Israel to open embassy in Turkmenistan
Jerusalem, May 21 (DPA) Israel has decided to open an embassy in Turkmenistan, for the first time since the two countries established diplomatic ties over 15 years ago, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Turkmenistan was the last former Soviet republic to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, in 1993. Until now, the relations have been maintained by a non-resident ambassador, based in Jerusalem.
A statement issued by Israel's foreign ministry said it took the decision to open the embassy in the capital of Ashgabat 'in view of the development of the good bilateral relationship with Turkmenistan and the new momentum in relations with Central Asian countries'.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman discussed the issue with his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov, who welcomed the announcement, it said.
As part of the improving bilateral ties, Israel has helped train Turkmen agriculture and public health experts, who have visited Israel and met their Israeli counterparts, it said.
'Turkmenistan is one of the leading countries in Central Asia, and Israel's relations with it are of political, economic and strategic importance,' the ministry said.
'We are certain that the permanent presence of an Israeli diplomat at the ambassadorial level in Ashgabat will ensure an additional quantum leap in the development of relations with a pivotal and friendly country such as Turkmenistan.'
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