The International Conference “The Policy of Neutrality and its Significance in Ensuring International Peace, Security and Sustainable Development” was held today in Ashgabat with the participation of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Among the forum delegates were the country’s leadership corps, heads of diplomatic missions and representative offices of international organizations accredited in Ashgabat.
Opening the conference, the Turkmen leader emphasized that the legal status of permanent neutrality is a key principle of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy. The head of state continued his speech in Russian as one of the official languages of the UN. Mr. Berdimuhamedov highlighted the history of the country’s acceptance of this status, the prerequisites for the formation of the Turkmen model of neutrality.
“We called it positive, thus emphasizing the nature and direction of our international cooperation, the desire to build good and constructive relations with all states, – said Mr. Berdimuhamedov. – Turkmenistan offered them friendship, cooperation, and equality, while assuming, as a neutral country, the obligations of non-interference in internal affairs, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-participation in multilateral military-political treaties and alliances.”
Speaking about the role of neutrality for regional security as part of the global strategic balance, the President noted that Turkmenistan with its neighboring states, in cooperation with the UN, is working to create mechanisms to prevent disputes, establish an atmosphere of mutual understanding, trust and predictability in Central Asia.
An example of this is the opening of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia with its headquarters in Ashgabat in 2007.
According to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, joint efforts to de-escalate tensions and maintain stability in the world should become the top priority of states, international institutions, think tanks, and responsible media.
“We need to restore trust and respect in relations with each other, and establish a culture of equal dialogue based on the recognition of the legitimate rights and interests of participants,” said the head of state, recalling that at the initiative of Turkmenistan, 2021 was declared by the UN as International Year of Peace and Trust.
The President also noted Turkmenistan’s international initiatives in such strategic areas of global development as energy security, transport cooperation, ecology, food supply, access to water resources, and others.
“Having huge global reserves of natural gas, Turkmenistan is a consistent supporter of fair and equitable access to the planet’s energy resources,” said Mr. Berdimuhamedov.
According to the President, it is necessary to abandon one-sided energy supply schemes, eliminate discriminatory barriers, and ensure transparency in pricing. Turkmenistan adheres to similar principles in relation to the prospects of transport cooperation.
The Head of Turkmenistan also paid attention to climate change, assistance to refugees and stateless persons. According to Mr. Berdimuhamedov, only from 2011 to the present, about 26 thousand people have been accepted as citizens of Turkmenistan.
An Afghan problem and Turkmenistan’s approaches to settlement of the situation in the neighboring country took a special place in the President’s speech. In addition to systematic humanitarian support, Turkmenistan is also implementing major infrastructure projects with Afghan participation, such as the construction of the TAPI gas pipeline, power transmission and TAP fiber-optic communication line, and railways.
We plan to continue a work on implementing significant projects with the participation of Afghanistan and other neighboring countries, and we are ready to further expand our cooperation with international organizations, primarily the UN, in providing comprehensive support to the fraternal Afghan people, underlined the head of state.
“As a neutral state and a direct neighbor, our country is ready to provide its political space and all conditions for holding inter-Afghan negotiations,” said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
He also focused on a new serious challenge facing the world – the coronavirus pandemic. According to the head of state, in addition to the fact that it has claimed many lives, the pandemic has also revealed systemic problems in international relations.
“First of all, it is the non-availability, and not only technical, to join forces to fight this danger. Once again, there is a lack of trust and political will. Immediately after the epidemic outbreak, Turkmenistan stated its position clearly and fundamentally: it is necessary to unite all states, their unity, solidarity and mutual assistance in the fight against a common threat,” said the President.
In this regard, Turkmenistan promotes scientific diplomacy and offers to hold an International Forum of medical scientists on the problems of fighting new types of infections in Ashgabat in 2021.
“Today, neutrality is applicable to almost all areas of Turkmenistan’s international partnership, has great potential in establishing cooperation and mutual understanding, and plays a significant role in implementing the UN fundamental goals and strategies,” summed up Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.