On 12 October, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in the Russian Federation held a briefing for representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Moscow, as well as mass media representatives. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to Russia Halnazar Agakhanov briefed diplomats and journalists on President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's resent visit to the United States to attend the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as foreign policy priorities and initiatives aired by the Turkmen leader. A lively exchange of views took place following the briefing in the reception hall of the Embassy.
by H.A. AGAKHANOV
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkmenistan to the Russian Federation
at a briefing for the diplomatic missions accredited to Moscow and representatives of mass media
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!
I am happy to welcome here the representatives of diplomatic missions accredited to Moscow, as well as mass media professionals. Let me sincerely thank you for responding to our invitation. The outcomes of the Turkmen Government delegation's recent visit to New York to attend the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly was a chief reason for convening today's meeting.
Our country's position regarding the important foreign policy issues was set forth by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's at the UN General Assembly. In addition, Turkmenistan's current foreign policy priorities were discussed in New York during the bilateral meetings of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov with the leaders of a number of countries and heads of authoritative international organizations.
The world public opinion has reacted promptly to the country's foreign policy priorities declared by Turkmenistan. Immediately after the President of Turkmenistan made a statement at the 64th session of the UNGA the secretariat of the Turkmen delegation received a lot of requests from the leaders of countries and international organizations for a meeting with the Turkmen President. However, the busy program of stay in New York did not allow Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to satisfy even one third of all requests.
As the head of the Turkmen diplomatic mission in Moscow, I can confirm the growing interest among the Russian political and business circles and mass media in the political, economic and social processes taking place in Turkmenistan. Then number of applications and requests from Russian journalists, politicians and businessmen to visit to Turkmenistan has grown significantly.
In response to the growing interest in information, the Turkmen president, upon return from New York, gave a lengthy press-conference for the domestic and foreign mass media, during which he tried to give explanations for the relevant issues of the state's foreign policy.
Ladies and gentlemen!
We have prepared for you copies of the statement by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2009, and copies of transcripts of the extended press conference given by the Turkmen leader in Ashgabat on October 1, 2009.
These documents provide a fairly complete picture of foreign policy topics of importance for Turkmenistan. From my side, I would like to draw your attention to the separate messages sent by the Turkmen president to the world community.
Fully sharing the international community's preoccupation with the top priority task such as aspiration for global security, Turkmenistan in its approaches to this problem focuses primarily on achieving stability in the Central Asian and Caspian regions.
Having headquartered in Ashgabat an experimental UN structure, the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy, two years ago, Turkmenistan intends to use this structure actively to address such pressing regional issues as achieving civil accord and stability in Afghanistan, settlement of the issue of access to water in the territories of post-Soviet Central Asian states, and promoting the disarmament process in the region.
Speaking at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov offered to host an international conference on disarmament in the Central Asian and Caspian Basin regions in Turkmenistan next year.
The Turkmen president's another important foreign policy initiative is related to spreading widely the political experience of neutrality as a means of achieving peaceful settlement of pressing foreign policy problems. Nearly fourteen years ago the UN members' collective and unanimous recognition of Turkmenistan as a state with a status of permanent of neutrality was an unprecedented step in world practice. Over the past years, our country's experience of conducting an effective international dialogue based on permanent neutrality has demonstrated the extraordinary efficiency of introducing such model in the world. Today, Turkmenistan is willing to share its considerable political experience with any member of the international community so that the once applied UN technique could be widely used over the planet.
A number of consecutive foreign policy steps taken by our country recently suggest that Turkmenistan finds a genuine understanding of most of the representatives of the international community on such important issue as achieving the global agreement on security of energy transit.
Last December, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution initiated by Turkmenistan entitled "A Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy Resources and Their Role in Sustainable Development and International Cooperation." Fifty seven states representing all continents co-sponsored the resolution. The resolution, in particular, notes the stable, efficient and reliable transportation of energy resources, conforms to the interests of the entire international community, and recognizes the need for international cooperation in the development of transportation systems and pipeline networks. The General Assembly also welcomed the initiative of Turkmenistan to convene in 2009 an international conference to discuss the issue of ensuring stable transit of energy to international markets.
The high-level conference titled "A Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy Resources and Their Role in Sustainable Development and International Cooperation" was held in Ashgabat late last April. The presence of dozens of official foreign delegations and heads of major international organizations, and the participants' hot interest to discuss the topic emphasized the importance of the conference initiated by Turkmenistan. Today, following the period of discussions on this issue, it is time to proceed with real actions.
Turkmenistan believes that the security of energy transit is not the sphere of selfish interests of a single country but a worldwide problem. Moreover, it is also an integral part of the universal system of global security. At the same time, the prevailing current system of international energy exports and imports still remains quite vulnerable in the global economy: there is no generally accepted system of legal responsibility for the breach of agreements on guarantees of unimpeded transit of energy resources. Thus, our country sees the vulnerability of this link as a threat to the world security. Today, Turkmenistan, insisting on accelerating the adoption of the final decision by all countries concerned, reaffirms its readiness to participate in the development and preparation of a future global international legal instrument on security of energy transit.
Reaching an agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea and determination of zones of jurisdiction in its waters is one of the critical issues of international politics in recent years.
For quite a long time the acute contradictions have been persisting between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the approaches to solving this problem. It is believed that the main differences arise from the sides' claims to the disputed oil fields in the central part of the sea, where Azerbaijan is already carrying out active hydrocarbon production.
The Turkmen President specially emphasized that throughout the negotiation process Turkmenistan upheld the fundamental position that until the legal norms determining zones of jurisdiction are in place any development of the disputed territory is illegal.
Today, resolving the legal problem in general is much more important for Turkmenistan than arguing about the ownership of separate geographical areas. As long as the parties fail to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on the definition of the median line of the sea in clear geographical coordinates, it is impossible to continue the process of political and economic development of the region as a whole towards addressing the most urgent issues of conservation of biological resources of the Caspian Sea, shipping and jurisdiction zones of coastal countries.
Guided by the priority of integrated solution to the problem, Turkmenistan has recently proposed a way to resolve the contradictions through arbitration. The Turkmen President instructed the relevant departments to prepare all necessary documents for submission to the international arbitration. Moreover, Turkmenistan indicated its willingness to accept any decision of the arbitration. Thus, Turkmenistan has unequivocally stated its good will to eliminate any misunderstanding between the neighboring countries, to create a zone of development free of conflict to the benefit of international political and economic cooperation in the Caspian Sea.
I must specially emphasize that the key to understanding our country's foreign policy steps lies in the area of the main domestic policy objective - achieving social prosperity and economic welfare.
Within the general strategy for economic, social and spiritual revival of the country, all foreign policy aspirations of the state, eventually, if not directly then indirectly, are subject to our primary goal. The process of economic and social reforms in the country would have been impossible without sound economic partnerships with the best world producers of goods and technologies. Today, knowing about the stability of the national economic situation and attractiveness of our investment climate, the most reputable companies from around the world strive to enter the Turkmen market.
Turkmenistan willingly responds to many proposals carefully selecting the best of what is available today in the global manufacturing and technological experience. Political maneuvering in international business cooperation is alien to us. We do not conclude economic agreements disadvantageous to the country in exchange for some political dividends.
Since Turkmenistan succeeds in positioning itself as a responsible member of the world community and is ready to comply with the generally accepted norms and values, its reputation as a reliable and predictable partner in the global cooperation honoring all its international obligations has been growing in recent times.
Ladies and gentlemen!
Allow me to cordially thank you for the readiness with which you responded to the invitation to attend a briefing at the Embassy of Turkmenistan. If this information does not fully satisfy your curiosity, I am ready to answer additional questions both in the format of a press-conference and individual meetings with the press. If such applications are there, we can discuss the procedure immediately after the briefing.
Thank you for your attention!