ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan , Oct 27 — The many similarities in policies and approaches that exist between Malaysia and Turkmenistan give an opportunity for both countries to work closely together in many areas, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The prime minister said the cooperation could be enhanced through various ways, including holding business and products exhibitions in both countries.
“We hope to see an exhibition of Turkmenistan products and culture in Malaysia, and we also hope to have the same exhibition in Ashgabat next year,” he said in a joint press statement at the end of meetings with Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the Presidential Palace here on Sunday.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that relations between Malaysia and Turkmenistan were not too strong because they knew less about each other as they belonged to different blocs in the past.
“But now we have the opportunity to meet each other and have long discussions with Mr President, and it is quite obvious we have many things in common as well as many things that we can exchange views or information to enhance the development of our country.
“It is very significant when we have many similarities and at the same time exchange ideas and information to improve the country's progress,” he added.
Dr Mahathir noted that visits by top leaders were also important and he extended an invitation to Berdimuhamedov to visit Malaysia.
Berdimuhamedov had made official visits to Malaysia in December 2011 and November 2016.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia and Turkmenistan see a lot of opportunities to play a role in international affairs, for example through the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) where both countries had raised concerns on terrorism.
“During the NAM Summit, we see from the speeches made that Malaysia and Turkmenistan hold the same views. We are very concerned about terrorism in the world and I had explained that there is a reason for terrorism. If we identify the reason and try to eliminate the terrorism, maybe we would be able to reduce terrorism, and even eliminate it.
“This is something that we find many of the powerful countries unwilling to do to identify the reason and also to act in order to reduce terrorism. Military action alone will not put an end to terrorism,” he asserted.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir, who is on a two-day official visit beginning today, was accorded an official welcome at the Presidential Square where he was greeted on arrival by Berdimuhamedov.
After the national anthems of Malaysia and Turkmenistan were played, the prime minister then inspected a guard of honour.
Dr Mahathir and Berdimuhamedov later held a restricted meeting followed by a bilateral meeting and a signing ceremony.
The exchange of notes on the Programme of Cooperation between the foreign ministries of both countries for 2020/2021 and the exchange of notes on Academic-Diplomatic Collaboration between both governments were also in the programme.
The Malaysian delegation includes Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali. — Bernama