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ASHGABAT, Oct. 9 – Latvian president Valdis Zatlers paid his first official visit to Turkmenistan on Oct. 8. He held talks with Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Ashgabat, as reported by the state news agency TDH.
The main item on the agenda for the talks was trade and economic partnership. Berdymukhammedov noted that while the total value of trade between the two countries was just $1.7 million [USD] in 2006, it had already exceeded $58 million by the end of July this year.
Focusing on the subject of cooperation in the transport and communications sectors, a priority for both countries, Berdymukhammedov commented that a new long-distance railway linking Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran was opened at the end of last year that serves as an important link in the development of a north-south transport corridor, reports TDH.
On Oct. 9, work continued on the modernisation of the port of Turkmenbashi on the shores of the Caspian, which will significantly increase its capacity to handle freight shipped east to west along the South Caucasus transport corridor and onward to Europe. President Berdymukhammedov invited Latvian business representatives to join his country in mutually beneficial cooperation, including the port project. In that context, both presidents also signed an agreement on establishing an air link between Turkmenistan and Latvia.
In discussing the importance given by the Latvian government to establishing mutually beneficial relations with Turkmenistan, Zatlers cited the size of his delegation which was larger than any other in the history of Latvian-Turkmen relations. The Latvian delegation included a large contingent of businessmen and also some 20 journalists, the president stated. As Zatlers’s visit to Turkmenistan concluded, he invited Berdymukhammedov to visit Latvia.