Putin in SCO meeting with Berdimuhamedov says Russia aims to diversify economic ties with Turkmenistan
Russian President Vladimir Putin told Turkmen counterpart Serdar Berdimuhamedov that Russia aims to diversify economic ties with Turkmenistan, with the commitment coming during the meeting of the two leaders on the sidelines of the annual summit of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on September 15.
Putin said that there were “190 enterprises with Russian participation operating in Turkmenistan” and that Russia planned to diversify ties into economic areas including agriculture and textiles.
Turkmenistan is not an SCO member, but it was invited to the summit as a guest.
At the meeting with Putin, Berdimuhamedov praised Russia for its “firm and unwavering support of Turkmenistan’s neutral foreign policy course”.
Though there are many interests in Europe who would like to Turkmenistan commit to building a trans-Caspian pipeline for deliveries from its massive gas reserves to the European market, many analysts conclude that it is not enthusiastic about such a project due to its loyalties to Moscow.
As the SCO summit got under way, Berdimuhamedov met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Turkmenistan also has loyalties to Beijing, with China the market for almost all of its gas exports. Xi told Berdimuhamedov the gas cooperation between their two countries should be expanded.
Berdimuhamedov said Ashgabat highly valued its strategic partnership with Beijing.