QUARTER CENTURY OF POSITIVE TRANSFORMATIONS
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov took part in the official flower laying ceremony at the Monument of Neutrality on the occasion of the International Day of Neutrality. Following the national anthem performed by the military orchestra, the head of state laid a wreath of flowers at the memorial plaque at the foot of the majestic memorial complex.
The Turkmen leader was followed by the speaker of the parliament, deputy prime ministers, heads of military and law enforcement agencies, ministers, members of the national parliament, heads of diplomatic missions accredited in Ashgabat, as well as representatives of public associations, media, elders and student youth who laid flowers at the foot of the monument.
The official program of the day continued with the international conference titled “Policy of neutrality and its importance in ensuring international peace, security and sustainable development” in the building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan (CCIT). The forum marking the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality was attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Before the start of the conference, the head of state viewed an international exhibition that was set up at the Expo Center of the CCIT on this occasion. The large-scale exhibition brought together representatives of the ministries and departments of the country, as well as the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan. In the course of 12 days, the exhibition participants signed over 130 international documents and agreements worth USD 62 million, over Euro 1.5 million euros and Manat 2.5 million.
Then, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov delivered a speech at the conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality. The head of state noted that the internationally recognized status of permanent neutrality gained by Turkmenistan on December 12, 1995 was a historic event for the country. It predetermined the path and nature of the foreign policy of the Turkmen state and had a powerful positive impact on internal development, implementation of large-scale national plans in the socio-economic sphere, establishment and strengthening of democratic institutions.
According to the Turkmen leader, Turkmenistan’s neutrality, friendly, constructive and respectful relations with all states, cooperation with the UN and its specialized bodies, participation in the work of other international organizations provide favorable opportunities for the country’s full-scale participation in addressing the most urgent problems of the modern world order.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov stressed that neutrality is applicable to almost all areas of Turkmenistan’s international partnership. It has great potential for establishment of cooperation and mutual understanding. It plays a significant role in achieving the fundamental goals and strategies of the UN. Congratulating everyone on the International Day of Neutrality, the head of state wished the conference participants fruitful work.
A video message by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the conference participants was screened for the forum participants. The UN Secretary General called on all member states to work for sustainable development, expressing in this context his gratitude to Turkmenistan for recognizing the importance of the SDGs. Stressing that the United Nations system would continue providing unwavering support to Turkmenistan in its efforts to achieve these goals, Antonio Guterres extended his sincere congratulations to the conference participants on this important anniversary.
Then, there followed a video message by the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen. Having cordially congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the Turkmen people on the 25th anniversary of neutrality, the head of the OIC stressed that Turkmenistan’s approach towards resolution of international problems through peace and dialogue meets the goals and principles enshrined in the OIC Charter. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation highly appreciates Turkmenistan’s commitment to the ideals of the organization, its positive contribution to joint activities and holding key events of the OIC.
The Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, CIS Executive Secretary Sergey Lebedev also sent his video address to the forum participants. On behalf of the CIS Executive Committee, he cordially congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and all residents of the country on the official public holiday – Day of Neutrality.
“We clearly see the aspiration of Turkmenistan to build interstate relations on the principles of good neighborliness, equality, respect for mutual interests,” the Chairman of the CIS Executive Committee, CIS Executive Secretary said. As an associate member of the CIS, Turkmenistan proved to be an active participant in many creative programs within the CIS. In this regard, according to Sergei Lebedev, one cannot but note Turkmenistan’s successful chairmanship of the CIS in 2019 and its proactive approach, already demonstrated in 2012, to development of multifaceted partnership and establishment of efficient mechanisms to ensure the consistent integration of the CIS member states into the modern world economic relations. The CIS highly appreciates the active position of the Turkmen state at the UN, where the country initiated a number of initiatives of universal importance on pressing issues such as ensuring energy security, creating international transport corridors and protecting the environment.
Then, the forum participants watched a video message by the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Vladimir Norov. The head of the SCO highly appreciated Turkmenistan’s active support to peaceful political settlement of the situation in neighboring Afghanistan that demonstrates its desire to develop relations of friendship, good neighborliness and cooperation in the region. The Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization expressed strong confidence that peace-loving Turkmenistan would continue pursuing the policy of stable neutrality and, taking advantage of its unique position, playing a crucial role in ensuring peace, security and sustainable development in the region.
The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ms. Audrey Azoulay also sent her video message to the conference participants. The head of UNESCO expressed her gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the opportunity to join the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality. She noted that the status of neutrality allowed Turkmenistan to open a new chapter in its rich history of dialogue between peoples and cultures that is part of the common roots of mankind. UNESCO supports Turkmenistan’s aspiration for peace in all areas under its mandate and reaffirms its commitment at the current celebration, the head of one of the leading specialized agencies of the United Nations noted at the end of her video message.
The President of Turkmenistan thanked the heads of international organizations for their video messages and kind words addressed to Turkmenistan and its people. Continuing the conference, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave the floor to the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Central Asia, Head of the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) Natalya German.
The head of the UNRCCA stressed the importance of the resolutions passed twice by the UN General Assembly. These documents became the basis of the country’s modern foreign policy aimed at developing a dialogue and cooperation, implementing peacekeeping initiatives, preventing conflicts and peacefully resolving disputes between states and peoples. In her opinion, declaring December 12 the International Day of Neutrality is a clear evidence of the high reputation of Turkmenistan in the world.
In this context, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative noted that in a short period, thanks to its neutral status and peaceful foreign policy, Turkmenistan not only achieved significant results in various fields but also made a significant contribution to ensuring stability, security and sustainable development, strengthening international cooperation both in Central Asia and globally.
The head of the UNRCCA stressed the importance of Turkmenistan’s initiatives for development of the UN Set of Rules on the effective application of the principles of neutrality in resolving international issues and ensuring peace and security, as well as on the organization of a broad multilateral dialogue under the UN auspices on the practical application of the principles of neutrality in order to prevent conflicts, eliminate their causes and consequences and resolution of humanitarian issues.
“Our common goal is to make Central Asia a model of security, stability and prosperity. We are determined to further strengthen our interaction in the interests of ensuring lasting peace in the region,” the UN Secretary General Special Representative said in conclusion.
The Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat, Ambassador Natalia Drozd, cordially congratulated President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and all citizens of Turkmenistan on the 25th anniversary of international recognition of the country’s permanent neutrality status. In her speech, she quoted a video message by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to the participants of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, in which he said “Turkmenistan’s neutrality is a call and provision of conditions for equal, respectful, mutually beneficial international partnership in politics, economy, environmental protection, ensuring global food security, fair and efficient distribution of the planet’s natural resources, support and assistance to refugees, migrants and stateless persons and for solving many other pressing problems of the modern world.”
This definition proves that the progressive concept of active and positive neutrality of Turkmenistan is based on the principle of integrity and indivisibility of security, which is also central to the OSCE philosophy of the comprehensive approach to security, Natalya Drozd said. As the past 25 years show, Turkmen neutrality offers an effective tool for active multilateral cooperation on a wide range of issues in order to ensure sustainable peace and development in the Central Asian region and beyond.
Continuing the official meeting, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov gave the floor to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Turkmenistan Alexander Blokhin.
Congratulating President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the entire Turkmen people on the significant date in their history – the 25th anniversary of international recognition of the country’s neutral status, the diplomat noted that Russia was one of the first countries to recognize Turkmenistan’s independence, supported from the very beginning and twice co-authored the UN General Assembly resolutions on Turkmenistan’s permanent neutrality. He noted that from year to year the country is building its reputation and recognition in the world by organizing large-scale international forums, providing a platform for dialogue on various issues of the regional and global agenda, on pressing issues requiring attention of the international community.
According to the diplomat, Russia has supported and will continue supporting the constructive initiatives of Turkmenistan. For example, this year the Russian Federation joined the Group of Friends of Neutrality established by the Turkmen partners at the UN, which provides a good platform for development of the multilateral dialogue based on the principles of mutual respect and recognition of interests.
Expressing his confidence that neutral and friendly Turkmenistan would continue making a positive contribution to peace and prosperity at the regional and global level, Alexander Blokhin thanked President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for the traditional cordiality and hospitality at this official event, wishing all the participants of the conference successful and fruitful work.
Addressing the conference participants, the President of Turkmenistan noted that in their statements the heads of international organizations and diplomats emphasized the importance of the policy of neutrality in ensuring international peace, security and sustainable development. According to the head of state, they proposed many valuable initiatives that can be used in international diplomacy.
“We highly appreciate the outcomes of the official conference that demonstrated that joint work to strengthen peace, security and stability and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals can become a solid basis for the unification of multilateral efforts,” the Turkmen leader said.
Concluding his speech, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that in 2021 Turkmenistan will mark another historical date – the 30th anniversary of independence. The head of state congratulated the conference participants on the upcoming year 2021, which was declared the International Year of Peace and Trust, wishing happiness and prosperity to everyone in the coming year.
In the afternoon, the international conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan continued in the format of plenary sessions.
The outcomes of the anniversary forum were summed up during the round table meeting and reflected in the Ashgabat final document of the international conference “Policy of neutrality and its importance in ensuring international peace, security and sustainable development”.