The speech of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at International conference, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan
Dear participants of International conference!
Ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, let me welcome you at the ceremonial session of International conference “Policy of neutrality and its significance in provision of universal peace, security and sustainable development”, which is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan. Let me express my gratitude for your participation in this forum, willingness to share your approaches, proposals and opinions on important subjects of its versatile agenda.
Receiving of internationally recognized status of permanent neutrality by Turkmenistan on December 12, 1995 has become an important and, without exaggeration, a historical event for our country. It has determined the direction and content of foreign policy of Turkmen state, made powerful positive effect on internal development, fulfilment of major national plans in the economics and social sphere, establishment and strengthening of democratic institutes.
Special feature of international recognition of permanent neutrality of our country was that such status has been supported and consolidated by unanimous decision of the General Assembly by special Resolution for the first time in the UN practice. Leading states of the world, including the countries, which are among the permanent members of the UN Security Council, were the co-authors of the document. Therefore, Turkmenistan’s neutrality has received international legitimacy, having become an integral part of the world politics and diplomacy.
Today, on behalf of the people of Turkmenistan, I address sincere gratitude to all states for support, active participation in development and adoption of historical resolution on permanent neutrality.
I speak of efficient work of the UN Secretariat, its personnel who provided operational solution of necessary organizational issues and procedures with gratitude. Undoubtedly, international recognition of our neutrality has not been a one-time event. The adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly has been forestalled by big and painstaking political and diplomatic activity in various spheres and numerous rounds of talks.
In this regard, I would like to mention constructive position of the state members of the economic Cooperation Organization, which have adopted the statement on support of Turkmenistan’s neutrality at the Summit in Islamabad in spring 1995. The Summit of Non-Alignment Movement in Columbian Cartagena, where the neutrality of Turkmenistan has received a unanimous support from this competent international association, was the next stage.
I am speaking of these events to highlight another important and as per my opinion, very remarkable reality of the period 25 years back. It means that back then, during breakthrough phase of finishing of block confrontation, elimination of usual schemes and configurations of international policy, the neutrality of Turkmenistan has received comprehensive support including from the states, which sometime have complicated relations between each other, professing different views and doctrines on development of modern world.
I am confident that prepositions for use of neutral model as one of stabilizing factors of the world politics have been formed up objectively back then. I think that we have managed to explain and, in some cases, to convince our partners that appearance of neutral peace-loving state in important geopolitical region on the map would be a considerable factor of positive development of regional and international processes.
Certainly, meaningful historical practice of joint living of Turkmens with other nations gained for the centuries was an important driving force behind choosing of neutrality. Despite various periods, it has always been based on peace-loving, respect, tolerance and transparency.
Having received the independence, we have turned these concepts into clearly defined principles of foreign policy and found the most suitable and organic model of neutrality for their successful practical application.
We named it positive neutrality, having highlighted the character and orientation of our international cooperation; desire to build good and equal constructive relations with all states. Turkmenistan has offered them friendship, cooperation, equal rights, and being a neutral state, having undertaken the obligations for non-interference to internal affairs, respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-participation in multilateral military and political treaties and unions.
“Support of such course has been reflected in resolutions and other decisions made by international organizations and aimed at practical implementation of the principles of neutrality in international affairs. Today, with feeling of pride and gratitude to the world community, I would like to make special mention that the United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the Resolution on the Role and Importance of neutral policy in support and strengthening of universal peace, security and process of sustainable development at its 75th session in December 2020.
This important document, which was co-authored by 34 UN member states, confirms high positive role of the policy of neutrality in solution of current objectives of the global agenda.
It is also a great honor for me to say that the Council of the Foreign Ministers of the Islamic Cooperation Organization has also unanimously adopted the Resolution on Role of policy of neutrality in support and strengthening of international peace, security and sustainable development in the region of the Islamic Cooperation Organization and around the world at its 47th session on October 27 – 28, 2020 by Turkmenistan’s initiative.
Turkmenistan strictly follows these principles for 25 years steadily pursuing peace-loving and balanced sovereign policy. First of all, we have managed to protect and improve the relations with neighboring states.
Based on centuries-old practice, cultural and spiritual similarity, we have managed to provide the succession of traditions of good neighborliness and understanding, to form up actual mechanisms of cooperation, which are united by common goals and priorities, realization of contiguity of historical ties of peoples and states existing next to each other. It allows us solving the objectives for supporting and strengthening of peace and stability, development of economic, trade and humanitarian relations and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals together.
Neutral policy of Turkmenistan is a significant factor of regional security as an important element of global strategic balance. Together with neighboring states and in close cooperation with the UN, we work on establishment of the mechanisms for prevention of controversies, assertion of atmosphere of understanding, trust and predictability in Central Asia.
The territory of neutral Turkmenistan has been numerously elected as an acceptable place for organization of talks on number of complicated issues of regional agenda. In general, the principles of neutrality, its peace-loving capabilities for regulation of confrontations, prevention and elimination of the conflicts, their transit to negotiation stream prove their efficiency taking deserved place in international diplomatic arsenal and receiving recognition on the highest level.
This is indicated by the opening of the UN Regional Center of Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia with the headquarters in Ashgabat by the decision of the UN General Assembly with support of Central Asian countries in 2007.
The practice showed that it was timely and far-seeing measure. The work of the Center has received high appraisal of the world community. As is known that assessing the outcomes of activity of the Regional Center, the UN Security Council has repeatedly noted the importance of preventive diplomacy. Early regulation of disputes and supported the efforts of this structure in Central Asia.
In 2017, the UN General Assembly has adopted the Resolution on the Role of the United Nations Regional Center of Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia by the initiative of Turkmenistan. 57 states, which represent all continents, were the co-authors of the document. At his session, Turkmenistan will continue working on mobilization and use of the potential of neutrality and preventive diplomacy.
Thus, our country has developed new draft of the Resolution on the role of the Regional Center of Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, having introduced additional elements, in particular on institutional registration of Preventive Academy and consolidation of the mechanism of Central Asian Expert Forum. Turkmenistan has also presented the draft Resolution of the General Assembly on role and importance of the policy of neutrality in support and strengthening of universal peace, security and sustainable development.
In addition, the Group of Neutrality Friends for peace, security and development, which already includes more than 20 states, is formed up by our initiative for systematic work on promotion of the principles of neutrality in the practice of international relations at present. Undoubtedly, it says about growing understanding of importance and future of the principles of neutrality in current conditions.
In this context, we think that development of the UN Rules for efficient application of the principles of neutrality in regulation of international issues by Turkmenistan is a logical and legitimate step/ we are confident that application of these rules would be able to make positive effect and make constructive impact on entire international situation.
In general, we think that today, joint efforts for de-escalation of the tension, support of stability and predictability based on universal standards of international law have to become the main priority of the state, international institutes, brain centers, responsible mass media.
It is necessary to restore trust and respect in relations with each other, to establish the culture of equal dialog based on recognition of legal rights and interests of the participants. We are confident that each country is able to make significant and valuable contribution to the achievement of this goal. In this regard, following the principles of neutrality, peace-loving, confidence in goodwill of international community, Turkmenistan has proposed initiative on announcement of 2021 as International Year of Peace and Trust.
This proposal has been supported by the UN General Assembly and next year, we plan to organize a high-level conference in Ashgabat, which is to become an important milestone on the way of establishment of multilateral dialog on actual subjects of the world politics, giving positive impulses to this dialog, search for ways of rapprochement of opinions and approaches.
Turkmenistan’s neutrality, friendly, constructive and respectful relations with all states, established cooperation with the UN and its specialized agencies, participation in work of other competent organization make favorable opportunities for our country to participate in solution of the most significant problems of modern world more efficiently.
International initiatives of Turkmenistan sound competently and strong in such strategic spheres of global development as energy security, transport cooperation, ecology, provision of food production, access to water resources, protection of refugees rights and many other.
We form up our own approaches to these issues following the need of consolidation of the potentials of the states and international organizations based on clear and transparent principles.
Having colossal world reserves of natural gas, Turkmenistan is a supporter of fair and equal access to energy resources of the planet. Establishment of reliable and stable system of energy routes taking into account the interests of all participants is one of the ways to achieve these targets.
Our country has initiated the beginning of wide international dialog on energy range of issues, has developed the draft resolutions, which were supported by the UN General Assembly. During current session, we have also presented the Draft Resolution “Reliable and stable transit of energy carriers and its role in provision of sustainable development and international cooperation”. Turkmenistan is confident that the system of energy provision of the planet has to serve to global progress, economic growth, wealth of people and stimulation of beneficial cooperation.
In our opinion, it is necessary to refuse from one-sided schemes of supply of energy resources, to eliminate discrimination barriers, to provide transparency of pricing. Turkmenistan practices similar principles regarding perspectives of transport cooperation. Entering the UN level with the initiative of global dialog on transport issues, we have followed that it directly related to fulfillment of the Sustainable development goals.
Enforcement of the role of international transport is intended to stimulate the growth of the economies of the states and regions through their integration to transport and transit routes, to support elimination of disproportions in the level of development between them. The formation of modern transport architecture aimed at solution of the main objectives of the world community in XXI century, at services to millions of people around the world, at protection and improvement of resources of the planet are the international strategy in this sphere of human activity.
Back in 2016, Turkmenistan has hosted Global Sustainable Transport Conference and plans to organize International Conference of transport ministers of developing landlocked states in Ashgabat next year. We will also intensify the efforts in the UN for support of the draft resolutions, which urge to cooperation in the sphere of sustainable transport.
Turkmenistan pays priority attention to the ecology and climate change. Turkmenistan proposes initiatives aimed at search and achievement of reasonable balance between economic activity and protection of the environment at the global meetings such as the Sustainable Development Summit RIO+20, the 7th World Water Forum, Sessions of the UN General Assembly, other competent organizations.
In particular, we have announced about the necessity to combine objective economic interests, realities of international cooperation in energy sphere with the necessity to protect the biodiversity of Caspian Sea, not to admit the disruption of fragile ecological balance. Turkmenistan has initiated the development of Central Asian Water Strategy, the UN Special Program for the countries of Aral Sea basin, fulfillment of the Regional Environment Protection Action Plan as single ecological program for Central Asian countries and number of other measures.
Our country was an author of the Draft Resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations Organization and International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea, which was supported by the General Assembly and has become a platform for consolidation of joint efforts for recovery of the Aral disaster, improvement of economic and social conditions, quality of life and health of the population.
Undoubtedly, all mentioned initiatives are mainly related to the region where Turkmenistan is located. However, it seems that similar principles and approaches, which have been dictated by care of future generations, protection of unique look of our planet, careful attitude to the environment are applicable in other parts of the world.
After joining of Turkmenistan to the Paris Treaty on climate change, the involvement of our country to implementation of the global ecological agenda has received new impulses and today, Turkmenistan forms up its own government objectives through the prism of following the principles of its comprehensive document, initiative and targeted support of international efforts on its implementation.
Neutral status opens favorable opportunities to Turkmenistan in international humanitarian activity, in particular in provision of help to refugees and stateless persons. Being a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the UN Higher Commissioner for Refugees, member of International Migration Organization, Turkmenistan makes significant contribution to solution of this complex global problem.
First International Conference “Refugees in Muslim World”, during which, important agreements have been reached, has been held in Ashgabat in 2012. We work persistently with our partners on their execution. We plan to organize the second International conference on this subject together with the UN Higher Commissioner Office for Refugees next year.
Regarding to our national efforts in this direction, I will mention only one figure – around 26,000 people receive Turkmenistan’s citizenship since 2011 until our days.
Here are some words about our approaches to the situation in Afghanistan. Throughout many years, Turkmenistan renders targeted economic and humanitarian support to Afghanistan.
It is expressed in construction of medical and educational facilities in neighboring country, beneficial supplies of energy, study of Afghan students in Turkmen universities, regular humanitarian aid sent to Afghanistan and other help.
All of these is sponsored by Turkmenistan from its own resources. I can assure our friends from Afghanistan and international community that this support would be continued in the future on systematic base according to special program of provision of humanitarian support to Afghanistan developed by our country.
Implementation of big infrastructural projects with participation of Afghan side, especially in such important spheres as energy, transport and communications, is an important term of political stabilization, economic and social restoration of Afghanistan, its successful integration to regional and global economic processes.
Working steadily in this direction, our country has initiated the project of construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline.
The construction of power and fiber optic lines along Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan route as well as railroads connecting Turkmenistan with Afghanistan is carried out.
We plan to continue working on implementation of important projects with participation of Afghanistan and other neighboring countries are ready to continue our cooperation with international organizations, especially with the UN, in provision of comprehensive support to fraternal people of Afghanistan.
Regarding political aspect, I confirm the position of Turkmenistan, which we repeatedly stated that being a neutral state and close neighbor of Afghanistan, our country is ready to provide its political space and all necessary organizational conditions to all sides, which are interested in peaceful, political regulation of the situation in Afghanistan. We are confident that there is no alternative process to negotiation process.
I cannot help saying about serious threat that the world has faced these days. The coronavirus pandemic, in addition that it stroke the health of dozens of millions of people on the planet, and unfortunately, cause death of numerous people, have detected system problems in international relations.
First of all, this is a reluctance, not only technical, to consolidate the efforts in combating of this threat. In this case, I have to speak about insufficient level of trust and political will. Right after the beginning of the epidemic, Turkmenistan has announced its position clearly – it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of all states, their solidarity and mutual assistance in combating common threat.
Regarding practical measures, our country has stand for launching of channels of international political diplomacy, having proposed number of certain measures aimed at making of the conditions for establishment of direct contacts between medical associations of different countries, stimulation of joint developments and long-term programs of cooperation. Turkmenistan also proposes to organize International forum of medical scientists on the problems of combating against new infections in Ashgabat in 2021.
Finishing my speech, I would like to note that neutrality is applicable to almost all spheres of international cooperation of Turkmenistan; it has big potential in establishment of cooperation and understanding, plays an important role in implementation of fundamental goals and strategies of the United Nations Organization.
Important feature of our neutrality is that this is a living creative process, which is enriched with new ideas and practical developments and is adapted to changing conditions. However, one thing remains unchanged – this is its peace-loving, creative and humanistic character. Next year, Turkmenistan will mark the 20th anniversary of its independence.
We have managed to achieve many things for this period, to become dynamically developing state with strong economy and social sphere, respected and competent member of international community. Mainly, this success has resulted from steadily pursued policy of neutrality.
That is why, I always say that independence and neutrality are two indivisible concepts for Turkmen people. These two main foundations of our stateliness, on which modern Turkmenistan is based confidently and moves to new heights of cooperation, progress and prosperity together with its numerous friends from all over the world.
Dear participants of the conference!
Finishing my speech I would like to say that our country will celebrate another historical date – the glorious 30th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence in 2021, which is announced by the UN General Assembly as International Year of Peace and Trust at the initiative of Turkmenistan.
Political, social, economic, foreign model of development of the country chosen 30 years ago, which is based on the principles of peace-loving and humanity, has demonstrated its efficiency.
Our main achievement is that we have founded independent sovereign Turkmenistan with powerful innovative economy, high life level of people and international authority.
In future, our powerful state will continue putting all efforts for strengthening of peaceful, friendly relations on the planet for happy and prosperous life of humankind.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my cordial congratulation on coming 2021 – International Year of Peace and Trust! Let this year bring us prosperity and happiness!
Ashgabat, December 12, 2020