Updated at 18:18,16-07-2018

Wrapped up in enigma: Lukashenka visits Turkmenistan

Siarhei Skulavets, Belsat

The Presidents of Turkmenistan and Belarus were to meet earlier but Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov did not seize the opportunity of visiting Minsk on the invitation of his Belarusian counterpart. But the latter has recently arrived in Ashgabat on an unscheduled visit which was not announced. There must be some reasons for this, experts say. What urgent questions were to be discussed?

There is no way to the West for Lukashenka. Secondly, he is in sore need of money: maybe he did not want to pass up a chance of picking up some money from Turkmenbashi. And at last, our warehouses are overfull, one should sell goods to anyone, political analyst Aliaksandr Klaskouski said.

The heads of two states conducted negotiations, face-to-face and in expanded format, which has resulted in signing a number of agreements and document, official sources report.

Aliaksandr Lukashenka expressed his satisfaction by enhancing cooperation between the two countries: 'The goods exchange has quintupled for five years!' But it is interesting that last year this wonderful turnover equaled only about $300 mln. As a comparison, our goods exchange with Russia reaches $50 bn, but the Belarusian leader kept showing compliments on Turkmenbashi: raising loans must be vital for him.

According to political analyst Raman Yakauleuski, Aliaksandr Lukashenka is within an inch of panic: If there were not the case he would not have flown to visit a person who had turned down his invitation.

Ten days ago the Belarusian side was expected Berdymukhamedov to appear at the summit of CIS countries in Minsk but the Turkmenian leader ignored the event. As it is the third time Lukashenka has visited his counterpart in Ashgabat for the last 2.5 years he seems to have a lot of financial interests in the country.

Lukashenka will make an attempt to drag Ashgabat as a potash fertilizers supplier into his own sphere of interest. Perhaps, the name of the game is some agreements on keeping prices because Turkmenistan is the third player in the post-Soviet area. political analyst Alexander Suzdaltsev says.

Taking into account that Belarus is establishing Garlyk mining processing plant there is every likelihood that Minsk aims to strengthen its positions there. Moreover, chances are high that Turkministan wont be able to provide any loan; the country itself has not received money from China for the resources supplied. That is why Aliaksandr Lukashenka may well leave empty-handed again.

The Belarusian authorities keep seeking partners at the other ends of the world: having come up wih the idea of creating a china town in Minsk Lukashenka has recently expressed his readines to set up an island for Turkmen youth in the capital.