On 12 December, an international conference was held in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat to mark 20 years of neutrality of the Central Asian country. Director for Central Asia Andreas Peschke represented Germany at the conference.
Organised by Turkmenistan and the United Nations, the conference was attended by numerous heads of state and government from the region including Afghanistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, China and India. All in all, almost 100 countries and organisations were represented.
During the international conference, Andreas Peschke emphasised the positive contribution Turkmenistan has made to increase stability in Central Asia. In his talks with the Turkmen Deputy Foreign Minister Wepa Hajiyev, the Director for Central Asia underscored Germany’s interest in building on relations with Turkmenistan. He also emphasised the importance of human rights and an open society. Turkmenistan has made progress in these areas but still has a long way to go.
On 13 December, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan together with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan and Vice-President Hamid Ansari of India laid the foundation stone for the so‑called TAPI Pipeline. This gas pipeline is to link Turkmenistan, which has the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves, with Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Germany believes such a project would greatly bolster the economic development of the entire region.
Germany is also supporting projects to build a gas pipeline across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and on to Europe. This could play a key role in securing and diversifying our energy supplies.