Foreign Policy Strategy of Turkmenistan

One of the most important decisions of the Board of Elders of Turkmenistan, held on 20 October 2014 in Turkmenabat, chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has been the Decree « On Declaring 2015 the Year of Neutrality and Peace. » The significance of this decision, both in the national and international perspective, is emphasized by the fact that next year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Resolution « On the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan ».
On 12 December 1995, during the 50th Anniversary Session of the UN General Assembly, this resolution was unanimously adopted, an unprecedented document, the first of its kind in the activities of the Community of Nations. Without any exaggeration, this is a historic event, the undeniable fact of universal international support for Turkmenistan’s foreign policy, which is now one of the recognized peacekeeping centers not only of Central Asia, but also the world as a whole.
Peacefulness, respect for other people, their culture and traditions, tolerance, which are basic criteria of neutrality, acquired a new quality content in foreign policy and diplomacy of Turkmenistan. Building on the neutral status, Turkmenistan is consistently expanding its international relations. One can rightfully call a partnership with the UN as an example of the undisputed success of this strategy which is regarded as one of the priority vectors of the « Concept of Foreign Policy of Turkmenistan for 2013-2017 », aimed at the realization of the strategic goals and objectives, set out by the Head of State.
A landmark event in the history of cooperation with the UN is also the opening of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in 2007 in Ashgabat, which has established itself as a reliable outpost of the Community of Nations in the region. Currently, the Center is actively involved in monitoring and analysis of regional issues and is directly involved in various activities on critical development issues of Central Asia.
At the same time, this move on the part of the United Nations has strengthened the peacekeeping status of the country that played a significant role in the settlement of the civil conflict in Tajikistan and the internal conflict in Afghanistan. As is well known, being consistently committed to the principles of good-neighbourliness and mutual assistance, Turkmenistan exports electricity to Afghanistan and takes practical steps to build up these supplies, builds industrial and socio-cultural facilities, and regularly provides humanitarian aid to the Afghan population.
An important step towards strengthening the foundations of a peaceful life in the neighbouring country are also large-scale projects of regional significance, initiated by the Turkmen side. This, in turn, primarily refers to the prospective construction of the pipelines “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India” (TAPI) and laying of the railroad “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan”.
« We want to see Afghanistan as a peaceful and prosperous country, a good neighbour and partner of all countries of the region. Having said that, we also believe that the United Nations can and does have an important role to play in settling the Afghan conflict », – said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The result of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the United Nations, designed for the long term is the election of our country to the UN Commission on Population and Development for the period of 2012-2015, to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the period of 2012-2015, as well as to the Executive Committee Programme of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Another clear indication of the steady growth of the international prestige of Turkmenistan was its election this year as a member of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for 2014-2016, as well as member of the United Nations Commission for Social Development for 2014-2017. In this connection, it should be also noted that last year in April Turkmenistan was elected as vice-chair of the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and in November – as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO for 2013-2017. And as you know, Turkmenistan is among the group of countries, selected on the level of the United Nations to conduct national consultations on the definition of goals and objectives of the Post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
As pointed out by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at a meeting of the Council of Elders, the full support of the international community on promoting peace in the world, global security and sustainable development is a key vector of foreign policy strategy of neutral Turkmenistan.
By joining to more than 90 international conventions, Turkmenistan steadily follows the implementation of its obligations, has consistently demonstrated a readiness to direct its peacekeeping and creative potential to achieving the Global Millennium Development Goals proclaimed by the United Nations.
Thus, during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, the priority positions of Turkmenistan and concrete proposals to further develop constructive international cooperation in the following five key areas were presented: the protection and promotion of world peace and security, cooperation in the energy sector, transport sector, humanitarian affairs and human rights, ecology and environmental protection.
In particular, Turkmenistan offers to convene Forum on Security and Peace in the Central Asian region and to hold it in 2015 in the Turkmen capital under the auspices of the United Nations. In addition, Turkmenistan considers it appropriate to consider the establishment of the United Nations Interregional Center on Disarmament in Asia.
As one of the world’s leading energy powers, Turkmenistan is conducting focused international activities, focusing the world community’s attention to the issues of energy security. At previous sessions of the United Nations General Assembly there had been put forward initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on global energy security and mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector. Their relevance is confirmed by the realities of the time, as illustrated by the adoption of the UN resolution, entitled « Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation. » In this aspect, the importance is attached to the creation of a new international legal instrument, aimed at ensuring energy security.
Turkmenistan makes a significant contribution to the development of international cooperation in the transport and communications sector and the development of an appropriate modern infrastructure, which is one of the essential factors of the global sustainable development. Turkmenistan, which has great potential in this area, has initiated a number of projects to develop transport corridors of regional and inter-regional importance and seeks to expand partnerships with specialized agencies of the United Nations in this field. During the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, Turkmenistan made a proposal to consider the possibility of creating a Model Highway in Central Asia, which will play an important role in the development of the region.
Neutral Turkmenistan attaches great importance also to international cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, and in this context – to deepen cooperation with the United Nations and its relevant structures. Here, among the priority issues are health of mother and child, protection of the rights of the disabled, refugees and others. Vivid evidence to this is the granting of citizenship of Turkmenistan to about 5 thousand people in 2011-2014.
Questions of ecology and environmental protection are also closely involved with the objectives of sustainable development. In this important field, Turkmenistan provides for the implementation of joint measures to improve the environmental situation in Central Asia and the Caspian region, improving the level and quality of life, as well as for the implementation of projects of social and economic development. During the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, on behalf of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov the delegation of Turkmenistan made a proposal to develop effective mechanisms for enhanced cooperation on environmental issues, as well as on the creation of an Inter-Regional Center to address issues, related to climate change.
« Today, these important positions of Turkmenistan are received by the world community with the interest. We will continue to develop a full-scale political and diplomatic, as well as economic cooperation with all the countries of the world and structural agencies of the United Nations », said the leader of the nation.
Continuity and the triumph of the most valuable humanistic traditions of mankind is an immutable principle of the Turkmen people, deeply honouring the idea of peace, understanding and friendship. Therefore, every year on 12 December, Day of Neutrality is celebrated in Turkmenistan, which is considered as one of the major national holidays. Large-scale events, which will be held in 2015 – the Year of Neutrality and Peace, will be designed to clearly demonstrate to the world our country’s enormous success, achieved in a short historical period under the leadership of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.