Regular high-level meetings, efficient solutions, regular upgrading of the legal framework have long been the characteristic feature of the continuous process of cooperation between Turkmenistan and Belarus. Another visit by the Belarusian leader to Turkmenistan has become a logical component of the unwritten law of consistency that the two countries have worked out over many years. The leaders of the two countries met once again not only as trusted partners, but also as reliable friends.
The heads of state discussed one on one the pace of development of bilateral cooperation. Then, the talks continued in an expanded format with participation of the delegations. During the meeting, the sides focused on development of partnership at the international arena, as well as in the trade-economic sphere, science, education, tourism and sport.
After the talks, the sides signed a set of bilateral documents. The leaders of the two countries signed the Joint Statement. The heads of state also witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Cooperation in combating crime; a Plan of Action for implementation of the Program for Cooperation in the field of culture and art for 2017-2020; a Protocol on approval of the list of goods for the Agreement on the value added tax exemption for goods imported by the Turkmen-Belarusian Trade House to the Republic of Belarus and by the Belarusian-Turkmen Trade House to Turkmenistan; and the Program of Cooperation in the field of tourism for 2017-2018. The sides also signed bilateral documents on cooperation between the higher education establishments of Turkmenistan and Belarus.
The inauguration of the new building of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in Ashgabat became a visual symbol of strengthening of Turkmen-Belarusian relations. A year ago, the Turkmen diplomats celebrated their moving into a beautiful embassy building in the center of Minsk. This time, congratulations were addressed to the Belarusian diplomats working in Turkmenistan. The heads of two states attended the ceremony.
To the applause of the ceremony participants, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko cut the ribbon and toured the new embassy building that provides all conditions for the work of diplomats. The building was erected in the territory of the diplomatic village in the southern part of the Turkmen capital that is already populated by the diplomatic missions of several countries. The design of the buildings of the diplomatic missions is in tune with the architectural features of Ashgabat. The heads of state took part in the ceremony of planting trees in front of the Embassy's administrative building.
However, the top event of the visit was the official ceremony of commissioning of the Ore Mining and Processing Plant for production of potash fertilizers in the village of Garlyk in Lebap province in eastern Turkmenistan that was attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Alexander Lukashenko.
The heads of state cut the symbolic ribbon at the central gate of the plant and launched the production line of the Ore Mining and Processing Plant for production of potash fertilizers.
Belarusian JSC Belgorkhimprom was the chief project contractor. The new industrial plant boasts over 100 facilities with modern equipment and technologies supplied by the well-known manufacturers of special equipment from Germany, Switzerland, UK, Denmark, USA, Russia and Belarus.
The production facilities will annually receive more than 7 million tons of ore from the mines to ensure the planned output of 1.4 million tons. The potash plant's output capacity is expected to gradually reach 4 million tons of potash fertilizers per year, the demand for which is very high at the world market. The Garlyk field potassium reserves exceed 2 billion tons.
Assessing the results of work, the President of Turkmenistan noted that the newly commissioned largest plant serves as the basis for development of the new branch of the national industry in the mining and chemical sphere. More than 1600 new jobs have been created at the Garlyk potash plant that will contribute to raising the standard of living of the population in the region and development of Turkmenistan's industry as a whole. The ongoing great work for development of the chemical industry, which is one of the main branches of the national economy of Turkmenistan, brings positive results.
The efficient use of local raw materials opens opportunities for production of a wide range of chemical products, which are in great demand both in the country and abroad.
Congratulating everyone on the landmark event - the launch of the Garlyk Ore Mining and Processing Plant - the Turkmen leader said that this largest production facility of the mining and chemical industry is evidence of the Turkmen-Belarusian economic partnership.
President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko congratulated the people of Turkmenistan on the important event - the opening of the Garlyk Ore Mining and Processing Plant that was built by the large team of workers, one third of which were Byelorussians and two thirds were Turkmen. Having overcome all the obstacles, we jointly managed to finish the construction of this extremely complex facility, the guest said.
Central Asia's largest plant for production of potash fertilizers has been erected by the workers of the two countries in the region that is rich in natural resources. A new branch of the mining and chemical industry has been created from scratch using state-of-the-art technologies in this field. The fulfillment of this task has become both a serious examination and a great experience that will come in handy. After all, judging by the plans, Turkmenistan's economy is expected to demonstrate strong growth in a few years.
The construction of the Garlyk plant has set a new high-speed regime for the implementation of similar projects in the post-Soviet space, Alexander Lukashenko said. We managed to keep the optimal cost of construction, which is unprecedented for this kind of facilities, and maintain both the quality and pace of construction.
The Belarusian President noted that this landmark event symbolized a significant historic step for the people of Turkmenistan. After completion of construction of two more such facilities, as envisaged in the plans, Turkmenistan will join the world leading producers of potash fertilizers. Using its own potash fertilizers, the agricultural industry of Turkmenistan will be able to increase competitiveness of its products at the foreign markets and export revenues.
It is of fundamental importance that Belarus and Turkmenistan will start mutually beneficial cooperation in the new area, the high guest emphasized. He sincerely thanked his Turkmen counterpart for his trust and mutual understanding.
Then, the heads of state pressed the button on the control panel to launch the entire production line of this industrial giant. The launching of the production process was displayed on the screens that help to conduct real-time monitoring of all stages of production and, if necessary, make quick adjustments.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President Alexander Lukashenko wrote the first entry in the Book of Honored Guests and took a tour by car in the territory of the new plant. The heads of state viewed mine shafts, an ore storage, a plant for enrichment and crystallization of potash products and a warehouse of ready-to-ship products. The heads of state also got acquainted with the working conditions at the plant.
Upon completion of viewing of the production facilities, the heads of state flew by helicopters to the city of Turkmenabat. At the airport of the administrative center of Lebap province, the Turkmen and Belarusian leaders said a warm good-bye to each other. Then, President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko flew to Minsk, and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov returned to Ashgabat.
The next page of the chronicle of the fruitful bilateral cooperation has been turned over, yet this page is far from being the last one.