Iran’s president visits Turkmenistan to enhance cooperation

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat on March 27 on a state visit to enhance bilateral ties. President Rouhani held talks with his Turkmen counterpart, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, to discuss bilateral and regional issues.

Speaking at the meeting of the high-ranking delegations of Iran and Turkmenistan, President Rouhani spoke about cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkmenistan in different fields, especially energy, transit and transportation, Mehr News Agency reported.

Rouhani said that “beginning of the project of the third line of power transport from Iran to Turkmenistan, new cooperation in the field of oil and gas in Caspian Sea and providing loans for the development of transport between the two countries can be new steps in economic relations between the two countries.”

Stressing that Iranian road companies are ready to provide services to and carry out projects in Turkmenistan, he said “it was decided that we will soon witness bus export from Iran to Turkmenistan.”

On the need to establish close ties between border provinces of Iran and Turkmenistan, Iran’s President said “Iran and Turkmenistan have ample cultural and historical commonalities, through taking advantage of which we must further grow cooperation in various fields such as science, research and technology, communications and tourism.”

He then referred to the importance of establishing direct Tehran-Ashgabat flight.

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, in turn, expressed happiness over President Rouhani’s visit to the country during Nowruz and said “relations between Iran and Turkmenistan have always been brotherly and amicable for many years.”

“Today, Tehran-Ashgabat relations in various political, economic, trade and cultural fields are at a high level,” he continued.

Turkmenistan’s president described Caspian Sea as the sea of peace and security and added that “cooperation between Iran and Turkmenistan at the shores and waters of the Caspian, as well as special economic zones must further develop.”

President Rouhani was on the first leg of a two-day tour that will also take him to Azerbaijan.

As President Rouhani began his visit to the two countries on Tuesday, he said there existed “enormous capacities for an all-embracing development of relations” between Tehran, Baku and Ashgabat which would be on the agenda of talks, PressTV reported.

“One of the goals of the (Iranian) administration is proximity with the neighboring countries. In this trip, besides developing traditional trade and economic relations with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, the issue of the regional transit and connecting southern waters to the Central Asian region and the Caucasus is important,” he told reporters.

Rouhani said two railway projects linking Chabahar port in southeast Iran to Central Asia and Rasht in northern Iran to Astara in Azerbaijan are currently in progress.

Sergey Kwan

TCA