Of course, the United Nations speaks and acts on behalf of the world community. That is why the speech of Ms. Natalia Gherman, the head of UNRCCA, at the briefing of 16 January 2021 was the reiteration by the world to remain committed to the remake of the economy of Afghanistan.
As is usually the case, a cause gets additional assurance when the OSCE adds its voice to that of the UN.
With 57 participating States in North America, Europe and Asia, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) is the world’s largest regional security organization.
Ms. Natalya Drozd, the head of OSCE Centre in Ashgabat spoke at the briefing, She briefly mentioned the steps taken by the OSCE to help Afghanistan integrate with the world community and raise the capacity for its economic remake.
Here is the translation of the speech of Ms. Drozd:
Excellencies, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me express my gratitude for the opportunity to speak at a briefing on the commissioning of important facilities as part of key infrastructure projects designed to help strengthen transport, transit, trade and economic cooperation in the region.
We are all witnesses of the colossal work carried out under the leadership of the distinguished President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, in order to promote regional dialogue and ensure transport, energy and economic security. At the same time, one should separately note the active efforts of the Government of neutral Turkmenistan aimed at the implementation of large joint projects that make a valuable contribution to the comprehensive restoration of friendly Afghanistan and its involvement in global and regional integration processes.
In this context, the opening of the Akina-Andkhoy railway line, the launch of a power transmission line (PTL) and international fiber-optic communication lines to Afghanistan are of particular importance.
While the new railway line opens up great opportunities for expanding regional transport and transit potential and increasing jobs, the commissioning of the power transmission line will significantly increase the volume of energy supplies, and the fiber-optic line will become a reliable communication bridge between the two neighboring countries.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe highly appreciates the initiatives of Turkmenistan aimed at ensuring security in Central Asia and promoting regional dialogue. Indeed, building partnerships and international connectivity as well as ensuring energy, transport and economic security are high on the OSCE agenda. At the same time, it should be noted that the peaceful and sustainable development of Afghanistan makes a significant contribution to ensuring security and building confidence in the OSCE region.
In this regard, it is necessary to highlight a number of decisions taken during the OSCE Ministerial Council meetings on issues such as strengthening OSCE engagement with Afghanistan (2011), improving good governance and increasing connectivity (2016), and promoting economic participation in the OSCE region (2017).
The OSCE Center in Ashgabat works closely with the Government of Turkmenistan to implement these OSCE political commitments, taking into account the national priorities.
In an endeavor to support the efforts of the host country, the OSCE Center in Ashgabat initiated two extrabudgetary projects: Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process and Strengthening the Capacity of the State Border Service in Turkmenistan, which organized joint Turkmen-Afghan seminars that contributed to deepening constructive dialogue on major regional infrastructure and economic projects such as TAPI, CASA-1000, Lapis Lazuli, and other initiatives in the development of railway corridors and the expansion of electricity supply in the region.
In general, our Center has been cooperating with the Government of Turkmenistan in the field of transport, trade and other related industries, since 2008. A number of training events have been held, including on the safety of railway transport, the creation of sustainable and efficient trade and transport systems, effective logistics and supply chain management. In addition, following the High-Level Conference “Good Governance and Economic Connectivity: Best Practices in the OSCE Region” (2018), as well as the follow-up expert workshop “Towards Regional Economic Connectivity – National Trade and Transport Facilitation Mechanisms” (2019 .), 23 specific recommendations were developed on digitalization of customs and transport procedures, trade facilitation and promotion of economic connectivity.
Another priority area of our work is cooperation on energy security issues, including the development of energy diplomacy. For example, the Center assisted in the development of the Program for the Development of Energy Diplomacy of Turkmenistan for 2021-2025. In addition, with our support, in October 2020, the Center for Energy Saving Technologies was created on the basis of the Turkmen State Energy Institute, which will serve as a platform for research, theoretical and practical work and exchange of information on energy security and energy saving technologies. These initiatives are being implemented as part of an integrated and consistent approach to promoting economic, energy and environmental security.
In conclusion, let me stress once again that the events of January 14 are of tremendous significance not only for Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, but are unprecedentedly important for the entire region and mark the successful start of the International Year of Peace and Confidence, proclaimed at the initiative of Turkmenistan.
Thank you for attention! /// nCa, 21 January 2021
To be continued . . .