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2018 †N9-10(162-163)
As expected, the working visit by the President of Turkmenistan to New York was not limited to addressing the general debates of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. As part of the intensive four-day visit, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterish, heads of several states and held talks with the CEOs of major U.S. companies at the Turkmenistan-U.S. Business Council meeting.
However, the Turkmen leader's address for representatives of nearly 200 UN member states in the General Assembly hall was at the top of his extensive agenda.
In his address to the international community, the President of Turkmenistan put forward a number of initiatives and proposals that cover topical issues of the international agenda such as ensuring security and confidence building, ecology and water resources, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and countering new challenges and threats.
In fact, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov's speech provides for a set of activities for Turkmenistan at the UN and the international arena as a whole for the coming period. At the same time, it should be noted right away that the initiatives put forward by the President of Turkmenistan are not declarative in nature, not a "statement of intent", so to speak. They are extremely specific, based on realistic plans, supported by the appropriate political and legal framework. Turkmenistan and the Turkmen diplomacy have clear-cut goals and will work with partners to achieve them.
The state of global security and measures to strengthen it remain the main issue. Speaking about it, the President of Turkmenistan did not hide his concern about the recent situation in a number of regions of the world.
"The current session of the UN General Assembly is taking place against the background of complex trends in international politics. Despite the efforts of the international community, above all the UN, the situation in many regions of the globe remains complicated, the number of conflict prone areas grows and, at the same time, the general level of trust and mutual understanding of the ways and prospects for global development diminishes. In these circumstances, the need for ensuring universal, lasting and long-term security becomes all the more evident and urgent, imposing on each state the responsibility for the fate of the world," the President of Turkmenistan said.
The President of Turkmenistan expressed strong confidence that the UN should play a key and decisive role in preserving the foundations of the international order based on the principles of mutual respect, equality, peaceful and political dialogue. "The validity of this mission cannot be doubted. The UN is the only universal international organization designed to ensure multilateral cooperation to strengthen international security and sustainable development," Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
Against the backdrop of criticism of the UN work, which appeared recently for various reasons, and allegations of the UN's "inefficiency" and even unambiguous statements calling for the UN dissolution, it was particularly valuable and relevant that in this speech the head of state upheld with firmness and adherence to principle the role of the United Nations as a pillar of the global security architecture and its undisputed guarantor. Commenting on such things makes no sense. At the same time, it is important to respond to them in a timely and reasoned manner, and the UN podium is the best way to do it.
In this context, the Turkmen leader's call on the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly to help overcome the crisis of confidence and strengthen mutual understanding between member states sounded convincing and reasonable. He supported it with a specific proposal, i.e. Turkmenistan put forward an initiative to proclaim the year of 2019 the Year of Peace and Trust. At the same time, the head of state emphasized that this initiative provides for development of specific measures aimed at reducing tensions, peaceful, political and diplomatic resolution of disputes and conflicts and adoption of responsible and well-balanced decisions.
There is no doubt that very soon Gurbanguly Bedimuhamedov' initiative, whose words and deeds are never at variance, will be followed by a number of serious and targeted measures by the Turkmen diplomacy.
In his speech at the UN, the President of Turkmenistan traditionally attached importance to the environmental issues. In particular, he touched on a serious issue such as saving the Aral Sea. It is obvious that the Aral Sea and its preservation can no longer be regarded as an internal, regional problem. The successful resolution of this problem depends on the support of the international community. It requires a new, focused and integrated international approach, a proactive and systematic participation of the United Nations in this work. In this regard, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said that Turkmenistan started the implementation of the initiative on establishment of a UN Special Program for the Aral Sea and making it a separate area of UN work. He called on the UN to support this initiative. The UN General Assembly Resolution "Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea" adopted on 12 April 2018 can be a good platform for this process.
The Caspian Sea was among other important topics covered by the President of Turkmenistan at the UN. It was not accidental, as the signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea on 12 August 2018 opened up new horizons for multilateral cooperation in this part of the world. The prospects of turning the Caspian region into one of the strategic transport, transit and energy hubs of international importance, a region of extensive investment, trade, economic activities and cooperation become feasible.
In this regard, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov confirmed Turkmenistan's willingness to hold comprehensive discussions with all interested parties about the implementation of projects that should be fully economically and commercially viable, beneficial for potential participants, can significantly strengthen the continental energy security and be long-term. Investments in such projects are investments in the future without exaggeration.
The UN is a strategic partner of Turkmenistan. This postulate is stipulated in a number of important national documents, including the Concept of Foreign Policy of Turkmenistan for 2017-2023. The country's leadership highly appreciates the efficient work of the UN specialized agencies in Turkmenistan, their contribution to the dynamic development of the Turkmen economy and social sphere. Turkmenistan's active participation in the work of the UN, the country's principled stand on upholding the leading role of the UN in the international affairs confirmed by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly was another evidence of the inviolability of Turkmenistan's foreign policy.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005