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Turkmenistan, Russia Discuss Economic Ties

By Nigar Bayramli October 13, 2023

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Russia is implementing over 20 investment projects costing $3.5 billion in Turkmenistan. The transport of Russian goods to Turkmenistan nearly quadrupled in 2022 compared with the previous year. / Russia Briefing

Turkmenistan and Russia recently held discussions on enhancing trade and economic cooperation as a priority.

During a meeting with the visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk in Ashgabat on October 9, Turkmenistan's President Serdar Berdimuhamedow emphasised the good-neighbourly and constructive nature of the dialogue between the states, according to the state news agency Turkmenistan Today.

The Turkmen leader expressed confidence that Overchuk’s visit would contribute to maintaining regular contact between the two countries and promoting productive Turkmen-Russian collaboration.

The two sides exchanged views "on priority issues of bilateral cooperation based on the principles of enhanced strategic partnership, which is progressively developing across its entire spectrum".

"The priority vector of cooperation is the trade and economic sphere. Russia has for many years been one of our country's leading trade partners. Bilateral trade has maintained growth. Cooperation is successfully developing in various areas, including the oil and gas and industrial sectors, as well as other industries. The intergovernmental commission, which coordinates efforts on the whole range of issues of mutually beneficial Turkmen-Russian partnership, is working productively," the report said.

They also stressed the importance of cooperation in other fields, including science and education, health, culture and humanitarian affairs, and reaffirmed their intention to further enhance effective multifaceted cooperation.

Both sides "expressed confidence that bilateral partnership, which meets common long-term interests, will continue to successfully develop", the report said.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow attaches "great importance to deep strategic partnership with Turkmenistan”.

"The policy of positive neutrality conducted by Ashgabat is an important factor in strengthening security and stability in Central Asia and the Caspian region," Putin said in a congratulatory message to his Turkmen counterpart, on the occasion of Turkmenistan's Independence Day on September 27.

The Russian president also expressed confidence that together the two countries would be able to jointly "ensure the development of fruitful bilateral cooperation in all areas and constructive interaction in international affairs" for the benefit of the peoples of the friendly countries, the report said.

During a visit to Turkmenistan on September 27, the head of Russia's Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov told the Turkmen President that “it is necessary to give new dynamics to our economic cooperation. There is considerable potential in such sectors as the car industry, shipbuilding, gas transportation, energy, and oil production".

Tatarstan's leader underlined that "in the difficult situation in the world, cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan is of particular importance. And Tatarstan is ready to make every effort to strengthen these ties".

On September 25, President Berdimuhamedow held talks with the visiting governor of Russia's Astrakhan Region, Igor Babushkin, to discuss developing cooperation in grain supplies, launching flights, easing visa rules, and increasing the types of products in mutual trade.

The Turkmen side expressed its interest in establishing closer contacts with representatives of the business community, saying that Ashgabat will study the potential of special economic zones in Astrakhan to expand investment cooperation.

Berdimuhamedow said at the meeting that his country was "ready to consider proposals on the use of the transport and transit opportunities between the port of Turkmenbashi and the ports of Astrakhan Region".

For his part, the Russian governor spoke about the implementation of the project on the construction of a Turkmen logistics centre in the Astrakhan Region, and suggested that the sides continue to discuss the issue of opening regular sea routes between ports in Astrakhan and the port of Turkmenbashi.

"We are actively forming the Astrakhan Special Economic Port Zone. Next year we will put into operation a new container hub with the capacity of more than 3 million tonnes of cargo a year and with terminals for loading oil and grain," the governor said.

Turkmen and Russian companies signed over 50 deals worth nearly $2.2 billion, as part of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin's official visit to Turkmenistan on January 19.

These included an agreement on cooperation in the field of migration, a document on cooperation in training specialists, a protocol on cooperation in the fight against customs violations in 2023-25, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on fishery, a protocol on the integration of information systems to protect plants, an action plan (roadmap) on cooperation in the field of water use and ecology, and, an agreement on cooperation in the spheres of transport and logistics.

Russia is implementing over 20 investment projects costing $3.5 billion in Turkmenistan. The transport of Russian goods to Turkmenistan nearly quadrupled in 2022 compared with the previous year.