President Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan addressed the 75th session of the UN General Assembly through the video link on 22 September 2020.
Here is the unofficial, slightly paraphrased translation of the speech:
Dear Mr. Chairman! Dear Mr. Secretary General!
First of all, let me congratulate Mr. Volkan Bozkyr on his election as President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly and wish him every success in this responsible position.
I ask Mr. Tijani Muhammad-Bande to accept our sincere gratitude for his skillful and efficient work as President of the 74th session of the General Assembly that has ended.
Dear participants! Ladies and Gentlemen!
I want to start my speech with words of deep sorrow for the hundreds of thousands of people on the planet who did not survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
I also express my admiration and gratitude to doctors, attendants, nurses, technicians, volunteers, and all those who have been selflessly working for many months to save the lives and health of people in different parts of the world.
Our eyes with hope and faith are directed to scientists, and researchers working on the creation of vaccines and drugs designed to stop the pandemic. I appeal to them with gratitude and willingness to provide all possible support in their most important mission.
Yes, today we are forced, first of all, to talk about the new danger that mankind has faced in the 21st century. In a short time, COVID-19 has become a real and possibly the most threatening challenge of our time.
A global challenge that does not recognize borders, races and nationalities, which has a detrimental effect on all spheres of civilizational development. Probably, for the first time in many decades, the whole world felt so acutely its vulnerability to a common threat.
And – we hope and believe that only with unity and solidarity can we overcome it, win, and get out of this struggle renewed, wiser, responsible, and far-sighted. And even though the current period is difficult and contradictory, it gives us a chance to change for the better for the fate of the entire planet. It is our highest political and moral duty not to miss this chance, to show dignity, solidarity and genuine humanism.
Dear Mr. Chairman!
From the very beginning of the spread of the pandemic in the world, Turkmenistan has actively begun to take the necessary measures to counter this threat. Effective protective measures were taken in a timely manner, a unified national strategy for combating coronavirus infection was formed, the content of which was a set of measures of organizational, legal, financial, economic, medical and sanitary-quarantine nature.
At the same time, our country has established close international cooperation, both in a bilateral format and through international organizations. First of all, should be noted the close interaction of Turkmenistan with the United Nations.
In this context, we fully support the calls and appeals of the UN Secretary General made in his speeches on March 23 and 30 this year.
Taking into account the initiatives of the Secretary General, the National Plan for Preparedness for Counteraction and Response of the Country to Acute Infectious Diseases was approved at the state level in Turkmenistan. Also, a Plan of operational socio-economic measures in Turkmenistan to counter the coronavirus pandemic was developed and adopted.
At the same time, Turkmenistan continues its long-term and effective partnership with the World Health Organization. We highly appreciate the role of WHO in the fight against coronavirus. Their recommendations in our country have shown their validity and are important guidelines for the activities of medical and other institutions. We will continue to expand and concretize cooperation with the World Health Organization, bring it to a systemic, long-term level.
For a speedy victory over the pandemic, close professional coordination and unification of efforts of scientific and medical communities around the world are needed more than ever before. We are convinced that today we need comprehensive, systematic and purposeful multilateral cooperation on the problem of dangerous viral diseases, and the full launch of channels of scientific diplomacy.
In this regard, Turkmenistan proposes to consider the development and establishment of relevant international instruments. In particular, under the auspices of WHO, we consider it expedient:
– to establish a Special Program of the World Health Organization for the study of the coronavirus genome;
– to develop a multilateral mechanism to combat pneumonia;
– to create a Methodological Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Acute Infections.
We are ready for substantive communication on the implementation of these initiatives with all interested countries and international structures.
The coronavirus pandemic has a significant negative impact on the course and direction of the global economy, seriously undermining the efforts of the world community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, we count on the intensification of cooperation aimed at restoring economic and trade ties.
Today it is necessary to create platforms for bringing the global economy onto a sustainable growth path. In our opinion, energy, transport, industry and trade should become the key areas here.
In this context, during the 75th session, Turkmenistan intends to intensify work on the creation of UN international legal instruments in the field of stability and reliability of energy transit.
The issues of cooperation in the transport sector are no less urgent. As one of the initiators of wide international communication on transport issues, Turkmenistan proposes to consider the issue of ensuring stable international transport during emergency situations. We have prepared a corresponding draft resolution of the General Assembly and sent it to the UN member states for consideration.
We believe that the international conference of ministers of landlocked developing countries planned in Turkmenistan next year will become an effective platform for developing agreed approaches to this problem.
The World Trade Organization should take the lead in the work to restore the world economy, stimulate trade and investment. Having recently received the status of an observer in the WTO, Turkmenistan will actively use the opportunities that have opened up in this regard to promote practical measures to quickly overcome the crisis in the world economy, and its transition to positive dynamics.
Dear heads and members of delegations!
The coronavirus pandemic has affected most countries in the world to one degree or another. But it poses a special danger to regions that are unfavorable from an environmental point of view. Unfortunately, there are many such regions on the planet’s map, and it is impossible to say about all of them in one speech. Therefore, I would like to touch upon a problem that is of the most urgent importance for the peoples and states of Central Asia. We are talking about the Aral disaster zone.
Against the backdrop of the pandemic, the situation there is aggravating, carrying a real threat to the life and health of people, the risks of an explosive spread of the epidemic have significantly increased. In these conditions, we call on the world community to pay close attention to the problems of the Aral Sea and the Aral Sea region.
Of course, a certain amount of work is underway there, and both through the UN and with the participation of international organizations considerable assistance is being provided to the activities of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.
We are grateful to them for this. We also highly appreciate the work of our teams. But, I will say frankly today, this is not enough. In the matter of saving the Aral Sea, great objectivity, concrete practical help and support to the people living there are needed.
Therefore, we are convinced that the Aral Sea topic needs a systematic and comprehensive approach, appropriate legal documentation and should be taken as a separate area of work for the United Nations.
In this regard, Turkmenistan has put forward the initiative to create a UN Special Program for the Aral Sea Basin. We also note the importance of the UN General Assembly resolutions “On cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea” adopted at the initiative of our country in April 2018 and May 2019. Today they act as a platform for consolidating joint efforts in the Aral Sea direction.
Developing activities to create an international legal framework for solving the Aral Sea problem, in May 2021, within the framework of the regular session of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Turkmenistan will present an initial draft concept and structure of the future Special Program for the Aral Sea. We call on all states and interested international organizations to discuss these documents.
The current session of the General Assembly is taking place against the background of complex and painful phenomena associated with the escalation of military-political rivalry, which, unfortunately, we are witnessing in the world today.
The assessment of these events; and their causal relationships can be different. But one thing is clear: they have a negative impact on the general international situation, and erode the foundations of the global security architecture, and impede the implementation of economic, trade and humanitarian ties. There is a danger of expansion of zones of potential conflict, growth of hotbeds of tension, and involvement of an increasing number of participants in various forms of confrontation.
The recent disregard for international law is of particular concern. In the current situation, it is necessary to consolidate efforts aimed at strengthening the role of international law, multilateral legal instruments of the existing system of global security, and strict observance by all countries of the generally recognized norms arising from the UN Charter. This is the only way to maintain stability and predictability in world politics and reduce the risks of conflicts.
One of the ways to achieve this goal is to restore trust in international politics, and to establish a culture of respectful dialogue.
As you know, in September last year, the UN General Assembly, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, adopted a resolution declaring 2021 the International Year of Peace and Trust. In the light of the implementation of the provisions of this document, Turkmenistan comes out with the initiative to hold the International Forum of Peace and Confidence next year. We are convinced that it will be able to give a powerful impetus to a constructive and respectful multilateral dialogue on the most pressing topics of the modern global agenda.
Dear Mr. Chairman!
This year, Turkmenistan marks a significant date in its modern history – the 25th anniversary of the status of permanent neutrality, established for our country by the international community represented by the UN on December 12, 1995.
For a quarter of a century, neutrality has been for Turkmenistan one of the foundations of its statehood, its domestic and foreign policy. The principles of neutrality, its values and worldview have proven their full compliance with the national interests of our country, and the goals and objectives of the United Nations Organization.
It is natural that in February 2017 the UN General Assembly unanimously, with the co-authorship of a significant number of member states, proclaimed December 12 as International Day of Neutrality.
Neutrality of Turkmenistan is an appeal and creation of conditions for an equal, respectful, mutually beneficial international partnership in politics, economy, in the protection of the environment, in ensuring universal food security, fair and efficient distribution of the planet’s natural resources, support and assistance to refugees, migrants and people without citizenship, to solve many other pressing problems of the modern world.
The neutrality of Turkmenistan is a high mission of peacekeeping, the readiness of our country through peaceful, political and diplomatic means and methods to participate in solving all issues arising in the global and regional dimensions.
The most important function and an integral part of the neutrality of Turkmenistan is preventive diplomacy. It is deeply symbolic that it was in the capital of neutral Turkmenistan that the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia was established in 2007 by the decision of the General Assembly with the support of neighboring states and members of the Security Council.
Following the logic of its neutral policy to ensure regional peace, security and development, consistently unlocking the potential of preventive diplomacy, during the session, Turkmenistan intends to invite the General Assembly to consider the draft resolution “Role of the Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.”
Peace, security and development in Central Asia directly depend on the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. The position of Turkmenistan here is principled and unchanged: there is no alternative to the negotiation process. All previous experience has shown that forceful methods have no perspective and are not able to lead to agreement and reconciliation.
As a neutral state and a direct neighbor of Afghanistan, our country is ready to provide on its territory the necessary political and organizational conditions for establishing a peaceful dialogue between the Government of Afghanistan and all parties interested in a political settlement of the situation in Afghanistan.
We also believe that the implementation of large infrastructure projects with Afghan participation, primarily in such vital areas as energy, transport and communications, is a key condition for political stabilization, economic and social recovery of Afghanistan, and its successful integration into world economic processes.
Consistently working in this direction, our country, as you know, initiated the construction of a gas pipeline along the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India route, as well as railway branches, fiber-optic communication lines with access to the territory of Afghanistan, which have already entered the stage of practical implementation. We call on the international community, business structures and financial institutions to be more actively involved in this work.
For our country, the UN has been and will remain the most important, priority partner. We check all our steps in the international arena with the spirit and letter of the UN Charter. And today, in the year of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, Turkmenistan responsibly declares its unwavering commitment to the great ideals that lie at its foundation.
We are convinced that the ideals, values and principles of the UN will remain relevant. The United Nations was, is and must remain the only international organization with universal legitimacy.
Turkmenistan firmly believes in the future of the UN, and will continue to strengthen and build up strategic partnership with this organization, thereby making its contribution to unlocking its inexhaustible potential in the interests of global peace, security and progress. /// nCa,23 September 2020