Statement by the President of Turkmenistan H. E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly (New York, September 26, 2007)
Mr. Secretary General,
Distinguished heads of the delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the people and the government of Turkmenistan i would like to extend my good wishes to you and congratulate you all on the beginning of the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Ban Ki-moon upon his election to the post of the United Nations Secretary-General and wish him great success in fulfilling his challenging job.
I would also like to congratulate Mr. Srgjan Kerim on his election to the Presidency of the UN General Assembly, and I am certain that under his guidance the work of the General Assembly will be effective and fruitful.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
From the very first days of its independence Turkmenistan has perceived the ideals of the United Nations as fully corresponding to our aspirations in terms of relations with the international community.
The basic principles of the United Nations - maintenance of peace, equality of rights, respect for the sovereignty of other states, their right to choose their own path of development - formed the basis for our country's foreign policy, and cooperation with the United Nations has become a priority area thereof.
Time has proved that the choice our country made was right and well-grounded. In 15 years of intense cooperation with the United Nations, Turkmenistan has been able to find its own place on the international arena, has gained invaluable experience in interacting with the world community, in developing harmonious, equal and respectful relations with other nations. We have every right to be proud of the fact that it was within these walls that the resolution on the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan was adopted on December 12, 1995 - a historic event for our country. It will be no overstatement to say that the resolution on neutrality has become the foundation of our foreign policy and has been a major determinant of the criteria of our national policy. Cooperation with the United Nations will continue to drive our foreign policy. Here I would like to emphasize that this cooperation enriches our bilateral and multilateral ties and makes them more meaningful. This is most apparent in regional matters, where it is the participation of the United Nations and its specialized agencies that promotes convergence of approaches of states to issues, creation of favorable political, diplomatic and legal environment for their resolution by joint effort.
In this context I consider a major milestone the recent decision on the establishment of the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia. I am confident that the inauguration of the Center, set for the end of the year, will mark an entirely new phase in our country's and our neighbors' efforts to ensure peace, security, and stability in the region.
Turkmenistan is fully prepared to engage in a constructive and fruitful cooperation with the Center. We are certain that its work could a strong positive force in resolving the problems our region faces. We highly appreciate the decision to set up the Center in Ashgabat - the capital of neutral Turkmenistan, and we see this as an expression of trust for our country on behalf of the United Nations. Mindful of our great responsibility, I assure you that our country will do everything necessary to make the Center's work effective and fruitful.
Notwithstanding the current world changes, it is the great humanist ideas of the United Nations, the principles of the Charter of the United Nations that should continue to serve as the moral and legal pillar of the international order. Only on this basis can the issues of the United Nations reform be considered. The United Nations reform as a whole should be meaningful, goal-oriented and should correspond to the objective realities of the time.
In this respect, Turkmenistan supports the efforts of the Member States, of the Secretary General of the United Nations to make the work of the Organization more dynamic, efficient, transparent, and democratic.
In this context, Turkmenistan shares the view that it is necessary to further improve the structure of the Security Council, to develop closer and more effective interaction between the Security Council and the General Assembly. We are in favor of reforming the United Nations: making it stronger, enhancing its work, expanding the role and functions of the Security Council as a guarantor of international peace and security.
Turkmenistan' neutral status, its foreign policy doctrine of non-affiliation with any blocks, non-acceptance of force as a means of resolving international disputes predetermine our stand with regard to the issues of peace and security. In this context, Turkmenistan fully supports the international efforts to combat proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related technologies. Accordingly, Turkmenistan has been and will be taking consistent practical steps to ensure implementation of the international legal framework of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
In its legislation Turkmenistan proclaims refusal to possess, manufacture, store, transport nuclear, chemical, bacteriologic and other types of weapons of mass destruction, as well as new types and technologies of their production.
Not so long ago, in 2005, the People's Council of Turkmenistan by its decision adopted the Statement on supporting the initiatives of international organizations to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Last year Turkmenistan together with other states of the region signed in Semipalatinsk the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone in Central Asia. This document is unique in many ways, since, for the first time after World War II, it proclaims the establishment of a vast region free of nuclear weapons on the map of the Northern Hemisphere. It is noteworthy that our joint initiative echoed the aspirations of the majority of countries, that it has been highly acclaimed by the international community endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly. Let me take this opportunity to express appreciation to all states, international and regional organizations that have supported the document.
It has to be taken into account, however, that Central Asia is not isolated. Our region has thousands of historic, ethnic and humanitarian ties with the neighboring states. In this context, Turkmenistan's concern with the events in Afghanistan is justified. We rejoice at their success in building a peaceful life, we feel the difficulties they face as our own. Turkmenistan assists Afghanistan in rebuilding its economy, in providing professional training, in construction of social facilities, providing oil and power to some provinces of the country. Together with the international community, with the United Nations we a re striving to help achieve stability for Afghanistan, to help the brotherly people of Afghanistan to achieve peace and well-being.
From the geographical perspective, Turkmenistan is conveniently located at the Eurasian crossroads. During the years of independence, our country has built modern transportation and communication infrastructure. As an important element of international trade and economic relations, it may also become a factor leading to significant revitalization and further development of cultural interaction between regions, thus promoting rapprochement and mutual understanding between nations.
It is in that spirit that Turkmenistan defines its international energy strategy aimed at developing a multiple pipelines system to bring Turkmen energy resources to the international markets on a stable and long-term basis. This strategy is not dependent on either political circumstances or any kind of ideological biases.
Our stand on this matter is a stand of principle and full transparency:we support implementation of economically justified pipeline projects that would guarantee security, including ecological safety. This will determine their multi-track character. In this context, Turkmenistan is in favor of mutually advantageous use of energy resources by both their exporters and consumers.
From that point of view, we are convinced that implementation of projects aimed at bringing Turkmen energy to the international markets will provide another impulse that would serve to stimulate interstate and interregional trade and economic relations.
This will also serve to promote further economic growth in the countries, where pipelines run, to assist in the resolution of issues of providing people with light and heat, development of production and social infrastructure, job creation, which will, ultimately, positively effect the overall political climate within and beyond the region.
Turkmenistan is taking very seriously the issue of environmental protection and a whole spectrum of other issues that will have to be addressed by engaging the capacity of the international community at large.
In this context we support the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations to promote and develop broad international cooperation with a view to find a comprehensive solution to this global problem.
To this end, Turkmenistan is taking specific steps at the national level. Up to $ 200 mln. are annually earmarked in the national budget for environmental protection. Our country has passed legislation setting standards to prevent environmental pollution, it is introducing technologies to ensure ecological safety of our key sector - oil and gas industry. For over 10 years already Turkmenistan has been implementing a large-scale nation-wide program "The Green Belt", which resulted in millions of trees having been planted on thousands of hectares all over the country.
We are fully committed to the goals of the Kyoto protocol and we are ready to cooperate with all international partners in implementing its provisions.
As a full-fledged member of the international community, Turkmenistan is developing genuinely democratic and legal foundation of its national statehood. The greatest value of our society is an individual, its rights and freedoms. Today, it is at the center of our state policy.
Processes aimed at further democratization of the public and political life, establishment of civil society, introduction of modern electoral mechanisms and formation of local government bodies are gaining momentum. Constructive innovative search for a reasonable balance between the authority of the state and society at large is under way.
We are not trying to speed up the process, we are not pushing it into some artificial timeframe. Most important is that it has become irreversible and that it is getting recognition and support both within and outside the country. And in this respect we highly appreciate the assistance provided to us by international organizations and by the United Nations in particular.
Today Turkmenistan is open to the world, it is open for broad-scale partnership in all areas of activity. Together with the Community of Nations our country is ready to work further to promote the principles of the international law, ideals of humanism, justice, tolerance, mutual respect as determinants of modern interstate relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The permanent neutrality status not only imposes on our country important foreign policy obligations, but also obliges us to form our foreign and social policies accordingly. In this context I would like to emphasize the irreversible character of Turkmenistan's neutrality and our firm commitment to the respective arising international obligations.
We intend to follow this path with resolve and we will always be open to international cooperation promoting implementation of the strategic priorities of the Community of Nations.