Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan agree to cooperate at Ashgabat

ASHGABAT: The President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif and President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani agreed to cooperate on regional political and economic issues at the Global Conference on Sustainable Transport here, in Ashgabat.

The conference, held with support of the United Nations (UN), was attended by more than 80 international delegations, the leaders of multiple countries, and heads of international organisations, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.

The conference focused on sustainable transportation, environmental change, city transport system and transport communication between cities and villages, financing the transportation sector, international cooperation in transportation, development of multilateral transport corridors and infrastructure, as well as road safety.

Nawaz Sharif announced Pakistan’s decision to join the Ashgabat Agreement and the Lapis Lazuli Corridor. The Ashgabat Agreement is a transport pact between Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The Lapis Lazuli Corridor is for enhancing trade cooperation between Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Earlier, Nawaz held a meeting with President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on Friday and discussed matters relating to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

He also reiterated Islamabad’s commitment to a lasting peace in Afghanistan in a meeting with Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of the conference.

“Peaceful neighbourhood is a key pillar of Pakistan’s policy. Without regional peace and stability, we will not be able to reap the benefits of regional connectivity and integration,” he said.

Referring to China’s one-belt one-road initiative, Sharif said that it is a package of multiple infrastructure and development projects that will boost connectivity in the region, help integrate South Asia, China, Central Asia and the Middle East and offer opportunities for hundreds of millions of people in this region.

The leaders of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan discussed the preparation for the commissioning of the first stage of the Asia International Railway Corridor (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan railroad).

Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that Turkmenistan is tied with Afghanistan by unbreakable bonds of friendship and centuries-old historical and cultural unity.