At a Cabinet meeting on February 18th, the President addressed participants with a speech, in which he outlined the priorities of Turkmenistan's foreign policy for the next seven years.
«The world today is changing rapidly; there are various new political and economic structures, new threats and challenges. Such conditions require carrying out a responsible and deeply thought-out foreign policy, which our country builds on the basis of clearly defined principles and basic provisions of neutrality based on the historical experience of the people, that has absorbed values, traditions, customs, and ethical norms, accumulated over centuries.
Neutrality and its foundations have enabled us to consistently follow our firm believes. These include love of peace and respect for other peoples, their culture and customs, philosophy and religion. All this helps us to build fruitful and equal relations with all partners, creates the conditions for substantive negotiations on any issues, finding mutually acceptable solutions that actively involve new forms of international cooperation.
For these reasons Turkmenistan is increasingly consolidating its position as one of the recognized centers for broad and multilateral exchange of views on major issues of common development. Their successful solution requires our diplomats to continuously improve the level of skills and education, to have a clear understanding of the strategic objectives and key activities of Turkmenistan in the international arena.
Asserting by Decree the “Concept of foreign policy of Turkmenistan for 2017-2023”, I want to note that this document defines the content and priorities of international cooperation of our neutral state in the medium term. It also reflects new trends and circumstances of the global and regional development. And as a responsible state, we must take all necessary measures in connection with these trends and phenomena, specifically setting out our views and approaches.
The main areas of work in the coming years in the framework of the “Concept of foreign policy of Turkmenistan for 2017-2023” are the following:
1. Broad and multi-format cooperation with the United Nations has been and remains a strategic vector of the international activities of our neutral state. We always emphasize that United Nations is the main platform for resolving any important international issues. Turkmenistan, gratefully appreciating the support and recognition of its neutrality by the Community of Nations, bears a special responsibility towards the organization. It seeks to promote strengthening of international peace and security. And it will always continue to do so.
2. Our neutral state and will continue to actively participate in addressing critical environmental issues, matters of water resources management, prevention and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters. Our state will assist to attract the United Nations to a wide and effective solution of these problems.
3. In this regard, I want to note particular importance of environmental and water diplomacy of Turkmenistan. Within the framework of the chairmanship of Turkmenistan in the International Aral Sea Fund in 2016-2019, it is necessary to implement the provisions of the relevant Concept. In this context, it is important to give this work a particular character and direct it to the achievement of outcomes.
4. On this basis, we have to clearly and consistently fulfill the provisions of resolutions of UN General Assembly on reliable and sustainable transit of energy resources. We must continue to actively cooperate in this direction with the United Nations Member States, and the Secretariat of the Organization. We need to create favorable conditions for the work of the group of international experts for preparation of multilateral international legal UN documents to ensure energy security and to create a sustainable energy system. As is known, this year Turkmenistan takes the chairmanship in the Energy Charter Conference. This means that everything coming into this area of work should be carried out in an organized manner and at a high level.
5. The transport system should also be one of the key areas of cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies. In this connection it is necessary to actively implement our country's initiative to create transport corridors. We need to carry out work directed on transformation of Central Asia into a major transport and transit hub on a continental scale.
The Global Conference on Sustainable Transport held in Ashgabat in November last year has become an event of international importance. It was the starting point for the establishment of international relations on transport. We must continue the work we have started in this direction into the future. We need to achieve compliance with the provisions adopted in the final documents of Ashgabat.
6. Our independent state will systematically expand its relations with other international and regional organizations - Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Islamic Cooperation Organization, and Non-Aligned Movement. I believe that in order to strengthen cooperation for peace and security, economic and humanitarian ties, we should actively use these organizations for conduct of international business.
At the same time, being an associate member of the CIS, Turkmenistan will continue to develop its activities in the framework of the CIS, in accordance with the basic rules of its legal neutral status. In recent years, there have been some positive trends in the coordinated work of our country and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I consider it expedient to study all the possible forms of cooperation with this major regional organization.
7. Another important direction of foreign policy of our state is the neutral development of close and multilateral relations with its closest neighbors. Cooperation with the countries of the region on the principles of mutual understanding and trust is the basic condition for the preservation and strengthening of peace and security in Central Asia. It also determines dynamic economic and social development of the region. It allows us to connect and actively support the world economy, to widely attract investment.
In this regard, the content of the regional strategy of Turkmenistan is the following: the development and resolution of the most important issues of broad international cooperation, establishment of full cooperation in Central Asia, favorable geo-political and economic conditions. On this basis, our independent country will continue to cooperate with states in the region and carry out purposeful work both on bilateral basis and within international organizations.
As a result of Turkmenistan's policy of neutrality, peace and mutual respect, we managed to establish relations of friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding with Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian states - Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. These countries and people living in them are considered by Turkmenistan as brotherly countries and people. Our country is united with them by geography, common history, culture and traditions. Therefore, we will continue to strengthen all-round cooperation in the region. We will promote the development of trade, economic and humanitarian partnership.
We pay special attention to Afghanistan. Under the auspices of the United Nations we continue to act in favor of stabilizing the situation in the country through a political settlement. We call on the international community to assist in the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.
8. We will continue to actively cooperate on the Caspian Sea on the five-party basis. In recent years, we achieved significant progress in addressing some of the major issues on the Caspian Sea, including an agreement on approach to its legal status. Agreements on protection and rational use of the Caspian Sea water and biological resources, prevention and elimination of emergency situations in the Caspian Sea have been put forward by Turkmenistan and signed and approved by all the parties.
We also took the initiative to study the documents on trade-economic and transport cooperation on the Caspian Sea. We need to conduct systematic work with the Caspian countries to maintain the initiative, establish regular and target-oriented relationships in these promising areas of cooperation.
9. Russian Federation is a strategic partner of Turkmenistan. Cooperation with Russia - both on bilateral basis and within international organizations - has proved its effectiveness and shown that it is in the fundamental interests of both countries. We will continue to develop direct cooperation with Russian regions. These regions are now showing more interest in the Turkmen market.
10. We will continue to expand cooperation with the states of Caucasus, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. These countries are our traditional partners. Bilateral and multilateral relations with them are very important. I consider it promising to co-operate with these countries in trade, economics, investments, cultural and humanitarian spheres, where there are great opportunities for cooperation.
11. Peoples Republic of China is united with our country by relations of close friendship and strategic cooperation. Today, China is the largest foreign trade partner of Turkmenistan. Relations with this country are based on mutually beneficial and long-term basis. On the eastern vector of our foreign policy, we will strengthen relations with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In recent years we have carried out the meeting with the heads of Japan, Malaysia and South Korea. These meetings confirmed the interest of the parties in cooperation, which shows presence of great potential.
12. We will continue our fruitful cooperation with the European countries, United States, especially on such important issues as the preservation of peace and stability in Central Asia. Let us work together to combat new threats and challenges of our time, to cooperate effectively in the field of energy security.
13. I consider it necessary to seriously study the opportunities for interaction with the countries of Latin America. Several major countries in the region have shown great interest in cooperation with Turkmenistan. Therefore, through conducting various international events, we should actively use the opportunities of political cooperation with these countries, using their traditional views on protection of the interests of developing states.
14. We must actively engage the African direction of our foreign policy. We need to strengthen and develop our relations with the African Union.
15. Cooperation with international financial and economic structures is now of great importance to successful involvement of Turkmenistan in the global world economy. In this respect, we will continue to maintain a fruitful cooperation with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and other major financial institutions. We will continue to study the prospects of joining the World Trade Organization.
16. Traditionally, we attach great importance to the development of international cultural relations. We believe cooperation in this area is an effective way to achieve peace, mutual understanding and rapprochement of peoples. Turkmenistan is open for wide sharing and strengthening of the links with creative figures. Our country holds annual international competitions and festivals. These events are attended by figures of culture and masters of arts from around the world, and, not only by recognized ones, but also by young people and children. These activities help to establish good relations between people of different nations and religions, relations based on friendship, mutual respect and trust.
17. This year, we will hold 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat. This shows high trust, placed in our country by the Olympic Council of Asia. This is recognition of successes of Turkmenistan in sport, its contribution to the worldwide Olympic movement, popularization of sports and healthy lifestyle. In this regard, in the remaining time before the Games, we should strengthen the work on preparations for this important landmark in the history of our country and raise the awareness of the world community.
Special attention should be paid to such qualities of people as openness, originality, and respect for other cultures. We should communicate our commitment at the highest level to receive participants and guests from around the world. All of them will be met according to the beautiful traditions of the Turkmen people - with warmth and hospitality.
I instruct the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement the Concept and to work for the implementation of all existing tasks in this document. Heads of ministries, departments and other public bodies should also be guided by instructions provided in this document in the process of preparation of daily and long-term plans for their international activities.
No matter the final direction of our foreign policy, it must always be balanced and consistent. It must pursue one main goal - to create an enabling international environment for domestic development of Turkmenistan, as well as help to ensure the legitimate interests of our neutral state in the global arena, serve to improve its credibility as a reliable and stable partner».