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U.S-Turkmenistan Relations

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov signs the East-West gas pipeline in Shatlyk, Turkmenistan. (File)

Relations between the United States and Turkmenistan, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, have never been stronger

Relations between the United States and Turkmenistan, said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake, have never been stronger. In upcoming talks in April, leaders from both countries will discuss growing commercial relations between the U.S. and Turkmenistan, as well as the importance of building civil society and democratic institutions and ensuring respect for human rights.

U.S. Turkmenistan Relations
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The United States appreciates the support that Turkmenistan provides to Afghanistan and its leadership on increasing regional connectivity and economic cooperation. The U.S. and Turkmenistan share an interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Afghanistan. Turkmenistan is an important partner in advancing the New Silk Road vision of greater regional and economic integration.

Turkmenistan is taking steps to develop its regional infrastructure, including the building of a rail line that will provide a new trade route and outlet for Afghan goods through the Caspian Sea. More rail lines are planned. Moreover, a new bridge was just completed over the Amu Darya River, with several more in the works.

Energy is an area where Turkmenistan stands poised to make its greatest contribution to the New Silk Road effort. The most notable example is the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India, or TAPI, natural gas pipeline project. Much work remains to be done to make this project a reality, particularly in creating the commercial framework that will allow a major international oil company to participate in developing the gas fields that will feed the pipeline.

Turkmenistan's announcement that it will pursue World Trade Organization membership is very important for expanding trade not only with the United States but with countries in the region. According to 2012 import data from each of the five Central Asian countries, intra-regional trade stands at a meager $3 billion, only 6.2 percent of total imports into Central Asia. The United States is committed to providing technical assistance to Turkmenistan as it seeks to join the WTO.

The United States looks forward to discussing the steps Turkmenistan has taken toward fulfilling the New Silk Road vision and to exploring ways that the United States can partner with Turkmenistan to create a peaceful and prosperous future for the region.