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2023  N9-10(222-224)
The visit by President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov to New York for the 78th session of the UN General Assembly was expected for at least two reasons. Firstly, it was his first visit to the main international political platform after his election to the highest state post. Secondly, given the current serious military-political upheavals, the international circles rightly expected a clearly articulated position on key issues on the international agenda from a neutral country that proclaimed the global initiative “Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace”, which became a notable political event in the current context.
The President of Turkmenistan did not fail the expectations. Serdar Berdimuhamedov was extremely honest in characterizing the modern problems and equally principled in presenting Turkmenistan’s approaches to solving them. His speech at the General Assembly was one of the most saturated statements in terms of specifics and practical proposals. In essence, this is a mid-term program of foreign policy of Turkmenistan.
One of the key issues is the future of the UN. A lot has been said about it, various options have been offered to reform the organization. In his turn, Serdar Berdimuhamedov said that “against the background of discussions about the role of the UN in the modern world, proposals for its reform, criticism, sometimes fair, the fact remains unchanged and obvious – there is no alternative to the UN. As has been the case for more than seven decades since its foundation, the UN today is the only universally legitimate instrument for discussion of global issues and development of consensus decisions on them. This is the principled position of Turkmenistan.”
Yet, in the beginning of his statement, the President of Turkmenistan called for responsibility. Serdar Berdimuhamedov expressed confidence that it is responsibility that should unite all 193 member states of the organization. Each of them, regardless of the geographical location, size of the population and economy, socio-political model is called upon and capable of making an important contribution to solving the problems facing the community of nations.
Ensuring security is obviously an important condition for achieving this goal. According to Turkmenistan, it should be universal and comprehensive.
“Turkmenistan has for many years firmly and persistently defended the principle of indivisibility of security, its integrity and inseparability of its various aspects from each other,” Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted. We are confident that military and political security cannot be considered in isolation from economic, environmental, man-made, energy, transport, food, biological and information security. None of the listed areas can be secondary or irrelevant, and their solution cannot be postponed to a later date.”
The main task of the UN is to ensure such an integral approach to the problem of security, mobilize the experience, competencies, ideas and initiatives available to member states in a creative manner, move away from short-term benefits and advantages in the name of achieving truly momentous goals that will ensure lasting peace, security and development for the long term.
Turkmenistan calls for using the potential of the United Nations, its political and diplomatic tools, and moral authority to give a balanced, non-ideologized assessment of current events and trends, overcome mistrust and confrontational tension in world politics and try to outline prospects for compromise and mutual consideration of interests.
To this end, the President of Turkmenistan proposed to begin discussing the prospects for development of a global security strategy that would cover a number of specific areas of UN work, in particular:
– preventive diplomacy as a tool for prevention and elimination of conflicts;
– leverage the potential of neutrality for peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of disputes and conflicts;
– restoration of a culture of trustful dialogue based on the decisions of the UN General Assembly to declare 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust and 2023 the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace.
In this regard, Turkmenistan put forward an initiative to establish under the auspices of the UN a conference platform for security in Central Asia and its neighboring zones. The purpose of the conference platform is to develop approaches and solutions aimed at bringing together and synchronizing the efforts of the countries of Central Asia and the international community, international organizations, financial and economic institutions in ensuring sustainable, conflict-free development of this region. Turkmenistan expressed readiness to hold the first conference in Ashgabat in 2024.
Turkmenistan considers addressing the urgent environmental problems among the key areas of UN work in the coming years. In this regard, Serdar Berdimuhamedov called for paying closer and more effective attention to environmental problems in Central Asia, overcoming a certain inertia in addressing these problems and starting targeted and specific measures to formulate a holistic UN environmental strategy for a region with the population of almost eighty million, occupying vast areas, possessing unique natural resources and biodiversity and, at the same time, being in a zone of serious environmental risks.
As an important step in adopting a strategic approach to the environmental problems of Central Asia, Turkmenistan proposed to establish a specialized structure – a regional center for climate change technologies in Central Asia, which would work on climate issues in a substantive and systematic way. The Government of Turkmenistan stands ready to provide organizational and technical support for the functioning of such a center in Ashgabat.
Another proposal on environmental issues presented by Turkmenistan relates to the creation of the Caspian Environmental Initiative, which is intended to become an international platform for substantive and professional interaction on a wide range of issues related to environmental protection of the Caspian Sea, conservation of its biological resources and solution of a number of pressing environmental problems.
Serdar Berdimuhamedov also spoke clearly on such an important issue of global development as transport. Mentioning the first UN global conference on sustainable transport, successfully held in Ashgabat in 2016, the international meeting of transport ministers of landlocked developing countries, organized in cooperation with the UN in Turkmenistan last summer, as well as the UN General Assembly resolution recently adopted at the initiative of Turkmenistan “World Day of Sustainable Transport”, Serdar Berdimuhamedov proposed to convene a high-level meeting on the occasion of World Day of Sustainable Transport within the framework of the current session.
One of the priority areas of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy is maximum assistance to the UN in solving the food problem. “Unity, integrity and determination are needed when considering issues related to the access of states and regions to food resources, guarantees of adequate nutrition as an inalienable right of any person, a key factor in health and normal physical development, especially of children,” the President of Turkmenistan said, calling to overcome political, ideological, market barriers.
Based on this, Turkmenistan came up with an initiative to convene, under the auspices of the UN, in cooperation with the World Food Program, the World Health Organization, the UN Children’s Fund, a large-scale international forum on food security and expressed its readiness to provide conditions for holding such an event in Ashgabat at the agreed time.
As part of his visit to New York, the President of Turkmenistan took part in the first meeting of multilateral cooperation “C5+1” (Central Asian countries + USA) at the level of heads of state. During the meeting, a lively discussion took place on current issues of six-party cooperation. In their statements, the presidents outlined priority vectors for further joint activities.
According to the meeting participants, a peaceful and prosperous Central Asia requires a strong commitment to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries through compliance with the UN Charter and its fundamental principles. It was noted that this summit would give impetus to strengthening mutual understanding and trust, ensuring security and stability, as well as creating favorable conditions for expanding trade and economic cooperation in Central Asia.
During his visit to the UN headquarters, the President of Turkmenistan also held a number of bilateral meetings, including with the President of the Republic of Korea, the Secretary General of the United Nations, the President of the European Council and the Director General of the World Trade Organization.
The talks confirmed the growing interest of the leaders of the Republic of Korea and international organizations in cooperation with Turkmenistan, the goodwill and readiness for its development on the respectful, equal and mutually beneficial basis.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005