On July 2, 2020, a trilateral meeting was held in the form of a video conference between the Presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. The agenda of the high-level meeting included discussion of a joint project - the international transit and transport corridor along the route Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lapis Lazuli).
During a video conference on the implementation of this joint project, the heads of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev noted that the fulfillment of projects on the creation of transcontinental transit transport corridors will serve to strengthen regional and international trade and economic relations, universal sustainable development.
Warmly welcoming President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov thanked his colleagues for organizing the forum.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan emphasized that cooperation in this direction is given particular importance taking into account the global danger that the world is currently facing. As part of international efforts to combat the proliferation of COVID-19, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan have worked together effectively. In this regard, the head of state expressed his gratitude to the Afghan and Azerbaijani parties for understanding and providing comprehensive support to the initiatives of Turkmenistan to combat the coronavirus infection and reduce the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.
Turning to the issues of cooperation in the field of transport, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan are located at the crossroads of continental routes.
Considering the already outlined directions of the plan for joint cooperation in the transport sector, as well as the deadlines, the need to establish effective cooperation was emphasized. In this regard, the head of Turkmenistan put forward a number of specific proposals for actively establishing a long-term partnership in the field of transport.
Firstly, based on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lapis Lazuli) Agreement on the transport corridor, signed in Ashgabat on November 15, 2017, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed the creation of a single logistics center.
Secondly, the availability of modern, high-tech transport infrastructure is of paramount importance for increasing the efficiency of freight transportation. Aware of this, it is necessary to pay special attention to the further development of points of departure and reception of goods: seaports, railway stations and bus stations.
Thirdly, the head of state proposed a common pricing policy for the transportation of goods along the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan route and in the opposite direction. In this context, it was emphasized that the parties can discuss the issues of providing each other with various benefits - such as reducing prices (tariffs) for transit, exemption from payment for certain types of services during storage of goods.
Fourthly, the Turkmen leader proposed to consider the possibility of simplifying customs operations by introducing a control system based on the Single Window principle.
Fifthly, the need was expressed to prepare an atlas of the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan route in digital format with detailed information on the existing transport and communications infrastructure.
In order to elaborate on the initiatives voiced in detail, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov proposed holding an online meeting in July this year between leaders of the transport agencies and other relevant departments of the three countries.
Thanking the participants of the online meeting for their attention, the Turkmen leader expressed his conviction that the development of effective mechanisms and mutually agreed positions will expand cooperation that meets the real interests of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
During the meeting, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani told in their speeches that the initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan find broad support from the international community and expressed gratitude to the Turkmen counterpart for the ongoing constructive peace policy and put forward initiatives to deepen multilateral partnership in all promising areas.