UN Secretary-General's joint press conference with President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan

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2 Apr 2010

UN Secretary-General's joint press conference with President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan

[Secretary-General's remarks only]

I would like to thank President Berdimuhamedov and the people of Turkmenistan for their warmth and hospitality.

The President and I have just concluded very constructive discussions on a range of regional and global issues.

In particular, I welcome the growing cooperation between the UN and Turkmenistan.

We agreed that the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy is an important forum for dialogue and regional engagement on a range of shared problems in Central Asia. Among them: water and energy issues, economic and social development, drug trafficking and terrorism.

I thanked the President for his country's contributions in managing the difficult situation in Afghanistan, including its humanitarian assistance. All these issues require close regional cooperation. I appreciate that, under President Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan has re-engaged in regional and global matters.

In this connection, we talked about Turkmenistan's active support for the stable and reliable transit of energy and the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, as well as the forthcoming conference in Ashgabat on Disarmament in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin.

I welcomed the commitment by the President to continue reform efforts in education, social services and health. And I emphasized the UN's readiness to engage with the government on human rights concerns.

I called on the government to fulfill all obligations under international human rights law and the many treaties to which it is a signatory.

On human rights, I am encouraged by the open discussion concerning the recommendations put forward by the member states of the United Nations during the Universal Periodic Review in December 2008.

I urged the Government to fully implement those recommendations, including provisions relating to the penitentiary system and the Convention Against Torture.

I encouraged the President to promote the role of civil society in Turkmenistan's development and overall modernization.

During my meeting at the National Institute for Democracy and Human Rights later today, I look forward to learning more about what could be done in promoting human rights in the country.

Thank you.