IN THE FIRST PERSON
PRESIDENT GURBANGULY BERDIMUHAMEDOV'S NEW YEAR GREETINGS TO FELLOW COUNTRYMEN
The outgoing year 2017 - the Year of Health and Inspiration - has been full of significant events. Bidding farewell to the year 2017, which has been marked by the great successes, we celebrate the New Year 2018 with great hopes.
According to the Oriental calendar, the year 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Noting its devotion as a faithful guardian of the Turkmen hearth and domestic animals, we have an ancient saying "Happiness is Where a Dog Lives."
The Turkmen dog Alabai named Vepaly served as an image of the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held in Ashgabat this September. According to our ancestors, the Year of the Dog should bring plenty of rains, generous harvests and prosperity.
The outgoing year 2017 has become one of the most successful in the history of our country, marked by the large-scale reforms and glorious achievements.
Tremendous work has been done over this year in the interests of the country and the people. Many new facilities have been built, including the railway and automobile bridges Turkmenabat-Farab across Amu Darya river, the Garlyk mining complex for production of potash fertilizers in Lebap province, a sports complex in the National Tourist Zone "Avaza". We have completed another phase of construction of Taze Zaman housing estate in Ruhabat district of the capital city, as well as cottages, a complex of buildings of the Institute of Public Services, the Center for Endocrinology and Surgery under the General Directorate of International Medical Centers in Ashgabat.
Modern schools and kindergartens, houses, roads, and many other facilities have been erected in all the regions of Turkmenistan. Construction of new plants and factories, social and cultural facilities has been started with the view of improving the standard of living of the people.
We will continue this work, since caring for people is our state policy's priority, and that is why the motto "the state for the people!" will remain supreme.
Two years ago, we kick started the construction of the Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Pakistan - India gas pipeline along the ancient route of the Great Silk Road. This project will enable all participating countries to address not only economic but also urgent social tasks.
In the outgoing year, the large-scale reforms continued in the agricultural sector along with other branches of the economy. As a result, we have achieved great successes in creating food abundance and ensuring food security.
I would like to emphasize the private sector's great contribution to the country's development. Demonstrating their potential in all sectors, our entrepreneurs work enthusiastically and achieve impressive successes.
Turkmenistan's healthcare system, sports, science and education reached a qualitatively new level in the outgoing year.
We attach special importance to the gradual modernization of the education system. We build new modern comprehensive and secondary special schools, higher education establishments, preschool institutions, recreation and entertainment centers. We systematically strengthen their material and technical base. We will continue creating the most favorable conditions for the youth, who are our future, to study, work and raise the reputation and glory of our Motherland even higher.
The steady growth and welfare of the state is currently based on the advanced science. Therefore, we will always emphasize the accelerated development of the scientific sphere, introduction of high technologies and improvement of the efficiency of innovative programs.
Large-scale work was carried out in 2017 for development of physical culture and sports. The grand sports event - the V Asian Games - was successfully held in the newly built Olympic village in our capital. It provided a clear example of the enormous attention of our independent state towards development of mass sports and health movement.
At the outset of the year, we approved the Concept of the Foreign Policy of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2017-2023 that provides for strengthening the role of our sovereign state in the world, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign countries and international organizations.
Our independent state will continue moving forward along the course of positive neutrality and peacefulness. The adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Resolution declaring December 12 the International Day of Neutrality fully confirmed the universal recognition of our constructive policy.
Broad and multilateral cooperation with the United Nations has been the strategic course of our neutral state in the international affairs. At present, our independent country is a member of eight commissions, committees and councils of the United Nations. Turkmenistan was elected Vice-President of the UN General Assembly five times. In the outgoing year, Turkmenistan chaired the Energy Charter Conference. This is clear evidence of the steady growth of the international reputation and efficiency of the foreign policy of our neutral state.
Remaining committed to the ancestral traditions, we discuss all important issues with the honorable elders and the people. At the last meeting of the Council of Elders in Akhal province, we outlined the main vectors of development of our state for the next seven years by approving the Program of Social and Economic Development of Turkmenistan for 2018-2024.
The Turkmen national rite of singing and dancing "Kushtdepdi" has been recently inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. This is another evidence of the universal significance of the values of Turkmen culture and art.
The year 2018 that we festively celebrate today will be the year of creative work and great achievements.
We have chosen a motto for 2018 - "Turkmenistan is the Heart of the Great Silk Road." Building new motor and railways, seaports and bridges, our Fatherland re-creates the Great Silk Road in the third millennium.
Our country makes a great contribution to the development and strengthening of political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian ties in the international arena.
We will hold the first meeting of Khalk Maslakhaty in the New Year to discuss important issues. At this meeting, we will outline specific directions for the further development of our country, ensuring the peaceful, happy and prosperous life of our courageous people and conditions for their creative work.
With the view of further improving the living standard of the people and their social security, we will raise wages, pensions, welfare payments as well as scholarships for students by 10 percent starting from January 1. We will continue this policy in the future.
In a few moments, we will enter the New Year 2018. May it bring happiness, prosperity and great success to our sovereign Fatherland and people!
I wish you all good health as well as harmony and prosperity to every family in the New Year!
Happy New Year 2018, dear fellow countrymen!