Today, the Commonwealth of Independent States is a recognized international association with a developed system of statutory and sectoral bodies operating on the basis of the regulatory framework. The CIS is also a unique platform for regular meetings of heads of state and government, which allow for constructive dialogue, resolve issues of interaction and cooperation in the economic, humanitarian and political spheres, writes Sergey Lebedev, chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, in his article published on the website of the state news agency TDH.
The article mentions that Turkmenistan, along with other states, on December 21, 1991 signed the Protocol to the Agreement on the Creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Almaty Declaration, which reaffirmed the CIS members’ commitment to equal cooperation in various fields of foreign and domestic policy.
As you know, the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan was recognized by the resolution of the UN General Assembly, adopted on December 12, 1995. On August 26, 2005, at the Kazan summit, the CIS heads of state took note of Turkmenistan’s statement that, given its neutral status, the country will continue to participate in the Commonwealth as an associate member in the spirit of sincere friendship and cooperation.
Since then, Turkmenistan has shown continued commitment to its international legal status, in fact reaffirming that neutrality, peacefulness and good neighborliness constitute the basic foundation of its foreign policy, aimed, inter alia, at facilitating the successful implementation of tasks within the CIS.
So, at the summit in Sochi in October 2017, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized: “Although Turkmenistan is an associate member of the CIS, in its international policy, it gives priority to the Commonwealth of Independent States as the main, authoritative international structure. And further we will continue this foreign policy line, despite our associated and neutral status.”
Lebedev called the Turkmen chairmanship in the CIS in 2019 a kind of culmination of the level of interaction between Turkmenistan and the countries of the Commonwealth.
Within the framework of the chairmanship, all the events provided for by the corresponding program and the Concept of the Chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the CIS, which was developed and adopted in 2018, were held at a high substantive and organizational level.
Sergey Lebedev noted the great work of the Turkmen side in the preparation and holding of the XIV Forum of creative and scientific intelligentsia of the CIS member states, which was held with the active participation of more than 200 delegates from the Commonwealth countries.
The forum in Ashgabat facilitated professional communication among specialists in the cultural and humanitarian sphere and made an invaluable contribution to the dialogue between the original cultures of sovereign states. The participants of the XIV Forum of creative and scientific intelligentsia made recommendations on the further development of humanitarian interaction in the Commonwealth space, reflected in the adopted resolution.
The document, in particular, notes the importance of preserving the cultural and natural heritage, expanding cooperation between science, education and culture organizations, public associations for the comprehensive study and popularization of languages, history and national traditions of the CIS countries. Undoubtedly, this key event in the humanitarian life of the countries of the Commonwealth will serve as additional motivation for creating new mutually beneficial projects, Lebedev noted.
With the active participation of the Turkmen side, work continues on the implementation of the Plan of Priority Actions in the Field of Humanitarian Cooperation for 2019–2020, the Program for Support and Development of National Sports in the CIS, Strategies in the Field of Youth Cooperation, Tourism for the Period Until 2020, etc. Ashgabat already hosted the meetings of the Council for Humanitarian Cooperation and the Board of the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation, the Council for Cooperation in the Field of Health, the Intergovernmental Coordination Seed Council for Seed Production and other important meetings and events.
On October 10-11 this year, Turkmenistan, together with the CIS Executive Committee, held regular meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Council of CIS Heads of State at a high level. It is also planned to hold a Council of CIS Heads of Government on October 25 in Moscow.
All these events were carried out at a high substantive and organizational level, Lebedev emphasized, noting that the proactive approach of Turkmenistan to the fulfillment of the CIS chairmanship mission has a positive impact on the achievement of short-term and long-term goals of the Commonwealth.
It is no accident that the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who accepted the reins of the CIS presidency for 2020, at the summit of the heads of state of the Commonwealth, said that Turkmenistan has set a high bar for the chairmanship, and Uzbekistan, which is carrying out this mission for the first time, will not meet this level easily.
The Uzbek leader noted that he was counting on the exchange of experience and assistance from Ashgabat in the implementation of the Uzbek presidency in the CIS in 2020.