Statement of SRSG Miroslav Jenča on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of Turkmenistan's Neutrality "Foreign Policy of Neutral Turkmenistan in light of cooperation with the UN"

10 Dec 2011

Statement of SRSG Miroslav Jenča on the occasion of the 16th anniversary of Turkmenistan's Neutrality "Foreign Policy of Neutral Turkmenistan in light of cooperation with the UN"

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan

Your Excellency,
Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is a great honor for me to be here with you today at the celebration of the Day of Neutrality of Turkmenistan. The 12th of December is an important and memorable day in the history of Turkmen people, since it symbolizes the fundamental choice which laid down the foundations of the foreign policy of the state and predetermined the special place of Turkmenistan in the modern system of international relations.

However, this date is important not only for your country, but also for the United Nations. On that day 16 years ago, the UN General Assembly for the first time in its history adopted the resolution that had recognized the permanent neutrality of one of its state-members and urged the other States to respect and maintain this status.

Since then, Turkmenistan has passed a long and difficult path of fundamental economic, political and social reforms, built its own statehood and become a respected member of the international community.

On the basis of its status of neutrality Turkmenistan managed to secure partnerships with major powers and build good neighborly and equal relations with neighboring countries. Neutral foreign policy of Turkmenistan in conjunction with the abundant resource potential involves the rising tide of foreign investment in the economy and, ultimately, promotes the public welfare and strengthening of internal stability.

Actively using its special status, Turkmenistan has developed a coherent foreign policy based on an integrated approach to ensuring international peace and security, sustainable development, peaceful resolution of disputes and good neighborliness. This approach has again been confirmed by the President Berdimuhamedov at the recent 66th Session of the UN General Assembly. Particular attention of the international community is attracted by the Turkmenistan's initiatives to ensure security in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea basin.

Important foreign-policy proposals of Turkmenistan with respect to conflict prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes are in tune with the main activities of the United Nations on preventing the emergence of threats to international peace. In this regard, the UN pays special attention to the further development of the instruments of preventive diplomacy and mediation.

On 12 September 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the UN Security Council with a report titled "Preventive diplomacy: delivering results." This was the first such report, which outlined the findings from the practice of preventive diplomacy in recent years regarding the prevention or mitigation of conflicts. The UN chief stressed that the conflict early warning measures had expanded and improved. Only a few years ago there was not enough information about imminent conflicts. Today the situation is changing. Our Center, in particular, deploys a lot of efforts to develop an early warning system on conflict situations over the use of transboundary water resources. We are working to harmonize the positions of the Central Asian states on the issue. In this regard we feel a continuous support of Turkmenistan.

Turkmenistan plays a significant role in promoting initiatives aimed at preventing and resolving cross-border threats such as terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime. In particular, on November 30 in Ashgabat the Regional Centre in cooperation with the Government of Turkmenistan, the UN Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the EU conducted a High-level meeting within the project on the implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy in Central Asia. The meeting resulted in the adoption of the Ashgabat Final Declaration and Action Plan, which lay a solid foundation for joint activities to counter the threat of terrorism in the region. These documents represent the first specific action in implementing the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy in Central Asia on the regional level and will be an example for the other regions.

The neutral status of Turkmenistan is a great opportunity for mediation in conflict resolution. Turkmenistan has repeatedly acted as a mediator, in particular, during the resolution of the armed conflict in Tajikistan and was one of the initiators of the inter-Tajik talks in Ashgabat in 1995-1996. In 1997, Turkmenistan hosted inter-Afghan talks and an international forum on Afghanistan.

In the modern world the role of mediation as a tool for preventing and resolving conflicts is increasing. During an informal meeting on mediation, which took place at the UN headquarters in New York in September 2011, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the growing importance of mediation for the peaceful resolution of disputes, and emphasized the need to apply a "more comprehensive approach to conflict management". At UN headquarters in New York the special administration office to support the mediation (Mediation Support Unit) has been established. An expert group of mediators that can go anywhere in the world within 72 hours in order to solve conflicts has also been established. In this regard, we look forward to strengthening our relations with Turkmenistan and other Central Asian countries.

One of the important aspects of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan is to promote the cooperation among countries to maintain peace through sustainable development. This is reflected in the decision of the Turkmen leadership to take part in the Summit on Sustainable Development "Rio 20" in 2012, which represents a unique opportunity to build a model of economic development aimed at improving people's lives, social justice, reducing the risk of the threat of ecological crisis and thereby to improve security and consolidate peace. It is obvious that the problems of development and security are closely linked and economic agenda is becoming one of the elements of preventive efforts aimed at the consolidation of peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In concluding my remarks, I would like to express gratitude to the authorities of Turkmenistan for the continued support of UN and UNRCCA peace initiatives. We appreciate the close cooperation of Turkmenistan with United Nations agencies and we hope that our joint efforts will contribute to the achievement of our goals aimed at ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the region.