UN Secretary-General's press conference at UNRCCA

2 Apr 2010

UN Secretary-General's press conference at UNRCCA

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan

SG: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. It is a great pleasure for me to have a brief press stakeout and I am very pleased to visit Central Asia, starting from Turkmenistan.

I am very impressed by what I have just seen in these beautiful premises of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia. It is very meaningful for me to start this visit with the Regional Centre. This UN Centre represents an important partnership between the UN and the region.

Moreover, it constitutes an impressive commitment by each country to the search, through dialogue, for common approaches to shared challenges. In close partnership with the countries, the Centre has developed activities to promote mutually beneficial management of water and energy resources, to fight trans-boundary crime, terrorism, and drug trafficking, and to ensure the conditions for peaceful development and growth.

These are extremely complex issues. But I believe that our partnership in developing common understandings and joint initiatives in these areas holds much promise. I am pleased that the Centre is working closely with regional organizations such as the OSCE, SCO, CIS and others. The challenges we face today are too complex and interlinked for any country or even any one organization to go at it alone.

We must continue to develop the means for collaboration, coordination, and partnership. I would like to thank the Government of Turkmenistan for the excellent conditions established for the work of the Centre. I had a very good meeting, as you witnessed this morning, with the President discussing all the matters pertaining on the partnership between the United Nations and Turkmenistan and all the regional and global challenges we face together. And I am very impressed and heartened by such a strong commitment by the Government of Turkmenistan.

I also would like to thank the Governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan for their trust and confidence in the United Nations.

Thank you.


Q: My question is about reconstruction of Afghanistan. What did you discuss with Turkmenistan today? What will you discuss in other regional countries? And the United Nations being a central body that everybody has faith in, which is not possible to say about other players, what exact plan do you have for reconstruction of Afghanistan?

SG: Peace and stability have an implication, have very important implications, for peace and stability in the region. And it also has a very implications how the international community can help any such country who is undergoing a very difficult transition. The international community is united in supporting such important and very difficult challenges which Afghanistan is undergoing. The international conference which was held in London last January, January 28th, provided first of all the international community's strong commitment and support for Afghanistan by providing all necessary support, including military, and social economic support.

At the same time the Afghanistan government has come out with their action plan, their vision to overcome their national difficulties through reaching out to all the different ethnic groups and through reaching out through reconciliation, and also through working together with regional countries. Now, the countries in Central Asia, they have a special role to play. We have seen so much trans-boundary crime and drug trafficking, and these countries can play an important role through working together with the international community and working together among regional countries.

I have discussed (this) in depth with the President of Turkmenistan in private talks and open talks. The President also laid out many initiatives and visions how Turkmenistan and Central Asia can help. He has committed himself to work together in fighting against extremism and international terrorism and also in providing social-economic support to Afghanistan. The United Nations has been playing a primary role in coordinating civilian support for Afghanistan's people. Recently I have appointed a new Special Representative, Mr. [Staffan] de Mistura, and he is now working very closely with President Karzai and other international partners there.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, how do you assess the results of cooperation between Turkmenistan and the UN in recent years and what's the potential, in your view, for the further development of relations between Turkmenistan and the world community in the framework of the UN?

SG: I highly value the partnership between Turkmenistan and the United Nations, and also Turkmenistan's commitment to work together harmoniously with regional countries in Central Asia. I told the President of Turkmenistan that this country is positioned best to work harmoniously together and to try to help other countries resolve all pending issues. In Central Asia there are common challenges and common responsibilities, and there are some differences of positions among the countries particularly when it comes to use and management of natural resources and that means water management and also natural resources like gas and electricity. We hope that through dialogue on the basis of mutual understanding and cooperation the countries in this region will be able to resolve all these issues.

The United Nations is ready to work with them and particularly the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, in Ashgabat, is taking many important initiatives in working together with leaders in this region. Turkmenistan is again well positioned to play such a role. In general agendas of the United Nations, Turkmenistan is very much committed to work together in realizing the Millennium Development Goals. I'm pleased to note that Turkmenistan is well on track in meeting the targets of the Millennium Development Goals. I hope by the end of 2015 Turkmenistan will be able to achieve all Millennium Development Goals and also Turkmenistan is committed to (fighting) climate change and I highly value such strong commitment.

I have discussed with the President again how Turkmenistan as a middle-income country and in its transition to full democracy can encourage the social and civil community so that they can take full participation in the development of this country through education and through enhancing and promoting human rights. I have encouraged the Turkmen Government to ratify all relevant conventions, for example the optional protocol of the Convention Against Torture and I am also pleased to note that this country has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This is a very welcome development. Anyway, I have congratulated the President for the reform measures he has taken during the last three years. I know these reform measures are not static but moving. I'd like to see these measures move much, much faster. President Berdymuhamedov, since he came to power in 2006, has taken many important measures in developing this country in all aspects of the United Nations agenda.

Thank you very much.