25.02.12 12:02

Constructive Dialogue in the Name of Peace and Development

Full cooperation with the United Nations – strategic choice of Turkmenistan

March 2 marks 20 years since independent Turkmenistan became a full-fledged member of the United Nations, taking an important step towards successful integration into the international system of coordinates. Turkmenistan’s close and full cooperation with UN member states has been a priority of the country’s foreign policy strategy since 1995, when the resolution on the neutral status of Turkmenistan was unanimously adopted.

Over the past two decades, Turkmenistan, being a full member of the United Nations, joined more than 120 major conventions and international instruments, most of which address critical humanitarian challenges of our time.

At the current stage of cooperation, Turkmenistan through its “open door” policy has demonstrated willingness to expand the scope of this cooperation with the well-known international organization. This is also evidenced by the fact that at the annual sessions of the UN General Assembly Turkmenistan has been very active in recent years. Thanks to personal attention of the Turkmen leader Turkmenistan prepares with great responsibility for the opening of the regular session of the UN General Assembly, offering the community of nations a number of specific initiatives and ideas.

By the established tradition, Turkmenistan came up with clear and reasonable positions on key issues of global and regional policy at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly that opened in September 2011. Turkmenistan put forward initiatives on many important issues of our time – starting from addressing the issue of global energy, environmental and economic security to strategic issues of purely political nature that above all concern regional and interregional development.

In this context, it is important to understand that active integration of Turkmenistan in the geopolitical processes is based not only on the national interests but also on new trends in international development. “The need for systemic measures based on clearly defined goals and means of their achievement and effective international arrangements is becoming increasingly apparent,” President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said at the UN

Turkmenistan's approaches to the issue of maintaining global security are based on the principle of indivisibility of security in which the geopolitical and geo-economic aspects as well as content are interconnected and interdependent. In this context, the President of Turkmenistan noted: “We are convinced that security of one country can not be maintained in the absence of security in the region, on the continent and the world. Political or military security will not last long and in full without economic security, energy and food security, without warning and mitigation of risks and threats of environmental and man-made nature, without effective responses to international terrorism, organized crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other global challenges.”

Turkmenistan attaches paramount importance to resolving any situations by peaceful means and methods. According to Turkmenistan, use of force has no perspectives and does not eliminate the sources and causes of conflicts and, in most cases, does not create conditions for adequate responses to many issues that arise in post-conflict periods. In this context, in strict accordance with the fundamental documents of the United Nations, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov urged to start work on drafting a Declaration on the priority of use of political and diplomatic means in resolving international problems that could be later considered at the UN General Assembly. “In our view, the adoption of such a declaration would substantially reduce the likelihood of use of force in resolving conflicts in international relations, reduce the associated risks and threats to the overall stability and security,” he stressed.

It should be noted that many initiatives of the Turkmen side have already been implemented under UN auspices. For example, in 2008, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, the UN passed the resolution “Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and Its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation” aiming at developing international legal mechanisms regulating issues of transportation of energy resources. Later, the President of Turkmenistan put forward new initiatives in this area such as setting up a UN expert group for establishment of the UN Energy Council, as well as drafting a document aimed at creating an international legal framework to guarantee supplies of energy resources to the world markets.

There were other positive precedents such as establishment of a broad platform for the regional political dialogue – last summer Ashgabat hosted an international forum on disarmament issues in Central Asia and the Caspian states.

Coming up with major international initiatives in various areas of cooperation, Turkmenistan offers the international community a new architecture of geopolitical and geo-economic space in line with the current trends of global development. It is quite logical and natural that these ideas and initiatives receive support and understanding throughout the world.

For its part, the UN actively supports efforts of the Government of Turkmenistan in implementing the national plans to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The UN family in Turkmenistan consists of six accredited UN agencies. They are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC UN). The World Bank and the International Organization for Migration also work in Turkmenistan as affiliated UN organizations. All UN agencies are actively cooperating with the Government of Turkmenistan. They have made significant contributions in all areas of partnership.

In 2007, the work of the UN family in Turkmenistan was enriched with the opening of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in Ashgabat. This Centre aims at ensuring a coordinated interaction between states, international and regional institutions, as well as other interested parties on issues of peace and security. The Regional Center operates on the basis of the Programme of Action for 2012-2014 aimed at addressing the problems associated with regional cross-border threats, consequences of internal processes in Central Asia affecting stability in the region, management of shared natural resources and environmental degradation. In the past years, the Centre has been an important venue for meetings of representatives of regional institutions, strategic researches, academic and expert circles of Central Asian states, as well as international experts to discuss various aspects of the situation in Central Asia.

In 2011, Turkmenistan opened a permanent mission to the United Nations Office in Geneva, accommodating a number of key UN agencies, as well as the headquarters of other major international organizations. At the same time, Turkmenistan plans to increase presence of UN agencies in the country. Turkmenistan has recently put forward the initiative to establish the UN Inter-regional Center for Climate Change, the Advisory Council on Peaceful Development in Central Asia and Caspian region, the Caspian Environment Forum of the United Nations, and to hold a series of international high-level conferences on important regional and global issues in Ashgabat.

The United Nations sees Turkmenistan as a reliable and responsible partner. This is evidenced by Turkmenistan’s election to three well-known UN bodies - the UN Commission on Population and Development for the period of 2012-2015, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the period of 2012-2015, and the Executive Committee of the Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the permanent basis.

Turkmenistan has long gained the status of peacekeeping center with huge potential and experience in prevention and resolution of existing and potential conflicts. A good example of this is Turkmenistan’s contribution to ending the civil war in Tajikistan, as well as effective assistance to the Afghan people in building a new and peaceful life.

The constructive position of Turkmenistan in discussing and resolving the priority issues of our time at the United Nations allows the country to maintain and further strengthen its status of the full participant in international processes in the last 20 years. Obviously, the foreign policy pursued by the country on the basis of the neutral status delegated by the UN as well as on the principles of peace, mutual respect and equal partnership not only meets the national interests of the Turkmen people but also people of other states who are interested in peace and security.

International observer
Alexey Tikhoretskiy

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