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Turkmenistan to supply Afghanistan with free electricity

Jul 06, 2007 - Asia Pulse

Turkmenistan has promised to supply electricity worth US$300,000 to energy-starved Afghanistan, with the neighbours agreeing to reinforce cooperation in different fields including trade, commerce, diplomacy and culture.

The electricity will be supplied free of cost to the war-battered country as a goodwill gesture, Turkmen and Afghan presidents told a joint news conference following a formal meeting here on Thursday.

Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, charactersing his talks with Hamid Karzai as very useful and productive, said the two countries enjoyed good trade and cultural ties. He hoped the bilateral relationship would grow further with time.

His government would lay a railway line linking two dry ports - Torghundi and Aqeena in Afghanistan's Herat and Faryab provinces - with Turkmenistan, Berdymukhamedov announced.

The Turkmen leader said they also discussed a long-delayed 1700 kilometre gas pipeline - traversing Herat, Farah, Helmand and Kandahar provinces in Afghanistan before reaching Pakistan.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed between the three countries on July 4, 2006, Turkmenistan agreed to supply Pakistan through Afghanistan with 3.2 billion cubic feet of gas on a daily basis for a period of 30 years.

The trilateral pipeline project, when executed, is expected to earn cash-strapped Afghanistan US$300 million annually in transit fees and throw up employment opportunities.

Lauding Turkmenistan's assistance, Karzai invited his counterpart to visit Afghanistan and said the exchange of high-level trips would go a long way in boosting links between the two Central Asian nations.

The two sides signed a protocol on bilateral consultations between Afghan and Turkmen foreign ministries and a memorandum of understanding on transit trade and transportation.

The visiting dignitary will place a floral wreath at the mausoleum of former Turkmen president Safar Murad Niazov, go to a historical museum in Ashgabat, receive a honourary professorial degree from the Turkmenistan University and address its students.

An 80-member delegation including cabinet ministers, legislators and entrepreneurs are accompanying Karzai on the tour largely focused on Afghan-Turkmen trade relations.

(Pajhwok Afghan News)

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