Turkmenistan’s Strategic Priorities

Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan

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The Republic of Turkmenistan at 25 is making tremendous development in every sphere of its national life. Despite regional economic meltdown its macro-economy is strong, stable and sustainable. Despite regional political chaos, its political system and above all governance is unblemished. It is indeed icon of “neutrality”.

All the international monetary agencies and financial organizations rate it the best among the regional countries because of its resilient banking system, financial transparency, unmatched social development and the last but not the least, unshakable trust between the government and its people. Keeping in view Turkmenistan’s overall positive contribution towards peace, harmony, development, sustainable energy mix, and conflict resolution, it has been selected to preside the 71th session of UN General Assembly.

It is a successful model of “socialist economy” where people are always preferred on corporate profits. It is one of the hot destinations for regional and international tourists. It is blessed with uncounted reservoirs of oil and gas which is being utilized for the welfare of its people and the last but not the least, further strengthening of regional cooperation, peace and harmony. Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan gas pipeline (TAPI) is the prime example of greater regional economic integration.

It has visionary leadership in shape of its President H.E. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov who is the custodian of their collective hopes, achievements, inspirations, prosperities and strategic priorities. It has dynamic political system which covers all aspects of democratic norms and conventions. It has a functional constitution which declares “person” as the main value of the society. Human rights are truly respected and protected in one of the fastest growing, prosperous and peace-loving nations of the world. It has now constructive regional engagements for the further strengthening of political understandings, peace and energy cooperation. It has also a close and effective partnership with the United Nations (UN).

Turkmenistan strides in international arena by virtue of its constant peace-loving policies of its leader, the father of the nation. His diversified but integrated policies, programs and its implementation for achieving greater peace, security and development have enabled Turkmenistan to take giant step at international stage with confidence and zeal. Turkmenistan is now closely connected and integrated with international community because of its constant socio-economic-politico transformation , reforms in all sectors of economy and innovative and modernization at every productive channel in the country. It is now an industrialized developed country which basic strength is its knowledge based economy, business and people’s friendly policies, indigenous talent and above all strategic vision of its great leader President H.E. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov

Now, the Republic of Turkmenistan has achieved magnificent goal of international recognition of international community especially UN. It is actively participating in the annual sessions of the UN General Assembly.

Turkmenistan is being elected to the high post of the Vice-Chair of the 71th session of the UN General Assembly. The upcoming UN High Level Forum would be an important step towards a constant partnership of international efforts of successfully tackle the important issues of the global agenda, the approval of the UN leading role in the preservation and strengthening of world peace, stability and security, the full realization of the stated agenda of sustainable development up to 2030, the steady implementation by member states of their commitments to ensure sustainable development in the light of the agreements reached at the relevant conferences and positive contribution of Turkmenistan would be an asset to 71th session of the UN General Assembly.

Turkmenistan’s priority stance in the71st session of the UN General Assembly is crystal clear and reflects its pragmatic foreign policy, according to which, Turkmenistan will continue to strictly follow the principles of neutrality, non-interference, guided by a strong commitment to a peaceful, political means to resolve conflicts and contradictions.

Turkmenistan’s constant meaningful contribution will be highly appreciated as a full member of the Executive Board of UNESCO, as well as a number of specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as Executive Committee of the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Commission on Economic and Social Council, the Governing Council of the United Nations on Human Settlements Programme, the Commission on Population and Development, the Executives Board for Coordination of the United Nations framework on gender equality and the empowerment of women, the UN Commission for social development, the United Nations Commission on science and technology for development. Its development orientation, people’s friendly policies, relentless pursuits of peace and harmony and shared human values have been reflected and projected in all above mentioned international organizations for so many years.

It is hoped that one of the most important task during the upcoming session of UN General Assembly i.e. implementation of international initiatives of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on global and regional issues will be highlighted and implemented. Its strategic orientation comprising of peace, security, strengthening the partnership for sustainable development, increasing international cooperation in the transport and energy sectors, to develop and implement effective solutions to the issues of environmental and disaster risk reduction will be showcased through thorough discussions during so many interactive sessions. Turkmenistan’s endeavor towards humanitarian assistance and cultural cooperation would also be highlighted.

Turkmenistan’s Strategic Priorities

(a) Peace & Security

One of the main components of the global security is the joint action of the United Nations Member States to combat international terrorism. Turkmenistan will continue to contribute to the common efforts to combat the threats of terrorism. Turkmenistan has already initiated all possible measures to cope with the menace of terrorism. A series of concrete steps has already been taken to implement the “Final Declaration and the Joint Action Plan”, adopted in November 2011 in Ashgabat on the basis of International Conference at a high level of Central Asian countries and other states to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia.

Turkmenistan considers illicit trafficking of drugs and human trafficking as a security threat and challenge to international security and stability. In this regard, Turkmenistan with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration will develop concrete projects on cooperation in these areas vital for human survival and endurable peace.

Turkmenistan is the icon of neutrality which will continue to pursue an active policy in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, in the limelight will be the establishment of coordinated actions on implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Zone Free from Nuclear Weapons in Central Asia.

Turkmenistan stresses for the strict observance of the universally recognized norms and principles of international law regulating activities of the international community to promote peace and security, offers in the framework of the 71st session of the General Assembly to start extensive consultations with a view to develop common conceptual approaches to the issue of conflict resolution through political and diplomatic tools and methods of the UN coordinating role.

Turkmenistan pledges to convene a special session of the UN General Assembly on strengthening the role of international law as the basis for maintaining global peace and security. The Turkmen side expresses its readiness to submit proposals to develop relevant resolutions on the subject of UN General Assembly.

In the framework of the initiative of the head of the state it will be proposed to consider within the framework of the First Committee of the UN General Assembly the opportunity to prepare a draft resolution of the General Assembly on “International Day of Neutrality and Peace.”

(b) Sustainable Development Partnership

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Sustainable economic development is essential for regional prosperity and international connectivity. It promotes peace and shared human values. Its partnership brings desired goals of greater economic integration, stability and above all peace in the world. During the upcoming 71th session of the UN GA practical application of the Agenda for sustainable development till 2030 will be aimed at Turkmenistan’s efforts on its implementation in the national programs. The successful implementation of sustainable development is impossible without wide range of partnerships between governments, private sector and civil society built on common principles, values and goals established at global, regional and local levels.

In this regard, Turkmenistan considers multilateral cooperation must for achieving these goals through regular holding of international conferences, forums, meetings, acting as a political platform for discussion and coordination of positions on topical issues. As the implementation input of sustainable development goals, Turkmenistan is ready to provide its political space for such meetings under the patronage and with the active participation of the United Nations.

The UN General Assembly resolution of 25 September 2015 titled “Transforming Our World: The Sustainability Agenda for the period up to 2030” says that an important factor for sustainable development is sport. In particular, the resolution stated: “We recognize the growing contribution of sport in the matters of development and peace, as it promotes the establishment of the principles of tolerance and respect and promote the empowerment of women and youth, individuals and communities, as well as the achievement of goals in the field of public health, education and social integration.”

Today, sport is one of the main interconnected factors of mutual understanding and cooperation between peoples and states. Turkmenistan is going to hold V Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts in Ashgabat in September 2017 where a dozen of states of Asian continent and the countries of Oceania will be participated. It is need a main contribution of Turkmenistan.

Taking into account the existing UN traditional practices, Turkmenistan offers on the eve of the V Asian Games to conduct series of the high-level forums at the UN area aimed at raising global awareness of the upcoming Games, its sports and universal significance. It invites all UN member states to actively participate in these events.

(c) Transportation Cooperation

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Transportation cooperation is must for regional as well as international development. It fosters economic development. It revolutionizes industrialization. It encourages trade and commerce activities. It increases mutual dialogue and process of development. Turkmenistan is one of the pioneers of in the field of transportation. It will contribute to the acceleration of the processes of establishment of various regional and inter-regional transport and transit corridors, which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the growth of economic activity in the world.

Turkmenistan, having been an active participant of establishment of an integrated multimodal system of transport-transit infrastructure in the vectors East-West and North-South, considers the opportunity to interface various concepts of traffic flows on the Eurasian continent on the basis of mutual benefit, taking into account the interests of all participants in such projects. It is ready to conduct substantive negotiations to participate in various formats, including the venues of international and regional economic organizations.

An important step in the development of coordinated approaches to establishment of transport and transit corridors, as well as in the light of the implementation of the UN General Assembly resolutions on “The role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation for sustainable development” on 19 December 2014 and “Towards a comprehensive cooperation between all modes of transport in order to facilitate the creation of sustainable multi-modal transit corridor” on December 22, 2015 will become holding the Global conference on Sustainable Transport in Ashgabat, 26-27 November 2016. It invites the United Nations member states and international organizations to take an active part in the work of this forum.

Turkmenistan expresses confidence that the consistent implementation of initiatives to promote international cooperation in the field of transport will allow developing new legal and institutional framework for the expansion of the international transport system linking Asia with Europe. The Turkmen side urges in the framework of Conference to discuss the basics of the UN Special Programme for the development of transit and transport opportunities on the Eurasian continent.

(d) Energy Cooperation

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Energy cooperation is must for rapid economic development and industrialization. Turkmenistan has tremendous opportunities and resources to connect regional countries. Moreover, energy security is the mantra of every country in the world. Due to non-state actors and many other geographic hurdles it’s easy and smooth supplies have become critical. It is becoming increasingly apparent of necessity to develop generally acceptable universal approaches to energy security aimed at regulating the relationship between suppliers, transit countries and consumers of energy resources.

On its part, Turkmenistan comes from the firm conviction that international transit of energy resources should be made on an equal and equitable basis to be economically and commercially sound. Turkmenistan expresses readiness for close cooperation with the partners on the basis of clearly defined principles. Turkmenistan as the Chair of the Energy Charter in 2017 will consistently defend it, firstly is the principle of freedom of transit, as fully consistent with the approach to this problem.

Turkmenistan during the 71th session of the UN General Assembly will continue to actively contribute to the work of a new international legal mechanism of the international experts’ group on the development, call to ensure compliance with the generally accepted rules of conduct in the global energy space. It calls for its partners from the United Nations.

Aimed at contributing to the implementation of sustainable development goals on access to affordable, reliable modern energy sources, as well as contributing to the steady, inclusive and sustained economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, Turkmenistan will continue to take concrete measures to practical application of Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project.

Turkmenistan expressed confidence that sustainable energy is an essential factor in strengthening the security and reliability of the global economy, protecting ecosystems and achieving equity in international affairs.

(e) Environmental Cooperation

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Environment has become one of the main non-state actors and poses a serious threat to human survival on the planet. Climate change has changed development perception. It has a significant impact on the life of humanity and international economic processes.

Turkmenistan will continue implementing practical measures by initiated earlier the concrete proposals in this area aimed at enhancing regional and international cooperation and the establishment of systemic mechanisms of cooperation, including -proposals to establish under the auspices and with the active participation of the UN specialized structures -Regional Center for technologies related climate change, for which the Turkmen side is ready to provide the necessary infrastructure.

Taking constructive and balanced steps and actively contributing to the resolving global problems, and taking into account the future chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, which is an important platform for the implementation of projects and programs aimed at environmental rehabilitation and the solution of socio-economic and water issues not only the Aral Sea region, but also the entire region. We will continue to promote the initiative of President of Turkmenistan on Water diplomacy within existing international mechanisms in the Central Asian region.

Based on the international initiatives of President of Turkmenistan, having announced at the III World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Turkmenistan will make an effort to establish a set of measures aimed at the prevention and elimination of consequences of emergency situations caused by natural disasters. It shows its readiness to work with all stakeholders to establish a regional early warning system for natural disasters in Central Asia and the Caspian region.

(f) Humanitarian Issues

Turkmenistan being a true democratic state is fully taking care of human rights and freedoms as mentioned in the fundamental Conventions and other multilateral UN international acts. It expresses its readiness to active participation in the implementation of practical steps in the humanitarian field. Turkmenistan within the framework of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly will focus its efforts in cooperation with the specialized agencies of the United Nations in implementation of national and regional programs and action plans to ensure the rights and freedoms of person adopted on the basis of international legal instruments of the United Nations. A special place in this activity will be devoted to protecting the most vulnerable groups: refugees, migrants and stateless persons.

Concluding Remarks

The Republic of Turkmenistan under the strategic leadership of President H.E. Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has achieved a notable position in the region as well as in the world. Its strength is its visionary leader. Its inspiration is its hardworking people. Its assets are its indigenous collective wisdom. Its guarantor is its dynamic constitution. Its supporter is its functional political system which always encourages gross-root participation, accountability, transparency and merit. Its international recognition is based on its holistic approach towards basic human rights, freedom, women empowerment, universal education, clean drinking water and health facilities which have been rated the best among all the regional countries by so many international agencies for so many years. Its “neutrality” is the essence of its international posturing.

It has strategic vision of achieving global peace, harmony, sustainable development, humanitarian assistance and the last but not the least, environment cooperation as well as consistent implementation proposed by Turkmenistan at various international forums, initiatives, and proposals will be a key in the development of approaches of Turkmenistan to cooperation with all member states, organizations, bodies, institutions, UN agencies and institutions in the course of the 71th session of the General Assembly.

Turkmenistan always welcomes the close international cooperation in resolving emerging problems of today and expresses its firm willingness to work together in the name of the consolidation of high ideals of peace and justice, the goals and challenges facing the United Nations.

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