The public affairs office of the President of Belarus reported on 12 September that earlier that day President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko had appointed Vyacheslav Beskostiy as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Turkmenistan and “said that relations with Turkmenistan should get back on track”.
We have always had an impeccable, good relationship with Turkmenistan. We need to meet with officials who had been overseeing the construction of Garlyk factory. This situation should be handled “with dignity”. It is quite disappointing that we have been involved in court proceedings with the friendly people of Turkmenistan, Lukashenko stated.
It is not good that the plant stands idle, the President added. It is about time that potassium salt should have been produced and sold and huge revenues might have been generated. Turkmenistan can easily make a profit of a billion and a half a year. The market is nearby. We should talk to those who built the Garlyk mining and refining facility to clarify what the problems are and how we will be resolving them. This is the key question which establishes good rapport. I think that this issue should be addressed.
According to the public affairs office, “it was highlighted that in any case none of the potential partners proposed better conditions to Turkmenistan than Belarus”. I think that this conversation needs to be resumed without making claims against each other. If we fail to do so, we will take the required measures, the President added.
Lukashenko also wanted to know how well Vyacheslav Beskostiy knows Turkmenistan and how familiar he is with the topic under discussion. Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makey explained that the diplomat was overseeing this area as deputy head of the department of the CIS countries in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and had previously worked in Nigeria for a long time.
It should be mentioned that “Turkmenkhimia”, the owner of the Garlyk mining and refining facility, is in litigation with the Belarus company “Belgorkhimprom”. Turkmenistan is discontent with the fact that the contractor has not completed construction works at the facility whereas “Belgorkhimprom” in turn claims that the project was not completed because the customer refused to pay for completed works and has a debt of over $150 million.
As of November 2018, the facility’s output is just 2,3% (32,3 thousand tons) of the projected volume of fertilizers.
The mining and refining facility worth $1,1 billion was commissioned on 31 March 2017.
On 6 September tThe Belarus media outlet Tut.by, with reference to the pricing agency Argus, reported that the Garlyk mining and refining facility still stands idle. The problem is reportedly the low quality of ore and flooding.
On 11 September the Telegram channel “Kompromat Belarus” reports “that the issue pertaining to repaying Belarus’ overdue debt of almost $200 million has not been resolved so far and the case is being examined in the Stockholm Court of Arbitration”.