Dear Heads of states!
Dear Heads and members of delegations!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today Heads of states, governments, parliaments, largest international organizations, prominent diplomats, political and public figures from around the world have gathered in this hall. First, allow me to welcome our dear guests and to express them deep gratitude for their accepting the invitation to participate in work of this Conference and to celebrate historical date – the 20th anniversary of Neutrality of Turkmenistan together with Turkmen people.
With good reason, we consider such broad and representative participation as a sign of respect for Turkmenistan, an indicator of a community of our thoughts and aspirations directed to strengthening international cooperation for the sake of peace, safety and development.
We are sincerely glad to see all of you in Ashgabat; and on behalf of people of our country, I say welcome to Turkmenistan!
This day, exactly 20 years ago, the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously adopted the «Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan» Resolution. Dozens of states gave us invaluable political and moral support at various stages of preparation and adoption of this historical document.
I address words of gratitude to member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization, participants of the Non-Aligned Movement who supported our country during the summits, respectively in March and October 1995 that became a powerful factor of subsequent recognition of Neutrality of Turkmenistan by the Community of the Nations.
Today I also express profound gratitude to all member states of the UN, its Secretariat for shown constructive position and understanding.
At that time, we were facing difficult choice. Any country, which has followed the way of original independence, is to solve a huge set of problems in extremely short terms, to look for the place in new realities, to answer objective issues raised for it, to integrate into system of international relations. Therefore, the issue of the choice of a foreign policy became one of most important and difficult for Turkmenistan.
What is it to be, how to establish relationship with the world community, on what principles to develop cooperation?
The destiny of Turkmen statehood, our independence and sovereignty in many respects depended on correctness of our choice. I tell it without any exaggeration because history knows many examples when mistakes in the choice of foreign policy model led to loss of real independence of states, their retraction in an orbit of the interests very far from the true purposes of national development.
We chose the model called a Positive Neutrality and formulated its fundamental provisions: peacefulness, non-interference into affairs of other states, respect of their sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonparticipation in the international military organizations and agreements.
What facts dictated exactly this choice?
Of course, first, national interests guided us. The young Turkmen state wanted to live in peace with neighbours, to maintain friendly, equal relations with all countries, to develop mutually beneficial economic, commercial relations with them. We were convinced that only under such circumstances it would be possible to provide peace to our people, to implement plans of economic and social development.
We don't have territorial or any other claims to any state; we decided to begin the independent way to international policy with a blank sheet, giving a hand of friendship and cooperation to our neighbours and the whole world. The neutrality became optimum model of implementation of these plans and purposes, the form, in which the content of Turkmen foreign policy was built mostly harmoniously and naturally.
I am convinced: the foreign policy of any state is inseparable from domestic policy. In this interrelation the key to understanding of an essence of proclaimed purposes and practical steps of this or that country on the world arena, philosophy of its foreign policy is covered. Proclaiming and realizing the principles of peacefulness, consent, tolerance and humanity in society, in internal life, Turkmen state projects these concepts on relationship with the outside world as well.
In this sense, the Neutrality of Turkmenistan bases on a strong moral framework of the interstate system, being its logical continuation and reflection of the best features of Turkmen people.
Time has shown that it was a wise and farsighted decision. For past twenty years, a neutral, peaceful foreign policy of Turkmenistan has shown the compliance to not only national interests, but also long-term goals of the world community, criteria of the constructive, balanced approach in ensuring international stability and safety, asserting of the principles of the UN Charter as bases of interstate relations. Unanimous adoption of the new Resolution by the United Nations General Assembly this year, in which support of neutral policy of Turkmenistan, recognition of its constructive peacekeeping role on the international arena is expressed, became confirmation of correctness of the sovereign choice made by us.
Coincidence of strategic objectives of Turkmenistan with the tasks and objective requirements of global development predetermines the character and an orientation of joint international efforts on strengthening of peace, safety and cooperation in Central Asia. In this work, we have the right to rely on accumulated peacekeeping experience of carrying out of negotiations on the political solution of the intra Tajik and intra Afghan conflicts in the mid-nineties of the last century in the capital of neutral Turkmenistan under the auspices of the UN.
Today neutrality potential in the region is demanded again, and our country is ready to act as the reliable and efficient partner of the UN in such major issues as peaceful settlement of the situation in Afghanistan, assistance to regional processes of disarmament and reduction of weapon arsenals, the balanced solution of hydro-electric problems, ensuring ecological safety.
The special part in realization of these tasks is assigned to the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia with headquarters in Ashgabat founded in December 2007 by the world community with assistance of all states of the region. The regional peacekeeping agenda received a new impulse, possibilities for development and realization of constructive models of interaction of the states based on the universally recognized norms of international law, based on the support on big moral authority of the UN; its invaluable experience in settlement of crisis situations considerably extended.
In this regard, setting of multilateral consultative and negotiation mechanism with participation of diplomats and experts within work of the Regional center to assist coordination of approaches of states in issues of social and economic development of the region seems important. Under the auspices of the UN as practice shows, levers of preventive diplomacy can work efficiently and bring real results.
Neutrality of Turkmenistan is a reality of today and our future in which new fine opportunities open for development of broad international partnership of Turkmenistan in all areas.
Close, multidimensional cooperation with the United Nations remains a strategic priority of Turkmenistan. For us the UN is the most representative international structure. We also consider it as the bearing support of all modern system of global interaction, the guarantor of preservation and peacekeeping and balance of interests on the world arena, stability of the existing architecture of safety.
We are firmly convinced that today against new world realities, escalation of intensity in various regions of the globe, high humanistic ideals, and the principles of the UN Charter have to remain a legal and moral support of the international order.
Today in Turkmenistan a number of specialized agencies of the United Nations, the UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Management for drugs and crime, UNFPA work on a constant basis. This cooperation is carried out on a system basis. We welcome such interaction; with gratitude, we accept support of the UN to our country by means of implementation of various projects and programmes. Together with the UN Turkmenistan, we will do everything necessary for the sake of strengthening of peace, stability and safety.
We also confirm the commitment to uncompromising fight against international terrorism, extremism, cross-border organized crime, drug trafficking. Development of brotherly, friendly communications with our neighbours will remain the most important area of foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan. We are connected with them by fine traditions of mutual understanding and respect.
At the present stage, we in common carry out the large-scale energy, transport projects urged to become guarantee of prosperity and progress of our countries, their full integration into the main process of development. In this context, we attach special significance to rendering assistance to our Afghan brothers in building of peaceful life, an economic recovery, settlement of a situation by peaceful, political and diplomatic means based on extensive national dialogue. Turkmenistan will continue assistance to Afghanistan; it will further support the international community in its peace efforts in Afghan land.
We are full of determination to increase multilateral interaction on solving all issues connected with the Caspian perspective. Ensuring firm safety on the Caspian Sea based on equality and mutual respect of all Caspian states is to be the main goal at the same time.
I am sure that the Caspian Sea is to remain the sea of peace, consent, neighbourliness and efficient international cooperation.
Relations of Turkmenistan with other countries and states are developing successfully; the cooperation with them was checked by time; it proved the efficiency. We will strengthen and develop further bilateral ties with them in political, trade and economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.
In this regard, I would like to say that recently in general our relations with the states of the Pacific Rim became more active.
Multidimensional dialogue of Turkmenistan with the European Union is developing structurally and consistently today; it gained subject, system and purposeful character recently. We welcome activation of political contacts with the EU, expansion of trade and economic cooperation, interaction in the sphere of culture, science and education.
We consider that today, there are good opportunities for achievement of more active cooperation with the countries of the Western hemisphere. We study prospects of subject partnership with the states of the African continent with attention and interest.
Expansion and diversity of foreign policy communications of Turkmenistan create favourable conditions for steady strengthening of international economic, trade and investment cooperation of our country.
Consistently carrying out diversification strategy, our country together with partners has realized a number of large pipeline projects in east and southern directions in recent years.
One more large energy project, construction of the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India gas pipeline (TAPI) entered the stage of practical realization. Support of TAPI by our partners in various states of the world, the largest financial institutions, first, by Asian Development Bank is the sign of understanding of importance of the project. Tomorrow the start will be given to construction of Turkmen part of this pipeline.
There is an active and interested dialogue on implementation of projects of supply of Turkmen natural gas to Europe. At the same time I would like to highlight: all realized and potential pipeline projects in which Turkmenistan participates are not caused by any geopolitical reasons; they were dictated by exclusively economic and commercial benefit for all countries across which territory there pass routes of gas supply. It is our principled stand to which we will adhere.
The initiatives formulated by Turkmenistan on creation of international transport corridors of regional and continental levels acquire special significance today. Our country considers stabilization of international processes, placing creation of transport infrastructure at service of development and progress of states and peoples an imperative the day, a necessary condition of successful implementation of sustainable development goals in global measurement.
I would like to underline that all these achievements, successful implementation of joint international projects are in many respects caused by a Neutrality of Turkmenistan. We never politicize economic cooperation. This fact finds due understanding and is highly appreciated by our partners, allows developing equal, mutually beneficial communications with various countries and companies.
As the neutral state, we can form the long-term external economic strategy, relying on the accurate and clear principles following from our international status.
Speaking of the positive experience accumulated by us during implementation of the neutral status today, we perfectly understand that the phenomenon of a neutrality needs further development. In this context, in our opinion, it is necessary to conduct purposeful and system work on further improvement of scientific and theoretical bases and practice of application of the principles of a neutrality in the international activity.
Proceeding from it and taking the real opportunity, Turkmenistan suggests considering the issue of creation of the International center for studying of problems of a neutrality in international law and international relations.
Noting high international importance of a Permanent Neutrality and in view of the fact that this status is one of fundamental bases in strengthening of peace, safety and development, Turkmenistan officially takes the initiative on declaration of the International Day of Neutrality within the UN. We hope to get support of all member states of the UN in these issues.
Our country meets neutrality anniversary in the conditions of peace and creation, neighbourliness, respect and mutual understanding with all friends and partners in the world community. We clearly see the prospects, we surely form development plans for the state and society.
The verified course towards broad, multidimensional international cooperation allows us looking forward with optimism. Neutral, peaceful Turkmenistan will do everything necessary for peace and security consolidation on our planet, to contribute to development and progress of human civilization.
I congratulate all of you, dear friends, on the 20th anniversary of Neutrality of Turkmenistan. It is our common holiday, and we are proud that we celebrate it together with you, our partners and likeminded persons from different countries of the world sharing common ideals and values.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Your active participation in work of current conference and substantial presentations demonstrate that Neutrality of Turkmenistan, foreign policy of our state attract deserved attention of the world community today. Interesting offers, useful ideas and estimates will be considered; if necessary, they will be used in our work. We are open for broad discussions, creative judgment of foreign experience; we readily perceive various opinions. In this sense, our conference has great practical value. The neutrality is not stiffened form; it is live, creative process including political, economic, historical, cultural aspects. New sides of a neutrality open during such discussions, experience of mutual communication between representatives of different countries is added.
The current conference is also important in the educational plan. Its materials will be included into manuals; our students, foreign affairs specialists, future diplomats, economists, lawyers, journalists will study them attentively. I am sure that the conference will become a serious contribution to development of political science, theory and practice of international relations. Extensive and professional discussion of a role of a neutrality in the context of modern regional and global development is to promote the best mutual understanding of states, rapprochement of positions, development of innovative schemes and models of partner interaction.
Turkmenistan was guided by it, having taken the initiative of convocation of current conference. All this will promote strengthening of peace, trust and mutual understanding between states and peoples.
Peacefulness, cooperation, mutual respect are thecornerstone principles of the international activity of Turkmenistan. Our country is open for any constructive ideas and offers; it is always ready for the subject and interested dialogue with other states and international structures. Once again, dear friends, I thank you for your participation.