Foreign policy of Turkmenistan – Peace-making activity for the Sustainable Development Goals
Turkmenistan pursues foreign policy based on the principles of positive neutrality, peace-loving, open doors, good neighbourliness and equal beneficial cooperation with all interested foreign partners. Developing fruitful relations on the government level, our country demonstrates invariable commitment to constructive dialog in multilateral format.
At the extended session of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the outcomes of the first half of the year on July 5, the President stated an active character of cooperation with the UN, OSCE, EU, SCO. CIS and other competent organizations on current subjects of international agenda, having set specific objectives for coming period including to the Foreign Ministry.
In this regards, efficient old cooperation of Turkmenistan with the United Nations Organization, which is built on the principles of strategic partnership and which has received new content at modern stage, is worth to be mentioned.
At present time, our state is a member of number of structural divisions of the United Nations, under which it carries out its activity. Regional US Office for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in Turkmen capital is a visual symbol of successful bilateral cooperation aimed at long-term future.
Partnership with other big international and regional organizations is also developed steadily. For example, the Secretaries General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the World Customs Organization, International Energy Charter, high-rank representatives of other competent structures have visited Turkmenistan this year.
Steadfast dynamics is inherent to the dialog with the European Union, which is indicated by dozens of completed and ongoing joint projects and programmes in various spheres. It is remarkable that in the end of last week, the Mejlis and the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan hosted the meetings with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of European Commission Federica Mogherini.
The Head of the EU diplomacy highlighted that European Union highly appreciates and supports international initiatives of Turkmen leader, which are aimed at the development of balanced solution of current problems, which raise the concern of entire world community, at creation of optimum conditions for sustainable development in regional and global scale.
The signing ceremony of the Agreement between the Government of Turkmenistan and the European Union, European Atomic Energy Society (Euratom) on Privileges and Immunities of the European Union Delegation in Turkmenistan has been signed during the meeting in the Foreign Ministry.
This is visually indicated by the outcomes of the session of the Council of the CIS Heads of the Governments, which was held under the chairing of our country in the Commonwealth, in Ashgabat in the end of May. In the autumn, Turkmen capital will host the session of the Heads of the CIS states, preparation to which is carried out on high organizational level.
Subjects related to Caspian region also occupy an important place in foreign policy of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Taking steadfast measures for expansion of beneficial cooperation, maximum use of versatile potential of Caspian Sea, our neutral country comprehensively supports the strengthening of the status of the sea of peace, friendship and harmony.
International media forum, which was held in Ashgabat on June 29 with participation of representative of big foreign media – news agencies, TV channels, newspapers and magazines from different countries, was dedicated to coming remarkable event. It was mentioned that international platform of the first Caspian Economic Forum has valuable significance for further development of cooperation not only for the coastal states but also for all interested parties.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov also highlights increased role of such direction as energy, transport and water diplomacy in the context of the key vectors of foreign course of Turkmenistan in modern realities.
Having colossal reserves of hydrocarbons and trying to use these natural resources for the common sake, Turkmenistan makes significant contribution to the formation of global architectures of energy security as an integral part of sustainable development.
Standing for development of beneficial international cooperation in this important sphere, which is based on the balance of interests of all participants, and regularly making specific proposals, our country implements an integrated strategy aimed at the modernization and diversification of national fuel and energy complex, carries out large-scale projects for creation of multidimensional export infrastructure of its energy carriers. Turkmenistan – China transnational gas line, which embodies the idea of revival of the Silk Road in new merit, is a visual example in this case.
Construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India (TAPI) gas line is another example. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlights that new energy main, which will provide long-term supplies of gas to biggest countries of Southeast Asia, will give strong impulse to economic development of the region, will support the solution of objectives of social and humanitarian character, strengthening of peace and stability.
It is remarkable that this year, the supply of Turkmen gas to the Russian Federation has resumed after commercial break. Relative contract has been signed under existing Intergovernmental Agreement between Turkmenistan and Russian Federation on cooperation in gas sphere until 2028.
X International Turkmen Gas Congress (TGC-2019), which was held in Avaza National tourist zone in May, became an open ground for discussion of condition and perspectives of development of the world gas industry, current subjects of productive partnership in this direction. Throughout several years, this specialized forum supports the stimulation of beneficial cooperation in fuel and energy sphere and development of new vectors of this cooperation.
Together with expansion of production volumes of hydrocarbons and diversification of their supplies to the world markets, Turkmenistan pays great attention to opening of scientifically grounded high technological processing facilities oriented to the production of competitive ready-made commodities, which meet international standards. Broad perspectives for efficient cooperation with foreign partners, for realization of new investment projects are also opened in this field.
Construction of unique industrial complex – the plant for production of eco-friendly synthetic fuel, gasoline, from natural gas, which was recently opened with participation of Head of the State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is an actual measure in this direction.
In addition, Turkmenistan expands the cooperation with foreign partners in energy sphere and in the increment of the export volumes of electrical energy. Construction of Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan (TAP) alogn TAPI gas line is one of the examples in this sphere.
In addition to power supply to infrastructural facilities of the gas main, future power line will give an opportunity to deliver electricity to Pakistan and other countries of South Asia by transit via Afghanistan.
Fibre optic line will be laid along the same route, which in addition to the development of information and communication network between three states, will also serve to the activation of regional integration processes.
Such new direction as transport diplomacy is asserted stronger in global cooperation. Turkmenistan has initiated profile multilateral dialog under the UN and other international organizations in this sphere.
Approaching this subject with full responsibility, our country made number of proposals for the last several years, which received full support of the world community. Unanimous adoption of Turkmen projects by the Resolution of the UN General Assembly on cooperation in sustainable transport, which was co-authored by dozens of states, is an evidence to this.
Targeted work for modernization of existing and construction of new modern roads including highways connecting all regions of the country with further entry to neighbouring states, railways as well as relative engineering and technical facilities, is carried out in Turkmenistan.
International Airports of Ashgabat, Turkmenbashy, Mary, Turkmenabat and Dashoguz are integral links of national transport and logistic system. National aviation fleet is regularly supplemented with new world famous Boeing aircrafts. The geography of the flights made by Turkmen airlines is expanded, for example, the first Ashgabat – Tokyo – Ashgabat flight was made in the end of the last month.
In this context, great attention is also paid to the development of national fleet and all relative infrastructure. Construction of International Seaport in Turkmenbashy, which was put into operation in May 2018, is an important component of this area. The Head of the State notes that it opens huge opportunities for optimization of transport routes in Eurasian space and new strategic perspective is given to interregional and intercontinental relations.
Taking into account what was said above, realization of the projects for formation of regional and transcontinental transport system receives special importance. Combined transit and transport routes in the North – South and West – East directions are to play an important role in this case. It includes perspective Afghanistan – Turkmenistan – Azerbaijan – Georgia – Turkey (Lapis Lazuli) corridor, which unite the countries of the Middle East, Southeast and Central Asia and Caucasus with the entry to Europe and Uzbekistan – Turkmenistan – Iran – Oman corridor giving Central Asia countries the opportunity to entry Persian Gulf region.
Taking an active position in international cooperation as one of priority vectors of its foreign policy, our country also considers the water diplomacy.
Initiatives made by Turkmen leader at the sessions of the UN General Assembly and other big forums are aimed at the activation of regional and interregional dialog in entire spectrum of water range of problems. In particular, Head of the State spoke of the reasonability of creation of new political and diplomatic form of multilateral communication in this direction as well as made a proposal on development of the United Nations Water Strategy at the VII World Water Forum in Tegu (The Republic of Korea) in 2015.
Regarding direct cooperation between the countries of Central Asia in water and ecological issues, Turkmenistan invariably stands for their solution based on universal standards of international law, taking into account the interests of all countries of the region and with participation of international organizations.
Implementing national plans in different branches, Turkmenistan invariably co-relate them with ecological component of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, with rational water management. The country has gained significant experience of implementation of water saving technologies in irrigated farming, construction and operation of hydro technical facilities, water management objects; the General Programme for provision of the population with pure drinking water is implemented.
Grandiose project, to completion of which Head of the state Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov pays special attention, is aimed at the fulfilment of the utmost objectives in this sphere. This is the construction of Altyn Asyr Turkmen Lake in the heart of the Karakum Desert.
Construction of complex hydro technical system gives opportunity to solve successfully current ecological, economic and social issues including the improvement of soil condition of the fields, protection of soil from degradation, return of thousands of hectares of lands flooded by drainage waters into operation, growing of salt resistant agricultural crops in the area of the main and additional collectors, flooding of the pastures, development of fishery, making of reserve of water resources.
Continuing the subject, it is worth mentioning an activity of our country in International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea. Being a chairing country of the IFAS in 2017 – 2019, Turkmenistan demonstrates the most serious approach the fulfilment of this important mission, which is indicated by special Concept.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlights that it is obvious that currency of the issues of Aral problems goes far beyond Central Asia. It provides the necessity of establishment of solid foundation for systematic interstate cooperation in active collaboration with competent international organizations, especially with the UN.
Steadfast measures taken by Turkmenistan in this direction find wide support of the world community. As is known, the UN General Assembly has anonymously adopted the Resolution on Cooperation between the United Nations Organization and International Fund for Saving of Aral Sea, which was initiated by Turkmen side. Our country has also made proposal on development of the UN Special Programme for Aral Sea, which include the plans of stabilization of the situation Aral Sea basin.
In its turn, Turkmenistan comprehensively supports the expansion of productive cooperation for solution of such important subjects as the improvement of ecological, social, economic and humanitarian situation if Aral Sea region, rational use of water resources, protection and health improvement of environment, adaptation to the climate change, which is very important not only regional but also in global scale.
Therefore, Turkmenistan also demonstrate the intent to continue promoting the idea of water diplomacy, which is very urgent, first, in the context of the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.
At the same time, strengthening and expansion of fruitful relations with other states of the world including our close neighbours are integral components of foreign strategy of our country.
In this aspect, the key role is given to the visits and high-level talks. For example, official visit of President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to Turkmenistan took place in February. High-level meeting in Ashgabat, which resulted in signing of number of bilateral documents, became another actual measure in the development of traditional interstate dialog, which has trustful character, which is provided by old friendship, fraternity and good neighbourliness, historical spiritual and cultural relations uniting our nations.
Big perspectives are opened today for expansion of beneficial cooperation with the Middle East countries. In this aspect, the efficiency of the talks between President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the King of Bahrain Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, who paid the state visit to our country, in March this year, is worth to be mentioned.
It is remarkable that package of bilateral final documents aimed at further development of productive partnership has also included the memorandums and agreements signed during Turkmen – Bahraini business forum held in Ashgabat of the threshold of the high-level meeting.
In the last several years, relations with the states of Asian Pacific region where constructive cooperation with the Republic of Korea is a visual example, have received new dynamics and content.
In this regard, the activity of leading Korean companies in Turkmen market, which recommended themselves as reliable partners and actively participate in realization of the projects for construction and modernization of refining and petrochemical complexes, is very indicative. it includes gas processing plant at Galkynysh Field and polymeric plant in Kiyanly settlement, Balkan Velayat.
The course toward multidimensional cooperation taken by both countries received its confirmation during the state visit of President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in to Turkmenistan in April. Agreements related to priority directions of cooperation and significant package of documents, which supplemented legal and regulatory framework of Turkmen – Korean dialog, were the results of high-level talks.
It was indicated by the talks bet wee Presidents Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Rustam Minnikhanov in Kazan, which resulted in signing of number of documents, which are to support the implementation of existing considerable potential of cooperation in different spheres. By the way, this is the second meeting of the Head of the Turkmenistan with the Head of Tatarstan, which has visited Ashgabat in the end of April where he took part in the events dedicated to National Turkmen Horse Celebration.
Therefore, successfully implementing constructive foreign strategy, our country makes significant input to the provision of peace and progress and achievement of global Sustainable Development Goals.