International conference devoted to 23rd anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hosted an International Scientific Conference entitled ‘Heritage of the Silk Road and Present International Relations’, which was devoted to the 23rd anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality status. 

Heads of the diplomatic missions accredited to our countries, embassies of Turkmenistan in foreign countries, Mejlis deputies, politologists, representatives of authoritative international agencies, public organizations, teaching staff and students of higher education institutions, mass media were among those attending the forum. 

Run as part of the conference, an exhibition showcased activities of the country’s ministries and agencies, aimed at stepping up effective cooperation, as well as of diplomatic missions and international organizations working in Turkmenistan. 

Forum speakers characterized the key stages and outcomes of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy over 23 years, which has had a significant effect on all the spheres of national development and the conceptual reforms designed to modernize the political and social systems. 

Speaking at the event, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia Rashid Khalikov highlighted that the conference aims to contribute to strengthening peace and global security. In this context, the adoption of the UN General Assembly Resolution declaring December 12 as International Day of Neutrality was mentioned as a vivid illustration of sustainable development of Turkmenistan that proposes constructive initiatives and seeks to put its resources and potential to work to successfully tackle today’s major challenges. 

Our country’s foreign policy is intended to prevent conflicts through global integration, economic development and observance of human rights. The United Nations highly values Turkmenistan’s contribution to wider socio-economic cooperation seen as vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the region, Mr. Khalikov said. 

Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat Natalya Drozd stressed that the OSCE supports neutral Turkmenistan’s position on the peaceful settlement of disputes between countries through negotiation and on the principles of equal responsibility for peace and security. Ms. Drozd was convinced that President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s initiative to declare 2019 as a Year of Peace and Trust, which had been highly commended by the international community, would lend new impetus to the efforts to seek effective ways of building up trust and developing new political-diplomatic means of securing peace. 

Speaking at the conference, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan Elena Panova stressed that the UN General Assembly Resolution on International Day of Neutrality is a clear recognition of Turkmenistan’s successful foreign policy, while the neutrality status is regarded as a key factor for world peace, security, conflict prevention, mutually rewarding cooperation and sustainable development. The policy of neutrality has remained a matter of invariably topical interest in international practice and has proved truly viable in the light of existing regional and global security concerns. 

The forum attendees agreed that today Turkmenistan is playing an active role in tackling issues such as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, promotion of mutual trust and cooperation among nations. The neutrality status also offers our country unique opportunities to extensively employ in international diplomacy effective political-diplomatic instruments for the peaceful settlement of conflicts. 

As an optimal platform for constructive dialogue and regional talks between interested parties, on the initiative of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan assists in organizing forums to handle the situation in neighboring Afghanistan peacefully, and actively contributes to its southern neighbor’s socio-economic revival and reintegration into regional and global cooperation, the conference participants emphasized. 

Our country’s efforts stand as another testimony to its ever-growing role in the restoration of the Silk Road, particularly through the initiatives proposed by the head of state, aimed to build modern transport-transit corridors and logistics hubs, to increase economic interdependence and foster partnerships in the humanitarian field on the basis of inclusive political dialogue. 

Turkmenistan’s active inclusion in a contemporary system of international relations is ongoing in the context of developing extensive diplomatic ties with countries across the world and boosting constructive cooperation with the United Nations, the OSCE, the EU, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and other large agencies. 

Turkmenistan has made good progress in cultivating international relations, in particular, within the United Nations. This is eloquently evidenced by the activities of the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, whose official opening in the Turkmen capital in 2007 was attended by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The Center largely focuses its efforts on encouraging dialogue among the governments of Central Asian countries to work towards mutually acceptable solutions to potential threats, increased stability and closer fruitful state-to-state collaboration at a regional level. 

In line with its universally recognized permanent neutrality, Turkmenistan strongly advocates active approaches to the international community’s coordinated efforts targeted at maintaining and strengthening peace, security and sustainable development, as well as promoting universal human values. 

As the conference participants noted, peace, security and progress are not only based on political cooperation, but also on partner countries’ shared responsibility in the fields of economic development, environmental preservation, human rights protection, and the rule of law and democracy.