Kazakhstan/Turkmenistan, the resource rich Central Asian Duo seeks cooperation

Published by EurasiaNet.org, Partner Post from RFE/RL, May 31, 2007.

The presidents of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Nursultan Nazarbaev and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, have held talks that both sides hope will lay the basis for close cooperation between their resource-rich Central Asian countries … // … “The two presidents said that there will be a new road from Zhetybai (Kazakhstan) to Turkmenbashi City, a distance of 237 kilometers,” Shayakhmet says. “This will part of the international corridor from Astrakhan (in Russia) to Atyrau and Aktau and on to the border of Turkmenistan. That will provide a land route from Turkmenistan to Russia. Also, besides the automotive route, they plan to reconstruct the railway link that will also, as the two presidents said, allow the transportation of Turkmen goods through Kazakhstan and Russia on to Europe.”

A New Tone: Speaking on his arrival in Astana on Monday, Berdymukhammedov indicated that he wants to lessen the isolation imposed on Turkmenistan by his late predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov. He told journalists that he wants his country to take a more active role in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) … //… There are other indications that the new leadership in Turkmenistan plans to ease the isolation. It has moved to restore passenger flights to Kazakhstan and to Russia, and it has promised to improve communications with the outside world.

In addition, on May 23, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mamedyarov traveled to Turkmenistan in the first visit by an Azerbaijani foreign minister in a decade. Relations between the two countries have been poor for years, largely because of a dispute over ownership of a Caspian Sea oil field. (full text).

Link to the latest news on the official website of Almaty (in english).

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