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Turkmenistan, UK Discuss Ties & Sign Cooperation Deals

By Aygerim Sarymbetova April 27, 2024


Turkmenistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredow and the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom David Cameron held a meeting in the capital Ashgabat, on April 24, 2024. / MFA Turkmenistan

Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth Affairs, and Development David Cameron discussed the dynamic growth of bilateral trade.

“We attach great importance to the development of relations with foreign countries based on friendship, equality and mutual respect. We consider it necessary to use international law and exclusively diplomatic instruments to resolve emerging conflicts,” Berdimuhamedow said while receiving Cameron in Ashgabat on April 24, according to the official website of the Turkmen foreign ministry.

The sides emphasized the positive track record of cooperation built on mutual respect, friendship, and understanding across various sectors, including political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.

The discussions also focused on the dynamic growth of bilateral trade and constructive collaboration with British companies, as well as the potential of the Turkmen-British Trade and Industry Council to further strengthen economic ties. Promising areas for future collaboration identified were the oil and gas industry, agriculture, and new technologies.

Regarding climate change issues, Berdimuhamedow emphasized Turkmenistan’s commitment to tackling climate change, aligning with international efforts, and pursuing “green” growth initiatives.

Turkmenistan announced at the recent COP28 conference in Dubai in December 2023 that it would sign the Global Methane Pledge, a voluntary agreement by more than 150 countries to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030 in an effort to slow climate change.

As one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, Turkmenistan has been described as one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane. Turkmenistan attracted global attention in the summer when scientists reported that it was responsible for the highest number of “super emitter events” in the world in 2022. The international community urges the Turkmen authorities to measure and reduce emissions from the energy sector. Methane emissions are reported to cause 25 percent of global warming today, as it traps more heat than any other greenhouse gas.

On April 24, Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredow and his British counterpart David Cameron discussed a range of issues in the political-diplomatic, trade-economic, and cultural-humanitarian areas of bilateral cooperation, as well as the regional and international agenda. The sides also discussed issues of trade and economic cooperation and noted the importance of the activities of the Turkmen-British Trade and Industry Council. The sphere of environmental protection and climate change, the “green” transition, culture, education, and others were also identified as promising areas of Turkmen-British relations during the negotiations.

Ahead of Cameron’s visit to Turkmenistan, several documents were signed between the two governments in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan on April 23.

A program of cooperation between the Turkmen Foreign Ministry and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was signed for 2024-2025. The Turkmen Environmental Protection Ministry and the British Blue Marine Foundation had signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation on the protection of biodiversity and the environment, as well as conservation efforts in the Caspian Sea. The Turkmen State Communications Agency and the British company Dialogue Events Ltd also signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation.

Cameron’s first-ever visit to Turkmenistan “will provide an opportunity for the UK to strengthen its partnership with Turkmenistan and support the country's efforts in several key areas. In particular, the UK is committed to working with Turkmenistan to tackle climate change, promote gender equality, and cooperation on education,” according to the UK embassy in Ashgabat.

The former British PM, who is on a tour of the Central Asian region, has already visited Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, where he met their presidents and senior government officials to develop closer cooperation with the countries of the region.

The total trade volume between Turkmenistan and the United Kingdom for the period from October 2022 to September 2023 amounted to £66 million (over $82.5 million), a figure that is 43.5 percent higher compared to the same period of the previous year.

Chemical products, general industrial equipment, aircraft, and electrical goods stand out among the main product groups that the UK exports to Turkmenistan. The main products imported into the UK from Turkmenistan include inorganic chemicals, mechanical generators, general industrial equipment, metal ores, and scrap.