AGENDA FOR PEACEKEEPERS
A recent international conference in Ashgabat on the topic of global interaction and cooperation to strengthen peace and trust brought together many guests from dozens of countries and major international organizations, including the UN, OSCE, CIS and a number of regional bodies. Such representation is not accidental. As many delegates noted, it is indeed high time for a serious conversation about ways of building the system of international relations against the background of the complex and contradictory phenomena in the international politics. In this sense, Turkmenistan’s initiative to launch a substantial broad multilateral dialogue on this issue looks logical, because it was at Turkmenistan’s initiative that the UN General Assembly declared 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s speech was the chief event of the forum. In fact, it was a statement of Turkmenistan’s programmatic vision of the current state of affairs in the world and prospects of their development.
First of all, he talked about the highest priorities of Turkmenistan as a neutral state and a subject of international law. The head of state named them with utmost clarity. This is the maintenance of stability, trust and predictability of international relations based on peace, security and the UN Charter and international law. Acting in this vein, Turkmenistan suggests actively using the mechanisms of neutrality, its peacekeeping potential for the politico-diplomatic solution to existing problems, prevention and timely response to the regional and global threats, uniting efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, effectively countering global challenges such as international terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking. New threats have been recently added to this list, such as cybercrime, legal nihilism, attempts to dilute the role and functions of the UN and misuse of the human rights issues.
In this context, measures proposed by Turkmenistan to move the multilateral dialogue on these topics into a positive channel are relevant. In particular, the Turkmen diplomacy has been consistently working to intensify and strengthen cooperation by putting forward the draft UN General Assembly resolutions on sustainable energy, transport, ecology, security and implementation of preventive diplomacy in Central Asia and a number of other issues. It is noteworthy that these initiatives are being increasingly appreciated and supported by members of the General Assembly.
It is also important that the international community is growing increasingly aware of the prospects of using the instruments of neutrality. The basic principles of neutrality such as commitment to peace, good neighborliness, cooperation and mutual understanding, negotiation methods to solve emerging problems, respect for universally recognized international legal norms are becoming more and more consonant with the interests and aspirations of the international community and its institutions. It is no coincidence that at Turkmenistan’s initiative a new international date appeared in the world political calendar several years ago – International Day of Neutrality, celebrated on December 12.
The support of neutrality is clearly evidenced by the unanimous and repeated adoption by the UN General Assembly of a number of resolutions, including “On the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan”, “The role and importance of the policy of neutrality in maintaining international peace, security and sustainable development”, “The role of the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia”. The fact that more than 20 states have already joined the UN Group of Friends of Turkmenistan’s Neutrality for Peace, Security and Development is very illustrative in this regard. Turkmenistan is working on the UN Code of Practice on the effective application of the principles of neutrality in solving international issues.
The last year events that coincided with the 25th anniversary of the international recognition of the neutral status of Turkmenistan became an important contribution to the development of the theory and practice of neutrality that helped to expand the practical interest in this model of interstate cooperation. Ashgabat reasonably believes that Turkmenistan’s neutrality presents an effective tool to advance the UN’s strategic goals in Central Asia in resolving the situation in Afghanistan, regional and international cooperation in the economic and humanitarian spheres. Ashgabat will remain unwavering in its commitment to the principles of strategic partnership with the UN in these and many other issues, and it intends to put neutrality at the service of the UN values and ideals.
In this regard, Turkmenistan suggests that in the current International Year of Peace and Trust the international community should focus and place special emphasis on the following major areas:
- strengthening international law, affirming the leading role of the UN in maintaining global peace and security, affirming and strengthening its role as the only organization with the universal mandate and legitimacy; countering legal nihilism and disregard for universally recognized international legal norms;
– maintaining and strengthening strategic stability and supporting the processes of disarmament and refraining from weapons build-up, primarily weapons of mass destruction;
– an uncompromising fight against international terrorism and other types of cross-border organized crime. To this effect, the widespread implementation of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy is crucial;
– support and strengthening of preventive diplomacy as an important tool for prevention of disputes and conflicts and their timely neutralization;
– ensuring energy, transport, water, food, information and cyber security, solving the problems of refugees and migrants.
Uniting international efforts on the basis of shared humanistic principles to combat the viral pandemic and its consequences is obviously the most urgent task this year. Undoubtedly, this and other major tasks of the global agenda can be fulfilled under one fundamental condition, i.e. goodwill, mutual trust, responsibility and foresight, respect and equality.
Calling on the world community to translate these concepts into action and work together within the framework of international and regional structures, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that “over 75 years, the existing system of global peace and security based on the UN Charter has proved its viability and conformity with the true aspirations of mankind. Yes, it can be improved, supplemented and enriched with new forms and models in line with objective needs and modern development trends. But we should never allow questioning it, let alone dismantling it. We can face very serious consequences, and I think that we are all well aware of this.”
In this respect, Turkmenistan strongly believes that the UN should remain the main international organization with universal legitimacy, the supporting frame and guarantor of maintaining global peace and security, ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of any states, regardless of their size, economic potential, form of government, etc.
Turkmenistan’s position as a neutral state is guided by respect for all peoples, their sovereign choice of development, political and socio-economic models, content and direction of their relations with other states. This is highly appreciated by partners and allows Turkmenistan to stably and consistently develop friendly, equal relations with dozens of countries around the world, maintain a high level of mutual understanding, effective economic cooperation with them, take an active part in the work of international institutions and promote the creative peacekeeping agenda.