Turkmenistan’s foreign minister sent to raise funds for Asian Games

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — Over the past few days Turkmenistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov has visited Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan where he held meetings with his counterparts and heads of state, the Chronicles of Turkmenistan independent website reported on July 20. Issues related to cooperation in various areas were discussed in the course of the meetings, but Radio Azatlyk reported with reference to its sources in the government that Meredov was sent on this trip by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov who, via Meredov, requested the heads of the states to provide financial aid to Turkmenistan, as the country urgently needs at least $1.5 billion to host the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games to be held in Ashgabat this September.

According to Radio Azatlyk source, so far Meredov has not managed to extract any concrete promises. Moreover, the Turkmen President personally discussed the provision of financial assistance with Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev when he paid a visit to Astana on 10 June. After that both presidents had a telephone conversation on Berdymukhammedov’s birthday. “However, it appears that he is in a bad mood as he failed to collect a considerable amount of money so far,” the source at Radio Azatlyk said.

Turkmenistan has already spent $5 billion for the preparation for the Asian Games. If this amount is compared with the expenses of other countries to host the Olympics, rather than regional Asian Games, Turkmenistan is surpassed only by Russia with over $50 billion spent on the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, UK with $14.8 billion, Spain $11.4 billion, and China $5.5 billion. If the cost of the new Ashgabat airport is to be added to this amount, Turkmenistan will outperform China’s spending for the Beijing Olympics.

Sergey Kwan

TCA