Saturday, July 08, 2017
Kabul (BNA) President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani attended the CASA-1000 summit in Tajikistan, where he said his administration made all efforts to translate it from a concept into a practical project, his office said in a statement the other day.
Under the project, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will supply additional electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan during the summer season.
The $1.2 billion power project is the first linking Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is expected to be completed by 2018. CASA-1000 is one of the vital regional projects and the World Bank (WB) is due to provide half of the cost.
The statement added that besides President Ghani, his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rahmon, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Suronbai Zheenbekov, WB’s high-level delegation, and representatives from the project’s member countries were present at the meeting.
President Rahmon, while welcoming the meeting participants, said CASA-1000 project’s implementation plan was launched this year. He said the project was an example of real support, benefiting the people of their countries.
He hoped the member states would further increase cooperation with each other in diverse fields,, dubbing the power project as a bridge linking all these countries.
He said the project would have a positive impact on social, economic and emergency issues. The Tajik leader thanked the member countries for their support in implementation of the project. He stressed works on the project should not be delayed but further intensified.
President Ghani expressed gratitude to the Tajikistan government and the people for their hospitality, saying:
“Today is a historical day because reviving the past for future gives hope.”
“We have a joint vision for regional cooperation, our relations are based on ‘benefit for benefit’ formula,” said Ghani, who congratulated the people of Tajikistan on the country’s 25th Independence Day.
The president said Afghanistan had the pride of being the first country to officially recognize Tajikistan’s independence. He said Afghanistan had adjusted itself with trade and transit freedom principles and equality among states, especially among land-locked states, in finding access to ports was necessary.
“I hope we will be able to transfer 15,000 MW to 16,000 MW of power to South Asia from Central Asia through Afghanistan. If we don’t think high, then we will remain stuck in small projects,” said Ghani of the project’s importance for Afghanistan and central Asia.
He said since the unity government coming into power, there had been no doubt regarding Afghanistan’s government decisions about the CASA-1000 implementation.
Ghani went on to say that Afghanistan had put all its efforts into turning the CASA-1000 from a concept into a practical project.
Ghani added Afghanistan had completed all steps of the project as it funded and facilitated the scheme, and finally contracts were readied for signature.
“As Tajikistan President emphasized, contracts should be inked among the four countries at one time because if one country is not sure about the other countries’ contracts, it couldn’t start work solely.”
Ghani called power production in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan a big opportunity, adding Afghanistan aimed to meet its domestic needs through local production in the next four years.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated his country’s commitment to early implementation of CASA-1000 project.
Addressing the Quadrilateral Session of CASA-1000 conference in Dushanbe, Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan needed energy for its socio-economic development and run its industrial sector to its full potential.
He said the project would help generate employment opportunities and uplift standards of living of people of Pakistan.
He expressed satisfaction that some of the world’s leading manufacturers have expressed their keen interest to provide Converter Stations for CASA-1000.
He pointed out that tenders for transmission lines from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan have been floated and are currently being evaluated. The Prime Minister hoped that worked on the project would begin very soon.
Sharif described CASA-1000 as flagship project in the region connecting Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia to Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia through an electricity grid.
He said on its completion, Pakistan will get 1,000 MW and Afghanistan 300 MW electricity in summer time, from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Earlier, Sharif and Ghani held an informal meeting on Thursday, when both the leaders were expected to hold one on one meeting later in the day.
A trilateral meeting of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan will also be held to discuss regional security and other issues of mutual understanding.
Kyrgyzstani Prime Minister Zheenbekov, for his part, briefed the member countries about the project’s economical and transit advantages.
At the end, WB’s representative thanked the member countries for their commitments and promises in terms of accelerating implementation process of the scheme. He comprehensively informed the meeting about WB’s efforts at realizing the project.
After the meeting, President Ghani and other participants of the meeting visited Tajikistan’s agriculture and food products exhibition.