A video conference talks were held between Astrakhan region Governor Igor Babushkin and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, Caspian-Info Information and News portal reports. The parties discussed cooperation in such areas as trade, shipbuilding, transport and humanitarian projects.
At the beginning of the talks, the governor also expressed gratitude to the government of Turkmenistan and personally to President Berdimuhamedov for the donation provided to the Astrakhan region when high-quality Turkmen-made goods were handed over to medical staffs and social workers who are engaged in combating coronavirus infection.
“The friendly assistance of Turkmenistan in such time arouses a feeling of sincere gratitude and serves as a bright evidence of our close friendly relations. Turkmenistan is a close friend and reliable partner for Astrakhan region. We deeply value our relations and intend to fully beef up them,” Babushkin emphasized. Rashid Meredov, in turn, noted that the dynamics of the development of bilateral relations should not only be kept, but also actively promoted.
During negotiations with the head of the foreign office of Turkmenistan, Governor Igor Babushkin noted that over the past decade, Astrakhan shipyards have successfully completed a number of orders for Turkmenistan and suggested considering the possibility of cooperation in the field of joint industrial shipbuilding: for example, Astrakhan shipyards could assemble ship hulls, with following equipping at Turkmen shipbuilding enterprises. In turn, Meredov said that Turkmenistan is interested in building container ships, and in this regard, the use of Astrakhan shipyards is examined.
Also, the sides considered ways to increase trade turnover. Thus, the Astrakhan region is ready to supply the Turkmen market with grain, timber, special purpose pipes, nets and fish feed, construction and agricultural products. And the Astrakhan market has a demand for textiles produced in Turkmenistan, seasonal vegetables and fruits, cotton fiber, polypropylene and other goods.
“The mutual trade would succeed at availability of smooth-operating transport and logistics system. Thus, I suggest considering the possibility of establishing a direct ferry service between the ports of Turkmenbashi and Olya,” the Governor Babushkin said.
“Our ferry service works well in the east-west direction. However, there is a desire to develop north-south routes. In this regard, Astrakhan is our number one partner. We are actively looking for transport routes to deliver goods to Turkmenistan, and the port of Olya is of particular interest in this regard. The ferry service should become a living artery”, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov stressed, noting that the development of this area is a personal instruction of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Another issue related to the transport sector is the launch of regular flights between Astrakhan and Ashgabat. The Governor of Astrakhan region voiced the possibility of organizing seasonal air travels.
In addition, the importance of expanding humanitarian relations was also noted. In this academic year, more than 2,200 citizens of Turkmenistan are studying in Astrakhan universities. Rashid Meredov noted the high quality of higher education, received by Turkmen students, in particular in medical and marine specialties.