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TASHKENT (TCA) — Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov started a two-day visit to Uzbekistan on April 23.

Berdymukhammedov and Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev discussed economic, political, and cultural ties between the neighboring countries as well as regional and international affairs, Mirziyoyev's office said.

Sources close to the Turkmen government told RFE/RL that the construction of the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural-gas pipeline was on the agenda for talks during the visit.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.

Economically struggling Turkmenistan hopes the pipeline will be built after years of discussion and generate revenues from the export of Turkmen natural gas to new markets.

During the talks the two presidents noted that in the first quarter of this year, the trade turnover between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan increased by 55 percent. Now it is important to preserve and increase this dynamic, said Mirziyoyev, as reported by his press service.

It was noted that there are all the possibilities for bringing the volume of trade to $500 million by 2020.

To achieve these goals, it is necessary to use the maximum potential of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation.

Fruitful meetings at various levels have given new dynamic to cooperation between the two countries, filling it with practical content. In March, the National Industrial Exhibition of Uzbekistan was successfully held in Ashgabat. These days Tashkent hosts the National Exhibition of Turkmenistan and a business forum of businesspeople of the two countries, the Uzbek president’s press service reported.

The presidents agreed to develop cooperation in the sphere of transport and transit, thereby increasing the volume of mutual trade.

Agreements have been reached on joint production of agricultural machinery and automobiles, delivery of oil and oil products, and expansion of trade between border regions of the two countries.

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