Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov: Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan demonstrate close interaction

At the expanded government meeting in Ashgabat, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized the significance of development of friendly relations with South Caucasian countries and highlighted the close interactions with Azerbaijan, a message from the Turkmen government said on Dec.21.
“A great importance is attached to the development of friendly relations with South Caucasian countries in Turkmenistan’s international cooperation. When coming to our closest neighbors, the president said that the close interaction of Turkmenistan with Azerbaijan has already been highlighted,” a message from the Turkmen government said.

The president paid attention to the fact that the development of close and multilateral interaction with the closest neighbors such as Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan is the most important direction of foreign policy of the neutral Turkmenistan, according to the message.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov believes that the cooperation with the region’s states should be built on the principles of mutual understanding and trust.
“These positive factors have a great significance for reaching dynamic economic and social development of the region, successful integration to the global economic system and attraction of investments to our country,” Turkmen president said.

Turkmenistan is one of the key players in the energy market of the Caspian Sea region and Central Asia. In accordance to the Oil and Gas Industry Development Programme, it is planned to increase the natural gas production there to 250 billion cubic meters in 2030 and the major part of it will be considered for export.
Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, which cooperate in the Caspian Sea region, are interested in using alternative routes for delivering energy resources of the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Turkmenistan’s hydrocarbon resources can be delivered to Europe through the Caspian Sea by constructing around 300 kilometers long pipeline under the sea to the coast of Azerbaijan. From there, the fuel can be directed to Turkey, which has common borders with the European countries.

The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline could be a part of large-scale projects of “Southern gas Corridor”. Ashgabat believes that for laying pipes under the Caspian Sea, the legal status of which has not been determined yet, the consent of the countries (Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan), the territories of which are covered by the project, is sufficient.

In turn, Azerbaijan expressed readiness to offer its territory, transit opportunities and infrastructure for the implementation of the project, as stated by representatives of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR).

The Turkmen leadership has repeatedly stated its readiness to conduct ecological examination by involving international experts.
It was earlier reported that Turkmenistan and the EU will hold negotiations in Ashgabat by late 2013 or early 2014 on implementation of Trans-Caspian project. To this end, the European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger plans to visit Ashgabat.

“At the initial stage the main issue is the ecological examination with participation of international experts,” a source close to the negotiations told Trend.