By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are interested to further develop the bilateral economic and trade relations as well as to enhance economic cooperation between the Caspian Sea littoral states.
Azerbaijan is an important strategic partner of Turkmenistan and today the relations of the two countries are at a high friendly level, Mekan Ishanguliyev, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, said at a round table dedicated to the First Caspian Economic Forum.
The ambassador noted that cooperation between the two countries is actively developing in different directions, particularly in transport and logistics.
“We are implementing with Azerbaijan a number of projects related to the Caspian Sea, in particular the project to create Afghanistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia transport corridor with access to Europe,” said the ambassador, adding that last year, there was a transit cargo from Afghanistan. The cargo arrived at the port of Alat through the territory of Turkmenistan in order to reach Europe.
Ishanguliyev emphasized that to date, 20 cooperation documents were signed between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and seven of them directly concern cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
He added that another project, Caspian Sea-Black Sea, is important for Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and other Caspian states are interested in its implementation.
The ambassador stressed that preparations for the upcoming First Caspian Economic Forum, which will be held on August 12 (the Day of the Caspian Sea) in Turkmenistan in the Avaza national tourist zone, have already started.
The agenda will cover a wide range of issues that will later form the basis of promising areas of interaction between the participant states, he added.
The initiative to hold the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenistan was put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 5th Summit of the Heads of the Caspian Littoral States in Aktau, Kazakhstan,on August 12, 2018, when the littoral states reached an agreement after 22 years of systematic talks and signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
The forum will consist of three parts - international conference, Caspian Innovative Technologies Exhibition and signing of documents.
Today, the Caspian region is attracting the enormous interest of most of both regional and non-regional states, which is primarily due to the region’s rich oil reserves, as well as the important geopolitical position.
The strategic importance of the Caspian Sea in regional and interregional geopolitical and geo-economic processes, its role as a major transit, transport and logistics hub require the further integration of the Caspian littoral states in the main areas of cooperation.
The Caspian Sea, located at the intersection of North-South and East-West transport corridors, offers immersive transit-logistical opportunities to littoral states. In particular, the establishment of modern transport facilities will allow carrying out any cargo shipments in the Caspian Sea and to increase trade volumes.
Strengthening economic relations is of great importance today for the transformation of the Caspian into a sea of cooperation.
The cooperation between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan has been developing rapidly in recent years. The signing of the Strategic Partnership Declaration between the two countries within the framework of the Turkmen President's visit to Azerbaijan in August 2017 raised bilateral relations to a qualitatively new level, particularly in transportation area that will boost the trade-economic relations.
Bilateral relations have gained even more importance after signing Azerbaijani-Turkmen documents in November 2018.
Trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $133.1 million in 2018. $24 million accounted for exports to Turkmenistan, and $109 million imports from Turkmenistan.
Bilateral relations in transport and trade are expected to further intensify with Turkmenistan’s joining the Southern Gas Corridor by implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline aimed at delivery of Turkmen gas to Europe, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project to transport Turkmen exports, Lapis Lazuli transport corridor and International North-South Transport Corridor projects.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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