nCa News and Commentary
Ashgabat, 14 June 2017 (nCa) — António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, visited Turkmenistan on 13 June 2017. After a round of profound and candid dialogue the UNSG and the president of Turkmenistan jointly addressed a press conference.
Later, Guterres chaired the UN-Central Asia ministerial level meeting on counter-terrorism and visited the new office complex of the UN system in Turkmenistan.
The talks between Guterres and Berdymuhamedov neatly fit the model of international relations of Turkmenistan, based on active and benevolent neutrality.
Here are the main points of the statements of Berdymuhamedov and Guterres (quotes paraphrased for brevity and clarity):
- This visit is an important milestone in our relations. We are looking at the future.
- This visit coincides with the 25th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s joining the UN.
- During the talks we gained the understanding and support of the UNSG on all the issues we discussed.
- There will be positive influence on the regional affairs.
- We informed the UNSG about our priorities and plans, of which the desire to maintain peace and stability are central.
- We talked about transport, energy, counter-terrorism efforts, and sustainable development.
- We believe that all conflicts must be dealt with in accordance with the international norms and the UN charter.
- Cooperation in transport and energy are important.
- The first global transport conference held in November 2016 in Ashgabat was an important event.
- The safe and reliable delivery of energy resources to the world markets is a matter of interest for all.
- The safeguard of ecology and environment [while undertaking international projects] is mandatory.
- [All the] countries must cooperate in the fight against terrorism.
- Historical, social, political, economic, cultural and other considerations of the countries and regions must be taken into account.
- Turkmenistan and the UN are starting cooperation in sports, which will be a new form of cooperation.
- Partnership with the UN is our conscious strategic choice. It is at the core of our foreign policy.
- We are grateful to the UN for the assistance in our economic reforms.
- Turkmenistan is committed to the UN and remains a guarantor of peace and stability in the context of new realities.
- This is my third visit to Turkmenistan. I have visited already as UNHCR.
- [Lauds the grant of citizenship by Turkmenistan to thousands of stateless persons and refugees.]
- We will maintain the same deep level of cooperation that we have always had.
- The UNRCCA is very successful.
- We have always received full support from Turkmenistan.
- We had very positive talks covering security, human rights, and development.
- The neutrality of Turkmenistan is very important, especially in a region full of critical problems.
- The economic and social support of Turkmenistan for Afghanistan, and the offer as platform for peace dialogue is highly appreciable.
- We will discuss the joint strategies for counter terrorism in the UN-Central Asia meeting today.
- The initiatives of Turkmenistan in transport, energy and other areas have great relevance and they are in line with the SDGs.
- The climate change is a matter of concern for all.
- There are new opportunities for cooperation in water, power, economy and other areas in Central Asia.
Guterres is the man for these times.
As prime minister of Portugal, Guterres turned the economy around, reduced budget deficits and increased the welfare spending. A socialist turned social democrat, he spearheaded massive privatization, reducing the public sector share of GDP from 11% to 5.5%, which led to increase in jobs and profitability of major corporations such as Portugal Telecom.
Guterrers is a devout Catholic but that did not prevent him from approving the decriminalization of drug use and legalization of same-sex civil unions, two issues on which the Church has different views.
As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees he maintained sharp focus on austerity and efficiency. Faced with enormous waves of refugees from Syria, he launched a USD 5 billion aid drive to deal with the challenge.
His decision to appointment of Angelina Jolie as the special envoy of UNHCR was a great success.
On taking over as the UN Secretary General of the United Nations on 1 January 2017, António Guterres pledged to make 2017 a year for peace. “Let us resolve to put peace first,” he said.
Peace, above all, is what the world needs today.
If Guterres is the man for these times, Turkmenistan is the country for these times.
Let’s look at some of the far-reaching initiatives of Turkmenistan:
Permanent neutrality – With unwavering adherence to permanent neutrality and the declared policy of UN as the preferred platform for international partnership, Turkmenistan has earned a unique place in the global mix.
Energy security – A number of initiatives of Turkmenistan in the sphere of energy security are either in place or on their way. This includes the electricity supply to Afghanistan and Iran and in future to Tajikistan and Pakistan and any other country that may want to link up with the grid system of Turkmenistan.
TAPI is at the threshold of implementation. Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline is the largest conduit of natural gas to China. There is the political will to supply gas in all directions including to Turkey and Europe.
Turkmenistan is relentlessly working for the creation of a binding mechanism for the safe and reliable transportation of energy resources across the borders. The chairmanship of the Energy Charter and the shepherding of the special working group at the UN are two platforms from which Turkmenistan is gathering the will of the world community for this cause.
Transport/Transit – Transport and transit are the backbone of commerce. Turkmenistan, together with Kazakhstan and Iran has built the railway line to connect the Middle East with Central Asia, China and Russia.
The Lapis Lazuli corridor promises integrated transport solution from Pakistan to Europe, running through Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
The Central Asia-Middle East corridor is the connectivity solution along the Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran to any country across the Gulf.
Ecology, environment – With built-in conditions for ecological and environmental protection, Turkmenistan is moving briskly toward green future.
The country has offered to host a regional centre for environmental technologies under the auspices under the United Nations.
The chairman of Turkmenistan of the Aral Sea fund is another platform for promoting joint steps for ecological uplift.
Peace and stability – The short history of the region since the break-up of the Soviet Union is witness to the contribution of Turkmenistan in actively building peace and stability in Central Asia.
President Berdymuhamedov has underlined in a number of his policy speeches that security is a holistic concept – no aspect of security can be detached and dealt with in isolation. — Connectivity, in this sense, is an essential part of the concept of security.
This is also what SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are all about. — Turkmenistan and the United Nations are on the same page. /// nCa