Central Asian states start to co-operate in energy

Apr 09, 1999 02:00 AM

Transportation and energy projects will become priority directions in co-operation among Central Asian states in the XXI century.
This was stressed by the presidents of the five states of the region in their statements at the sixth session of the Interstate Council on problems of the Aral Sea.
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the joint Declaration signed in Ashkhabad says, will focus their attention on the elaboration and the further effective operation of the Transcaucasian and Eurasian transport corridors. It is also planned to work out a co-ordinated tariffs policy.
The sides agreed to take urgent measures for the implementation of joint projects of laying oil and gas pipelines, the construction of electric-power transmission lines for the "transportation of energy resources to world markets."
The document notes that it is necessary to raise to a higher level the development of gas and oil fields, which meets the strategic interests of the region.
The agenda of the summit of the Central Asian states included issues concerning the determination of political milestones of co-operation on the threshold of the XXI century.
President of Turkmenia Saparmurat Niyazov stated that it was necessary to work out new non-standard approaches which would ensure to the region and each country adequate reaction to all challenges of time.
President of Uzbekistan backed Saparmurat Niyazov's proposal on the introduction of a visa regime stressing that in the light of the recent events in Tashkent he regarded this issue as one of the most actual matters.
In particular, the orientation towards China will become the main direction for transportation and gas and oil pipeline projects of both Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
This was stated by president of Turkmenistan in reply to a question by journalists about the gist of his talks with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev held at the Ashkhabad airport immediately after the Kazakh president's arrival.
In the XXI century the Chinese direction will become a priority for both states, the president of Turkmenistan noted. "And already now we have begun to discuss the possibilities of joint efforts in this field," he added.
As is known, the projects of the oil pipeline from Kazakhstan and the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan are orientated towards the Chinese market. The technical and economic substantiation studies of these projects are under way.

This was the third meeting of the CIS Central Asian heads of state in Ashkhabad since the time they gained their independence.
Their first summit was held in December 1991, following the Byelovezhye decisions (Eds: the Ukrainian, Byelorussian and Russian presidents declared the collapse of the Soviet Union at that meeting).
The second -- in January 1998 when the four high guests made an unsuccessful attempt to convince Niyazov to join the Central Asian Union of which the four states were members.
Ashkhabad also hosted the leaders of the Central Asian countries in May 1996 and 1997 when the Turkmen capital was the venue for summits of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation.

The Central Asian states understood the need for pooling efforts to tackle the Aral problem in the first years of independence, despite their economic difficulties.
It is considered virtually impossible to restore the Aral in its former size. Therefore, the discussion now concerns mostly the ecological revitalisation of the region.
Participants in the summit also considered various aspects of security and co-operation in the Central Asian region.

Source: Itar-Tass via Newspage
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