ASHGABAT (TURKMENISTAN), July 11 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will witness the signing of five documents that will further strengthen the existing close bilateral relations between both countries during his first official visit to Turkmenistan from July 11 to 12.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the first document was the memorandum of cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce of Turkmenistan and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia.
The second was Gas Sales Agreement between Malaysia’s national oil corporation, Petronas, and the state agency for management of use of hydrocarbon resources under the President of Turkmenistan and Turkmen Gas, Anifah told a press conference ahead of Najib’s visit here.
The third is a memorandum between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Turkmenistan on cooperation in the field of oil and gas and the fourth, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of Turkmenistan on cooperation on foreign affairs issues.
Anifah said the fifth was a joint Turkmenistan-Malaysia communique issued on the occasion of the official visit of Najib to Turkmenistan.
This will be Najib’s first official visit to Turkmenistan since becoming prime minister on April 3, 2009, at the invitation of Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Najib, who will arrive here this afternoon, will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Anifah and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop during the visit.
“And during the visit, Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri (Najib) will hold bilateral discussions with the president on issues that are of common interest and common concern between Malaysia and Turkmenistan,” Anifah said.
Tomorrow, Najib and Berdimuhamedov will both inaugurate the Petronas Gas Terminal in Kiyanli, Turkmenbasy, about 600km from here.
“The objective of this visit is also to reaffirm continuous and firm commitment to further strengthen our bilateral relations with Turkmenistan and also to broaden the framework of our bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interests and, of course, mutual benefits,” Anifah added.
He said Malaysia and Turkmenistan enjoyed close and warm relations since diplomatic relations were established in 1992.
In view of the close relations, he said Malaysia had agreed to set up its mission (embassy) here in the near future.
“We view Turkmenistan as a very strategic partner in Central Asia and we look forward to working closely with Turkmenistan and, of course, in areas that I’ve mentioned earlier, especially in oil and gas, of which our presence here is very much recognised,” he said.
On trade, he said there were ample opportunities available in Turkmenistan and although trade with Turkmenistan was relatively small currently, much could be done to increase the volume.
In terms of trade relations, Turkmenistan is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner in the Central Asian region. Total trade between the two countries in 2010 was recorded at US$29.75 million, compared to US$205.61 million in 2009.
“There are ample of opportunities here, one is of course oil and gas, but there’ll be other opportunities like they are very much in need of electrical and electronics (goods) and they are also talking about the possibility of giving opportunities to Malaysians to start industrial parks.
“And this is why there will be a memorandum of understanding to be signed by chambers of commerce of both countries. And thereafter they will work out and see what are the possibilities. And Petronas is also looking towards working together with Turkmen Gas on the opportunities in other third countries,” Anifah said.
He said although Malaysia and Turkmenistan enjoyed good bilateral relations, they were not reflected in their bilateral trade.
“So in areas of education, tourism and medical tourism we could also offer to them and they are very keen to send their students to Malaysia to study,” he added.
Source : Bernama