Austria celebrates the 67th anniversary of its permanent neutrality
What do Turkmenistan and Austria have in common? This is, first of all, the status of permanent neutrality of the two countries.
Each of these two countries has made its own way to acquiring a neutral status, which includes refusing to participate in military blocs and military-political conflicts, placing foreign military bases on its territory in order to ensure its own security and national interests on the basis of a peaceful policy and constructive cooperation.
This path was not easy for Austria, which celebrates the 67th anniversary of its neutral status on October 26, 2022. The ideas of Austrian neutrality originated after the First World War, which led to the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
After Hitler came to power in Germany, the leaders of the Austrian Social Democratic Party demanded "by neutralizing Austria on the basis of international law to create the maximum possible guarantees not to involve Austria in new military adventures." But on March 13, 1938, Hitler occupied Austria, which was incorporated into Germany, which created the prerequisites for the emergence of Austrofascism on the territory of Austria and the strengthening of the power of the Austrian Nazis. Part of the Austrian population, hoping for an improvement in welfare and economic development, approved of the idea of Anschluss (becoming part of Germany), and during the Second World War, the Austrians participated together with the Germans in military operations.
After the liberation by the Soviet Union in March-May 1945, Austria, which was under the protectorate of the four powers of the anti-Hitler coalition, was restored to its pre-war borders and underwent denazification, democratization and demilitarization. And the idea of neutrality has "surfaced" again in the political circles of the country.
For the first time at the official international level, Austria's neutrality was discussed in February 1954 at the Berlin meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the USSR, the USA, Great Britain, France and Austria. Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Figl said at the meeting that his country does not seek to join any coalitions and military blocs.
As a result of a series of bilateral diplomatic contacts in Moscow and Vienna, on April 15, 1955, the Moscow Memorandum was signed, according to which Austria pledged to "constantly adhere to neutrality of the kind that Switzerland adheres to."
A month later, at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, the Foreign Ministers of the four Powers and Austria signed a State Treaty on the restoration of an independent and democratic Republic of Austria.
After the withdrawal of all occupation troops from Austria – on October 26, 1955 – the National Council (the lower house of Parliament) approved the Federal Constitutional Law on Neutrality, which stated that Austria would never join any military alliances in the future and would not allow the creation of military strongholds of foreign states on its territory. Thus, the international legal framework and guarantees for the new status of Austria were created.
Although the neutrality of Austria was conceived on the model of the Swiss, in practice it received its own development. Having adapted to the new international conditions, it allowed Austria to become a member of the European Union in 1995. Today it is a developed European state with a high standard of living of the population, occupying the top positions in many international rankings.
Turkmenistan came to its international legal status of positive neutrality in completely different historical conditions, forty years after Austria.
The adoption of Turkmen neutrality was not influenced as much as Austria by the geopolitical interests of the leading powers in the post-war world. As you know, Turkmenistan's intention to declare permanent neutrality was supported by its neighbors in the region, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and the Non-Aligned Movement, and then by the UN General Assembly, which on December 12, 1995, by the votes of all 185 member states that were at that time part of it, adopted resolution No. 50/80 "Permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan".
The resolution on permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan, adopted for the second time in 2015 by 193 countries of the world, confirmed its political and moral value in the modern world. The international legal status of Turkmenistan's positive neutrality under the patronage of the UN, which no other country in the world has, according to experts, has a qualitatively new content and the highest degree of legal legitimacy.
Two months later, on December 12, Turkmenistan will celebrate the 27th anniversary of its neutrality. And this date has entered the world calendar – on December 12, according to the UN decision, the International Day of Neutrality is celebrated.
Well, for Turkmenistan and Austria, the common status of neutrality for the two countries has become a solid foundation for the development and mutually beneficial deepening of bilateral relations.
Reliance on the ancestral ideological values and wise spiritual traditions of the people, such qualities as tolerance, adherence to the traditions of friendship, brotherhood, good neighborliness, raised to the height of state status, determines the uniqueness of Turkmen neutrality, which has opened a new page in the history of this long-known institution of the system of international relations.
Despite these differences and the uniqueness of the historical path of the two peoples to neutrality, Turkmenistan and Austria are united by the desire for peace, trusting and mutually respectful relations with each other, understanding the value of neutrality in ensuring universal security and sustainable development.
On October 16, Turkmenistan and Austria celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. President of the Republic of Austria Alexander Van der Belen in his congratulation to President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov on this occasion noted the constructiveness of long-term bilateral cooperation: "Our countries, following the principles of neutrality, actively contribute to the promotion of international dialogue, peace and trust."
Serdar Berdimuhamedov, in his reply congratulation to the Austrian president, wrote: "The relations between our states, based on mutual respect, equality and mutual trust, are systematically strengthened and expanded in various directions. Our countries provide mutual support to the initiatives put forward within the framework of the United Nations and other international organizations."
Permanent neutrality plays an important role in establishing equal relations with the countries of the world in political, economic, cultural, scientific, educational and other spheres. This is based on the lofty goals of ensuring global peace, sustainable development and strengthening international cooperation.
President of the Austrian-Turkmen Society,
sobkor ORIENT in Austria