YEAR OF PEACE AND TRUST
In September 2019, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Turkmenistan-initiated resolution declaring 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust. It is significant that this resolution was adopted by consensus unlike many other UN documents of political orientation that, as a rule, receive a mixed reaction and often opposing opinions from different countries. This fact speaks of the relevance of this resolution and true reflection of the objective demand of the time.
Putting forward the proposal on the International Year of Peace and Trust, the President of Turkmenistan was guided by the fact that political situation in the modern world, the nature of interstate relations, the very style of political and diplomatic communication are increasingly degrading and losing predictability and elementary respect. The Turkmen leader has repeatedly expressed concern over the growing legal nihilism, disregard for international law and the UN Charter, which is the basis of the global security architecture.
The cause-and-effect relationships of such development of international relations are different. At the same time, it is clear that the lack of trust is one of their results. This is the reality that not only interferes with constructive relations between individual countries but also seriously complicates solving the global problems, such as maintaining strategic balance and stability, combating global challenges such as international terrorism, global warming, refugee problems, ensuring food security and a number of others.
The crisis of trust has not spared the most pressing global problem, i.e. the coronavirus pandemic. It is no coincidence that speaking last December at the International Conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov bluntly stated that the pandemic exposed systemic problems in international relations in addition to affecting the health of tens of millions of people around the planet and, unfortunately, claiming many lives. This relates, above all, to the lack of readiness, and not only at the technical level, insufficient level of trust and political will to join efforts to combat the pandemic.
In this situation, Turkmenistan’s initiative to declare this year the International Year of Peace and Trust looks very timely. Moreover, as the President of Turkmenistan noted, it is not symbolic, although in this case the healthy symbolism is evident. It is about making specific steps to implement the UN resolution. In this context, a high-level international conference scheduled this year in Turkmenistan is of paramount importance. It is designed to become a platform for establishing a substantive multilateral dialogue on topical issues of international politics, giving it positive impulses, finding ways to converge points of view and approaches.
Turkmenistan believes that the achievement, preservation and maintenance of peace are the basis for such convergence. Moreover, peace should be achieved not by force, which is so often talked about today, not by situation agreements that, unfortunately, remain situational and, as a rule, short-lived. According to the Turkmen foreign policy, peace is a spiritual-value category, an organic, unchanging and unconditional basis for the country’s relations with all states of the world.
Ashgabat objectively does not idealize the situation and understands that wars, the desire to achieve the stated goals by force remain a reality in the world politics. At the same time, Turkmenistan also believes that a rare modern conflict can be solved by force with long-term perspective. Therefore, Turkmenistan has for many years been persistently and consistently promoting the peacekeeping agenda in the international arena, offering its neutral political space for resolution of disputes and conflicts at the negotiating table.
Such activities should be undoubtedly based on the internationally recognized legal norms. That is why Turkmenistan strictly and rigorously abides by its obligations, categorically rejects legal nihilism in interstate relations and ignoring the legal rights and interests of any states regardless of their size, economic potential, form of government, etc. Turkmenistan’s worldview as a neutral country is based on respect for all peoples, their sovereign choice of development, political and socio-economic model, substance and orientation of relations with other states.
A dialogue initiated by Turkmenistan within the framework of the International Year of Peace and Trust will obviously take place against the complex background of fighting the pandemic and its consequences, exacerbation of global military-political rivalry, many local conflicts in different parts of the planet, etc.
At the same time, it is encouraging that the international community expressed readiness at the UN to discuss the issue relating to restoration of trust and predictability that Turkmenistan put on the global agenda. Against this background, the 2021 motto “Turkmenistan is the Homeland of Peace and Trust” approved by the Turkmen parliament seems well-founded. The country is guided by these concepts both in its domestic and foreign policies, offering concrete proposals at the international level and readiness to provide its peacekeeping potential for their implementation.