TEHRAN – The 16th meeting of the Iran-Turkmenistan Joint Economic Committee was held on Tuesday after a two-year hiatus in Tehran, IRNA reported.

As reported, the meeting was chaired by Iranian Minister of Transport and Urban Development Rostam Qassemi, and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov.

According to Qassemi, the two sides signed a protocol at the end of the meeting to deepen cooperation in various fields, including gas, energy, transport, media and electricity.

“Unfortunately, the level of economic and trade relations between the two countries has declined over the past two years, but following two days of negotiations, a joint memorandum of cooperation is signed between the two parties, which will mark the start of a new chapter in economic relations between the two countries, ”Qassemi told reporters after the meeting.

“We hope that the new phase of relations which has started between the two countries will be long term,” he added.

In the transport sector, it was decided to increase the traffic of the fleet at the borders, to increase the working hours of the border terminals, to extend the cooperation in maritime and rail transport in customs and to implement implement the customs cooperation document; while in the trade sector, we have agreed to develop trade in accordance with the regulations of the two countries and prepare the ground for a preferential trade agreement, the official explained.

He also referred to the cooperation agreement in the development of relations between the free zones of the two countries, especially in the free zone of Sarakhs, and said: “We will use the capacity of the free zones to organize joint exhibitions”.

The two sides also agreed to expand interprovincial cooperation and prepare the ground for the presence of Iranian companies to participate in Turkmenistan’s construction projects such as bridges, roads and housing.

Cooperation between scientific and research centers, holding of training courses for medical personnel and cooperation in sports and tourism sectors were also agreed at the mentioned meeting.

Meredov for his part said the two countries can cooperate in the fields of energy, transport, transit, water and trade facilities.

“It was decided to have the highest level of bilateral trade and transit links in terms of quantity and quality,” Meredov said.

The 15th meeting of the Iran-Turkmenistan Joint Economic Committee was held in Ashgabat in October 2019, according to which an economic memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries.


Photo: Iranian Transport Minister Rostam Qassemi (left) and Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov