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11.10.04á13:06

ASHGABAT - OSCE: A FACE-TO-FACE DIALOG
A visit by the special envoy of the OSCE chairman-in-office for Central Asia, Finnish diplomat, Martti Ahtisaari, to Turkmenistan early this October was this year's fourth visit to the Turkmen capital by a high-ranking representative of this international organization. It is clear evidence of the intention and readiness of the sides to have an open and face-to-face dialog on all issues of concern, including on such a delicate issue for relations between the OSCE and the CIS states as a whole as introduction of democratic values into the public and political life of the former Soviet republics. With all the specifics of approaches to this problem, a statement by Mr. Ahtisaari after the talks with the leadership of Turkmenistan demonstrates the OSCE's realistic position and understanding of the fact that straightforward standardization, ignorance of national, historic, ethnic-cultural peculiarities of the newly independent member-states of the organization today can not be considered an acceptable criteria for building up relations with them. "A transformation period requires time and patience, especially when we talk about the development of the national state. We simply have to be flexible," Ahtisaari noted.

Although this position was stated in Ashgabat, it is surely not only about Turkmenistan. In the light of recent trends related to the dramatic awakening of international terrorism, which is closely connected to drugs and arms trafficking and global ecological problems the OSCE seems to be coming back to fundamental goals set in its abbreviation, namely to Security and Cooperation. The OSCE is not a European Union with its unification of legislations, pegging "underdeveloped" countries to the more developed countries and highly ambiguous approach to ethnic-confessional differences between member-states and candidate-members (for example, EU debates over Turkey). That is why to achieve aforementioned goals the OSCE by definition has to find such a formula of relations that would ensure mutual understanding and coordination of all member-states' efforts, establishing favorable conditions for the implementation of truly priority joint tasks.

The position of Slovakian diplomat, Yanesh Lenarchik, who assumes office of the Chairman-in-office of the Permanent Council of the OSCE, that he demonstrated during his July's tour of a number of the CIS countries was quite exemplary in this respect. Speaking about the need to improve the organization's activity, Lenarchik stressed a necessity to deepen mutual understanding between member-states, and above all between the so-called "old block" (Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada) and newly independent states, including from the post-Soviet territory. This topic will be the most important one at a meeting of the OSCE member-states' foreign ministers scheduled for this December in Sofia.

As for the OSCE relations with Turkmenistan, it is necessary to note Ashgabat's readiness to openly discuss any problem with this organization. It would be correct to recall here that Turkmenistan did not sign a collective statement by a number of the CIS states that criticized the OSCE's methods of work, applying double standards while assessing the situation in this or that country and etc. And it is not that Turkmenistan doesn't see or want to see defects or shortcomings in the organization's work. It is simply because of the fact that Ashgabat prefers to solve all existing problems with the OSCE on its own, directly and without intermediaries, which, by the way, has been for a long time a distinctive feature of Turkmenistan foreign policy's set of tools. And the positive results of Martti Ahtisaari's recent visit to Ashgabat show that this practice brings fruits.

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