MINSK, 10 October (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko has arrived in Turkmenistan on a working visit. The aircraft with the Belarusian head of state on board has landed in the Ashgabat International Airport, BelTA has learned.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is expected to take part in a session of the CIS Heads of State Council in Ashgabat on 11 October. The summit's agenda includes matters concerning the development of interaction in the Commonwealth of Independent States, including strategic economic cooperation, interaction in law enforcement and military affairs, fight against terrorism and extremism.
The CIS leaders are expected to pass a statement addressed to nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the international community on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Soviet nation's victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.
A session of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council took place in Ashgabat ahead of the summit. Participants of the session approved a number of draft resolutions slated for consequent consideration of the heads of state. The ministers also approved an action program on stepping up partnership between the ministries of foreign affairs.
According to the CIS Executive Committee, the CIS Heads of State Council will discuss eight draft documents aimed at further enhancement of economic cooperation and foreign policy partnership, at ensuring security and counteracting new challenges and threats.
The items on the agenda include the matter of presidency in the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2020. Turkmenistan is expected to take over presidency from Uzbekistan while Belarus and Turkmenistan will act as co-presidents.
The expanded session of the CIS Council of Heads of State will look into a draft declaration on strategic and economic partnership. The agenda will also include such documents as a convention on the transfer of non-custodial penal sanctions, an agreement on a joint sapper unit for humanitarian demining in the armed forces of the CIS states, an agreement on cooperation in counteracting corruption, a program on cooperation in fighting terrorism and other violent manifestations of extremism in 2020-2022.
Aleksandr Lukashenko will traditionally hold a series of talks with his foreign counterparts on the sidelines of the summit to discuss bilateral cooperation. For example, a meeting with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has been arranged. “The presidents will discuss ways to develop and strengthen relations between the two countries. It is no secret that we have certain disagreements in our relations. But I am convinced that during the upcoming meeting and future contacts we will find a way to settle the issues that, unfortunately, exist in our relations,” Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told BelTA.
Speaking about possible ways to resolve these issues, Vladimir Makei suggested waiting to see what the upcoming meeting of the heads of state will produce. He also noted that Belarus and Turkmenistan can find a compromise. “Indeed, there is an understanding of how we could cut this Gordian knot,” the minister said.
It is commonly known that the situation around the Garlyk mining and processing factory is the main problem in Belarus-Turkmenistan relations. Ambassador of Belarus to Turkmenistan Vyacheslav Beskosty explained there are many aspects to the conflict and there is no one side that bears full guilt or responsibility. “Our approach and our vision of the situation state that at some point in time the Turkmen side stopped financing the work to finish the construction of the Garlyk mining and processing factory. Respectively our specialists had to suspend construction and tuning operations. This is why we have this situation, mutual claims have emerged, and the sides sue each other in the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce,” the diplomat said.
At the same time Aleksandr Lukashenko recently spoke in favor of resolving the problem as soon as possible taking into account the historically friendly nature of bilateral relations. The topic was also raised as the Belarusian ambassador presented credentials to the president of Turkmenistan on 9 October. “President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow personally told me that they are ready to look for mutually acceptable solutions,” Vyacheslav Beskosty said.