.
According to him, over the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, relying on centuries-old friendship, good neighborliness, common cultural and historical values, have built strong and harmonious relations, which today serve as a model of interstate partnership.
The President of Kazakhstan conveyed warm greetings and best wishes to the ex-President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
During the talks, issues of trade and economic cooperation were discussed. The parties agreed to increase the mutual trade to US $1 billion through joint efforts.
“As for cultural and humanitarian ties, everything is developing in accordance with the plan. I would also like to mention our cooperation within the framework of the so-called Caspian process. Not so long ago, the Caspian Summit was held in Ashgabat. It was very successful in terms of achieving a result, a substantive result, as well as in terms of the hospitality shown by the Turkmen side,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
In turn, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said that the main purpose of his visit is to strengthen bilateral strategic partnership in all areas, to define clear guidelines for interstate cooperation in the Central Asian region and in the international arena, taking into account new realities and development trends.
The Turkmen President expressed his belief that Turkmen-Kazakh political dialogue, trade and economic partnership content, and orientation should be comprehensive, based on a coordinated strategy.
The head of state stressed that Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan act as like-minded and responsible partners in shaping their approaches to the most pressing issues of regional and global development.
“We note with gratitude Kazakhstan’s support of the Resolutions initiated by Turkmenistan in the UN on ensuring energy security and cooperation in the field of sustainable transport, on important topics of regional issues, and the unwavering respectful position regarding the neutral status of our country,” President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said.
The head of Turkmenistan highlighted the ensuring lasting peace and security in Central Asia as an absolute priority of cooperation between the two countries. Kazakhstan is also Turkmenistan’s neighbor on the Caspian Sea. In this regard, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov focused on the results of the Sixth Caspian Summit held in Ashgabat, where important agreements were reached to continue the development of comprehensive cooperation in the Caspian Sea. In this context, Turkmenistan’s readiness to work together with Kazakhstan to achieve these goals was confirmed.
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the environmental field, including on the issues of the Aral Sea, will also be continued.
As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov further noted, Kazakhstan is a major economic partner of Turkmenistan. The strategic direction of the Turkmen-Kazakh partnership is energy, where the existing potential enables two countries, being the major hydrocarbon producers in Eurasia, to implement large-scale, in many ways unique projects for the supply of energy to international markets. A striking example of this is the construction of the Turkmenistan–China gas pipeline, part of which runs through Kazakhstan.
Touching upon the topic of transport cooperation, the Turkmen leader noted that one of the concrete results of effective cooperation is the construction of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway.
In this aspect, it was noted that the Turkmen-Kazakh cooperation in the transport today should become one of the driving forces of the development of Central Asia and neighboring regions, the most important factor of economic integration and partnership along the North-South and East-West lines.
Noting the expediency of conducting a thorough joint analysis of the general state of trade and economic relations, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that both countries are now able to significantly increase trade turnover and diversify mutual supplies.
Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have created a powerful industrial and agricultural base, modern transport infrastructure. These factors should be fully used to expand mutual trade, including cross-border and regional, and attract investment. We need access to large-scale projects in industrial cooperation, the service sector, and the agro-industrial complex. In this context, the joint Intergovernmental Commission should be more active, said President of Turkmenistan.
Touching upon the topic of cultural and humanitarian ties, the Turkmen leader proposed to consider the organization of Days of Culture of Turkmenistan in the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2023. It was also noted that it would be expedient to resume readiness to study the issue of establishing monuments of outstanding poets and thinkers of the Turkmen and Kazakh peoples – Makhtumkuli Fragi and Abai Kunanbayev, respectively, in Astana and Ashgabat.
Following the negotiations, the following documents were signed:
- Joint statement of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the President of Turkmenistan.
- Comprehensive program on bilateral cooperation for the period 2022-2024.
- Memorandum between the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan on cooperation.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Energy of Turkmenistan.
- Memorandum between the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan on cooperation in the field of tourism.
- Memorandum between the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection of Turkmenistan on cooperation in the field of plant quarantine.
- Memorandum between the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of Kazakhstan and the Agency for Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan on the development of transport and transit cooperation.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan and the Agency “Turkmenaragatnashyk” under the Agency of Transport and Communications under the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the State Concern “Turkmenhimiya” on cooperation in the field of chemical industry.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Scientific Center for Strategic Studies of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan.
- Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Foreign Trade Chamber of Kazakhstan and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan.
- Memorandum of cooperation between the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs “Atameken” of Kazakhstan and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.
- Memorandum of Intent in the field of combating crime between the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan.
- Cooperation agreement between the Abylai Khan Kazakh University of International Relations and World Languages and the Dovletmammet Azadi Turkmen National Institute of World Languages.
Presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan held a press briefing
At the end of the negotiations in narrow and expanded formats, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov held a briefing for media representatives.
President Tokayev said that special attention was paid to trade and economic partnership at the talks. “Thanks to joint measures, our bilateral trade turnover doubled last year, exceeding US $ 250 million. The positive dynamics has also been maintained this year – a twofold increase in mutual trade has been achieved in 7 months,” he said.
According to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the two countries have significant reserves for deepening trade and economic cooperation. For example, Kazakhstan may add 80 commodities to its exports to Turkmenistan.
“Our goal is to ensure the growth of mutual trade to US $ 500 million in the coming years, and to reach the billion–dollar milestone in the foreseeable future. To this end, we have instructed to intensify the activities of the bilateral Working Group to increase trade turnover and expand the range of goods. The governments of the two countries will work out all these possibilities on our instructions,” Tokayev said.
He also stated that the prospects of a mutually beneficial partnership in the gas industry had been thoroughly examined.
“Our companies “QazaqGaz” and “Turkmengaz” have signed a contract for the import of Turkmen gas. I express my gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for his personal support in promoting this project. We would like to reach a long-term agreement and are willing to increase the volume of gas imports to 1.5 billion cubic meters per year,” President of Kazakhstan said.
He also emphasized Kazakhstan’s intention to participate in Turkmenistan’s major energy initiatives, as well as exchange experience and develop mutually beneficial projects in the fields of gas processing and gas chemistry.
In addition, prospects for the export of Kazakh wheat to the Turkmen market and the construction of a grain terminal on the Turkmen-Afghan border were considered.
During the negotiations, special attention was paid to cooperation in the transport and transit sphere.
“We agreed to take joint measures to bring the Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan–Iran railway to full capacity. The demand for this route has grown significantly against the backdrop of the breakdown of existing transportation chains. Therefore, we have been instructed to prepare a joint action plan for the development of the line,” Kassym–Jomart Tokayev said.
At the same time, the heads of state discussed issues of deepening cooperation between the seaports of Aktau, Kuryk and Turkmenbashi and the construction of a new highway “Turkmenbashi – Garabogaz – border of Kazakhstan”.
In addition, the governments of the two countries agreed to consider the possibility of resuming regular flights as soon as possible.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed introducing a simplified visa regime for business trips in order to boost business activity.
“We will continue to coordinate our efforts on such an important area of the global agenda as sustainable development and its component parts – energy security, development of international transport and transit communications, ecology and environmental protection,” the President of Turkmenistan said in turn.
In the field of sustainable energy, we are talking, first of all, about the participation of the two countries in the implementation of large-scale energy projects. These include, first of all, the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline, which has been operating for many years. Our country is ready to expand and diversify Turkmen-Kazakh cooperation in energy supplies to international markets, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov confirmed.
Cooperation in the field of transport will continue with the goal of developing a powerful and modern infrastructure that will ensure the unification of Central Asian transport systems and our countries’ access to European and Asian trunk flows, he said.
Turkmenistan is ready to work together with Kazakhstan to create a North-South corridor to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea, Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
President of Turkmenistan visited the Main Mosque of Astana and the AIFC
President Serdar Berdimuhamedov visited the Main Mosque of Astana, which was opened in August this year.
The mosque, which is the largest in Kazakhstan, is designed for 235,000 people, of which 35,000 believers can simultaneously pray in halls, and 200,000 people – in open areas.
As part of the visit program, in the afternoon, the head of Turkmenistan visited the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). The head of Turkmenistan was informed in detail about the main activities of the AIFC bodies, including the Court and the International Arbitration Center, the Financial Services Regulatory Committee, the Center for Islamic Finance and Business, and the Center for Green Finance.
In honor of the President of Turkmenistan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev hosted an official dinner.
The same day, the Turkmen leader returned to Ashgabat.
Joint statement by President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the state visit of the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov to the Republic of Kazakhstan took place on 15 October 2022.
During the talks, held in an atmosphere of friendship, mutual respect and trust, the Heads of State thoroughly discussed the prospects for further deepening of strategic partnership, as well as exchanged views on topical issues of regional and international agenda of mutual interest.
Noting the high level of cooperation achieved over the 30-year period after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, based on centuries-old ties of friendship and good-neighborliness, deep cultural and spiritual ties of fraternal peoples, the Presidents reaffirmed the immutability of the course for fully strengthening Turkmen-Kazakh relations and bringing bilateral cooperation to a qualitatively new level of interaction that meets the fundamental interests of the two fraternal states and serves as an important factor in ensuring peace and stability in Central Asia.
Reaffirming our firm commitment to the universally recognized norms of international law, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, including the principles of mutual respect for State sovereignty and independence, territorial integrity, inviolability of borders, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit,
Noting with satisfaction the progressive development of Turkmen-Kazakh cooperation in the political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian fields, guided by the principles laid down in the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 18 April 2017,
stated the following:
The Presidents stand for the further development and strengthening of a trusting and mutually respectful political dialogue as a fundamental factor in the sustainable and dynamic development of relations between the two states.
They note the importance of joint implementation of the agreements reached, including following the results of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, took place in Ashgabat on 25 October 2021, and the state visit of the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov to Astana on 15 October 2022.
The Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan noted with satisfaction the close cooperation within the framework of regional and international organizations, and also confirmed their intention to intensify cooperation on the world stage.
The heads of state highly appreciated the progress made in the development and deepening of regional cooperation within the format of consultative meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia. The readiness was expressed to continue to provide joint efforts to strengthen stability and security in the Central Asian region. The Presidents called for the full implementation of the agreements reached during the consultative meetings of the heads of Central Asian States.
The Presidents confirmed the immutability of the course and joint efforts to maintain regional security and stability in the Caspian region. In order to develop a constructive dialogue and unlock the potential of comprehensive cooperation, the importance of regular summits of the heads of the Caspian states was noted. In this regard, the heads of state stressed the importance of the Sixth Caspian Summit held in Turkmenistan and the further holding of the Caspian economic forums.
Against the backdrop of a complex international situation, growing risks of interstate conflicts and increasing military-political and economic confrontation, the parties expressed a common opinion on the need to enhance the role of the United Nations and its institutions in addressing global issues, ensuring sustainable development, strengthening security and stability in the world, as well as joining the efforts of the international community against acts of aggression, a threat to international peace.
The heads of state stressed the importance of resolving all disputed issues through peaceful political and diplomatic means.
In this regard, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev highly appreciated the efforts of President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov in the development of dialogue at the regional and global levels, including the initiative to adopt resolutions of the UN General Assembly “The role and significance of the policy of neutrality in maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and sustainable development”, “International Year of Peace and trust, 2021”, “Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian region”, “Peace Zone, trust and cooperation in Central Asia”. In turn, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted the importance of holding a Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as the summits of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia, “Central Asia and Russia”, “Central Asia and the European Union”, which are aimed at strengthening a comprehensive dialogue.
The Presidents confirmed the global nature of modern challenges in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which require ensuring the security of all mankind by effectively combining the efforts of states at the national, regional and international levels.
In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov stressed the relevance of the initiatives of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, put forward at the seventy-fifth session of the UN General Assembly, to create an International Agency for Biological Safety, which in its activities 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 control over diseases and biosafety under the auspices of the United Nations.
The heads of state stressed their interest in further strengthening cooperation and mutual support within the framework of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia, the Organization of Turkic States and other international and regional organizations and forums.
The sides called for further development of cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, extremism, illegal migration, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, transnational organized crime and other challenges and threats to international security both at the bilateral level and within the framework of international structures, including the Central Asian Regional Information Coordination Center for combating illicit drug trafficking, psychotropic substances and their precursors in Almaty (CARICC), the post of director of which has been occupied by a representative of Turkmenistan since 2022.
The leaders of the two states noted the need to consolidate efforts in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, expressed their readiness to further develop cooperation within the framework of the implementation of the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia and the Universal Declaration on Building a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 70/57 on the initiative of Kazakhstan on 5 December 2015.
The Presidents recognize the importance of practical implementation of joint projects in the fields of trade, energy, agriculture, logistics and transport.
The Heads of State emphasize the importance of increasing the effectiveness of the Intergovernmental Turkmen-Kazakh Commission on Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation as a coordinating body in deepening and expanding cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
The Presidents note the need for effective and comprehensive use of the existing potential to further enhance bilateral cooperation in trade, economic, energy, transport and communication, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.
The parties confirm the importance of further increasing trade turnover by expanding the range of mutual trade, creating favorable conditions and involving products with high added value. The heads of state instructed to accelerate the coordination and signing of an agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the mutual establishment of trade missions.
The Heads of State emphasize the need to expand business ties aimed at increasing the number of joint ventures in the field of small and medium-sized businesses, and express their readiness to intensify efforts to hold business forums and national exhibitions of industrial products on a regular basis. In this regard, the need to intensify the activities of the Turkmen-Kazakh Business Council in terms of establishing close contacts and practical interaction between entrepreneurs of the two countries was stressed.
The Presidents note the importance of further development of investment cooperation, creation of favorable conditions for attracting investments and their protection at the state level. In order to improve the mechanisms of comprehensive support for mutual investments, the Heads of State instructed to accelerate the coordination and signing of an agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the promotion and mutual protection of investments.
Noting with satisfaction the high potential of interregional and cross-border cooperation between the two states, the Presidents advocate the expansion of multifaceted relations between the regions of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
In order to use the existing potential, the parties express their readiness to intensify cooperation in the transport and communication sphere, providing the shortest and most effective access to foreign markets.
The parties will continue to develop the China–Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan–Iran transport corridor by increasing its attractiveness, as well as to work out new routes in order to diversify transport communications. The need for further cooperation in the implementation of railway transportation along the highway “Uzen (Kazakhstan) – Gyzylgaya – Bereket – Etrek (Turkmenistan) – Gorgan (Iran)” was noted, with this route being prioritized in the implementation of joint projects ensuring the transit of goods through Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Presidents note the importance of expanding cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere, which serves as the foundation of interstate relations. An agreement was reached to intensify cooperation in education, science, tourism and healthcare. The parties welcomed the establishment of links between higher education institutions.
The Heads of State instructed to organize on a mutual basis the Days of Culture of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2023-2024. The parties express their readiness to assist in the implementation of joint television projects, exhibitions, festivals and other cultural events, to consolidate efforts in order to preserve and promote the shared historical and cultural heritage.
The Presidents agreed on the need to take coordinated measures aimed at addressing environmental challenges, including reducing water pollution, atmospheric air, soil erosion, as well as reducing the risks of natural disasters.
They confirm the need to consolidate efforts to comprehensively solve problems related to the improvement of the socio-economic and environmental situation in the Aral and Caspian Seas basin, especially in areas prone to environmental crisis. The willingness to contribute to joint efforts to improve the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea’s organizational structure and legal framework was expressed, taking into account the interests and participation of all Central Asian states. Concern was expressed about the ongoing shallowing of the Caspian Sea due to global climate changes and a reduction in the flow of rivers feeding the sea.
The heads of state declare that the water resources of the transboundary rivers of Central Asia are the common good of the peoples of the region and that the fate of tens of millions of people currently living and future generations, stability and well-being of the entire region depend on the fair and reasonable use of these resources. In this regard, they advocate the strengthening of mutual understanding and the development of constructive cooperation, as well as the search for mutually acceptable and fair solutions.
The heads of State expressed confidence that the negotiations and documents signed during the visit will give a new impetus to the further development of bilateral cooperation in various fields and will serve the interests of the fraternal peoples of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed his heartfelt gratitude to President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and all the people of Kazakhstan for the hospitality, warm welcome, cordiality and invited the President of Kazakhstan to pay a visit to Turkmenistan at a convenient time for him.
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan gratefully accepted the invitation. The dates of the visit will be agreed through diplomatic channels.///nCa, 16 October 2022