BRIDGE OF FRIENDSHIP
Newly elected President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev made his first foreign visit to neighboring Turkmenistan. This fact once again underscored the great importance attached by both countries to maintaining a consistently high level of good-neighborly relations between Ashgabat and Tashkent.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held talks with President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who arrived in Ashgabat on a state visit. During the one-on-one meeting, the heads of state discussed a wide range of issues related to the current state and prospects of the Turkmen-Uzbek cooperation in key areas. The sides spoke in favor of increasing cooperation in the trade and economic sphere and noted the importance of developing humanitarian and cultural contacts. The sides exchanged views on a number of topical issues of mutual interest related to the regional and international politics.
Then, the talks continued with participation of members of the official delegations of the two countries. They discussed enhancing partnership in the energy and transport sectors. The sides supported the idea of strengthening trade and economic relations, partnerships between business circles and increasing trade turnover.
The sides focused on the ways of boosting bilateral and multilateral cooperation on environmental issues, such as water management and combating desertification. The sides also reviewed issues related to cooperation in the field of tourism as well as humanitarian, scientific and sport fields.
The heads of state also stressed the commonality or similarity of positions of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the current international and regional problems. According to the sides, this is an important precondition for joining efforts to ensure sustainable development and stability in the region.
A ceremony of signing bilateral documents was held after the Turkmen-Uzbek summit talks. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed the Joint Statement and the Agreement on Strategic Cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The heads of state witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Economic Cooperation for 2018-2020; the Memorandum on Further Development of Cooperation in the field of railway transport; the Intergovernmental Program of Cooperation in the cultural-humanitarian sphere for 2017-2019; and the Program of Cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries for 2017-2018.
The sides also signed agreements on cooperation between border regions of the two countries and a number of agreements between ministries, enterprises and organizations of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. After the signing ceremony, the Presidents of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan made statements for the mass media.
After the talks, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visited the Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex located on the foothills of Kopetdag, where the distinguished guests watched the exercising of the elite horses. Riders of the group of the national equestrian games "Galkynysh" (Revival) performed for the Presidents of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
According to the ancient Turkmen tradition, an Akhal-Teke horse was presented to the head of Uzbekistan and the brotherly Uzbek people on behalf of the President and the people of Turkmenistan as a sign of inviolability of relations of friendship and good-neighborliness between the two countries.
On the following day, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev flew to the administrative center of Lebap province, the city of Turkmenabad, where they inaugurated a new railway bridge, Turkmenabat-Farab, across the Amu Darya River by cutting the symbolic ribbon. The large-scale celebration was organized on this significant occasion that included performances by the artists of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and exhibitions of arts and crafts of the two peoples.
As President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted in his speech, the freight traffic from the Asia-Pacific region and South Asia will have direct access to the Caspian Sea and further to the Black Sea and Mediterranean regions, countries of Europe, the Caucasus and the Middle East through the bridges across the Amu Darya River. They will help increase business activities, inflow of large investments and create a lot of jobs.
The new 1750-meter long railway bridge was built using the constructions with high seismic stability and operational strength that are designed to bear freight trains. The vertical clearance of the bridge is 10 meters, and the horizontal clearance is 60 meters. The bridge span structures are supported by 18 reinforced concrete pillars. Reinforced concrete piles with the diameter of 1.5 meters evenly distribute the load on pillars that go deep under water to the depth of more than 40 meters. The territories adjoining the railway bridge on both banks of the Amu Darya River were reinforced.
The bridge construction was ordered by the Ministry of Railway Transport of Turkmenistan. It was built by LLC "Road construction ALTKOM" (Ukraine). The President of Turkmenistan expressed gratitude to the management and staff of the Ukrainian company and all those who worked on construction of the unique facilities.
After the inauguration ceremony, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev became the first passengers of the train that ran along the new railway bridge. Arriving on the right bank of the Amu Darya River, the heads of state took part in the ceremony of inauguration of the Turkmenabat-Farab automobile bridge.
The motorcade carrying the Presidents of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan drove over the modern bridge over the Amu Darya River. The four-lane roadway of the bridge is 21.5-meter wide. There are 6-km long ramp interchanges adjoining the bridge to ensure safe movement of vehicles. There are also 1.5-meter wide pedestrian walkways on both sides of the bridge.
On the other side of the river, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev observed the start of car and railway traffic through the bridges. A train from Uzbekistan passed through one of the bridges, while the trucks loaded with Turkmen carbamide, textiles and other products headed to Uzbekistan through another bridge.
On the same day, a monument to the first president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, was opened in Turkmenabat. One of the streets of the administrative center of Lebap province was also named after him. The leaders of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan laid flowers at the monument to Islam Karimov.
Addressing the audience, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted Islam Karimov's great contribution to the development of the Turkmen-Uzbek interstate relations that have been always supported by the age-old ties of friendship and brotherhood of nations. The monument to the first president of the Republic of Uzbekistan is a worthy continuation of his work, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said. He expressed confidence that a high level of mutual understanding, common historical roots would continue to serve as a solid foundation for the constructive interstate cooperation.
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended a gala concert of the artists of the two countries at Rukhiyet (spirituality) Palace, concluding the Uzbek President's state visit to Turkmenistan.
The concert of friendship brought together art groups, popular variety performers and famous musicians of the two countries. They performed Turkmen and Uzbek songs, dances and folk melodies glorifying unbreakable friendship of the two peoples. Then, following the exchange of good wishes, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov bid farewell to Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the airport of the city of Turkmenabat. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev left for Tashkent upon completion of his state visit to Turkmenistan.