Expert: Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan attach particular importance to increasing the level of strategic partnership
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- Deputy Director of the International Institute of Central Asia (MICA) Bakhtiyor Mustafayev shared such an assessment of the results of the negotiations between the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, held on 4-5 October this year.
The expert emphasized that the high results achieved following the talks between the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov once again demonstrated the decisive disposition of the parties to deepen good-neighborliness and friendship, increase the level of trust and strategic partnership, consistent development and strengthening of multifaceted interaction.
Turkmenistan is the closest neighbor and reliable partner of Uzbekistan, time-tested. This constant was once again emphasized by the leader of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who is rightfully the "architect" of modern Uzbek-Turkmen relations, during a press conference following talks with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
According to B. Mustafayev, the results of the state visit of Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Turkmenistan, which took place in March 2017, gave a powerful impetus to the expansion and deepening of multifaceted cooperation.
The strategic partnership is based on more than 250 agreements and treaties at the interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental levels, among which the Strategic Partnership Agreement, signed in March 2017, is of great importance.
At present, bilateral cooperation is developing along an ascending trajectory, filling with new weighty practical content.
The results of the current negotiations were no exception. The parties signed a solid package of documents - 23 agreements and programs aimed at key areas of multifaceted interaction.
The expert emphasized that trade and economic cooperation is the cornerstone of the Uzbek-Turkmen relations. At present, the Intergovernmental Commission on Bilateral Cooperation and the Uzbek-Turkmen Business Council are successfully functioning.
The signing within the framework of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s visit to Uzbekistan of the Agreement on the establishment of a border trade zone will undoubtedly open a new page in bilateral economic relations. The creation of such new mechanisms of interaction, according to B. Mustafayev, will further ensure a rapid growth in the volume of mutual trade, which has tripled over the past four years and amounted to US$527 million in 2020.
The intensification of interregional ties is indicated as a driver of bilateral economic cooperation. During the talks, the heads of state positively assessed the results of the visits of the leaders of Lebap and Dashoguz velayats of Turkmenistan to Bukhara and Khorezm regions of Uzbekistan on 22 September this year. As the expert pointed out, the length of the Uzbek-Turkmen border is 1,831 km, along which there are 4 Uzbek and 2 Turkmen regions with a consumer market of over 11 million people.
In this regard, given the role of interregional ties in strengthening mutual understanding and cohesion between the two countries and peoples, the Presidents of the two countries stressed the importance of organizing annual forums of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. An agreement was reached to hold the first meeting in this format in Khiva in 2022.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, due to their geographical location, are actively working to build up bilateral transport and transit potential.
Despite the limitations of the pandemic, thanks to joint efforts, the volume of mutual cargo transportation since the beginning of the year has grown by 14% and amounted to 1.2 million tons. In order to further strengthen cooperation in the field of transport, during the talks, the heads of state discussed the implementation of joint infrastructure projects that will serve to strengthen interconnection along the North-South and West-East lines.
Significant is the willingness of the parties to further strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in the water sector. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted with satisfaction the start of the work of the joint Uzbek-Turkmen commission on water management issues, the first meeting of which was held on 13 September 2021. Undoubtedly, this commission will allow not only to take joint measures for the rational use of water resources, but will also contribute to the implementation of joint projects to prevent water shortages against the background of the negative consequences of climate change.
In this context, B. Mustafayev drew attention to the FAO data, according to which the level of pressure on water resources in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is critical (more than 100 percent). The volumes of water that these countries use account for 169 percent and 144 percent of their water supplies, respectively. According to the World Bank forecasts, by 2050 the water flow in the Amu Darya basin will decrease by 10-15%, which will further increase the water shortage.
In general, against the background of strengthening Uzbek-Turkmen relations, it is safe to say that the meeting between the presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will raise interstate relations to the next strategic level and open up new prospects for the further development of mutually beneficial cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of the two fraternal countries.