Ashgabat, 23 May 2013 (nCa) — On 17 May 2013, the UN General Assembly passed unanimously the resolution ‘Reliable and stable transit of energy and its role in ensuring sustainable development and international cooperation.’
This is the second resolution on this subject – the first one was passed in 2008. It was initiated by Turkmenistan and co-authored by 71 countries.
Turkmenistan is working systematically and steadily to create a global system for safe and reliable transit of energy resources and infrastructures. The UN resolution passed last week paves way for an international conference early next year that may lead to creation of an expert group under the auspices of the UN to design a global system for energy transit and security.
Reshit Meredov, the foreign minister of Turkmenistan since July 2001, and currently also the senior-most deputy prime minister, delivered a keynote address at the Turkmenistan Gas Congress (TGC-2013) on 21 May, underlining the significance of the UN resolution.
The same day, he conducted a special briefing for the journalists where he touched on several aspects of the energy policy of Turkmenistan and took four questions from the journalists.
Here is the complete transcript (translated from the Russian language):
Meredov: Dear members of the media, I welcome you to this press conference today. Once again, thank you for your interest in an important event occurring in the foreign policy of Turkmenistan, and in general in the activities of the international community. In my speech (at the Gas Congress today), I spoke of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Reliable and stable transit of energy and its role in sustainable development and international cooperation.”
This is truly a major international event, which is a very good sign in the context of today’s gas congress.
I would like to point out that this is the second resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly [on this subject]. This suggests that a broad international dialogue on energy transportation, initiated by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov Myalikgulyevich has received from the international community a coherent and systematic response.
In addition, in support of the Resolution, it must be said that if, in 2008, 57 member states of the UN were its co-authors, on May 18 this resolution boasted 71 UN member states as its co-authors. This in itself is a clear demonstration that the views and approach of Turkmenistan in the energy sector are attracting more and more understanding and approval in the global community.
A key aspect of this document is that it essentially lays the basis for the creation and operation of an international expert group to prepare a new, comprehensive global cooperation in the energy sphere. In particular, the Resolution states that the UN welcomes the offer of the Government of Turkmenistan to convene in early 2014, an international meeting of experts on the subject.
As you remember, the idea of creating an expert group with the participation of all interested countries and international organizations was put forward by the President of Turkmenistan at the UN and other major international authoritative institutions [during the past few years]. Today, this proposal is taking a concrete shape. You can say that the work on the preparation of the universal international legal instrument is gradually taking an institutional form.
In addition, in accordance with the resolution, the UN Secretary General has asked to seek the views of Member States and relevant UN bodies, including the regional commissions, on matters relating to the reliable and stable transit of energy resources, as well as the possible forms of cooperation, and to transmit those views to the General Assembly of the UN in a synthesis report of the Secretariat for submission to the 69th session. This is a very important provision of the document, which effectively means that in the agenda of the UN there is a new separate area of global importance, the discussion of which involves all member states of the organization.
We have every reason to consider the adoption of the resolution as a very serious step, essentially pulling together the approaches and positions of the states in the context of discussion of issues of cooperation and collaboration in the global energy markets. Unanimous support for the document testifies to the overall success of interest in the positive and constructive dialogue on energy issues. With the adoption of the Resolution, the dialogue stage of intentions has moved into the stage of practical steps.
AFP: Mr. Minister, would you now briefly touch upon this subject. I would like to hear the details – what are component parts of the practical implementation of Turkmenistan’s initiatives in the field of energy security – particularly in the institutional and informational aspects?
Meredov: This is a very important question that needs no comment from our side. In the brief speech at the Congress, I have tried to describe the basic principles that we believe should be the foundation of a new international legal framework for energy security. Among them, I identified three main points.
The first is the formation of an international legal framework for greater cooperation in ensuring reliable and stable supply of energy resources to world markets. What do I mean? Naturally, in order to carry out some action in practical terms, in the international field, we first develop a sound legal basis. We propose to do this as a first step. But in order to come to the concept of a future multilateral UN document, we would like to see these problems widely discussed in a professional environment, first of all, at the level of experts. That is why the President of Turkmenistan as a first step in this direction suggested that an international group of experts should be established under the auspices of the UN. I have already pointed out that the resolution provides a good basis for the formation of such a group of experts. We will host the first meeting of experts under the auspices of the United Nations next year. This is clearly stated in the text of the resolution.
Secondly, of course, the adoption of the resolution is just the start; considerable work is required to comply with its provisions. In this regard, the international practice is in various forms. It creates some level of institutional monitoring of implementation of a multilateral instruments to ensure respect for all participants, and where they should come out with proposals on the application of certain provisions of the treaty to the parties that, to put it mildly, are failing to meet their international obligations. Within the UN system, under any multilateral instrument are certain structures – it may be commissions, committees, agencies and other bodies. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Honurable President of Turkmenistan, in a speech at the UN General Assembly, proposed to consider the future establishment of the Energy Council of the UN. In our view, ideally, this Council could perform the function of an institution designed to monitor the implementation of future conventions and treaties in the field of energy security.
Today, you know, four main bodies operate under the UN system. There is the Security Council, which deals with issues of political nature; ECOSOC, of which Turkmenistan is a member; the Human Rights Council; and Specialized Council for guardianship, which is engaged in specific territories.
Turkmenistan’s proposal to create an energy body is a very strong innovative step, including in the reform of the UN, which has already been spoken for the next ten years.
Thirdly, in order to implement the document, it is necessary to know what is going on at the world at large. To create a regular data base system and its use – this approach has been endorsed by the international community. In my view, it should be thoroughly investigated and applied to the new system of relations in the field of energy.
TDH: What are the prospects open to Turkmenistan in terms of practical steps for cooperation with the UN?
Meredov: All of the initiatives of the President of [Turkmenistan] are aimed at ensuring effective cooperation in regional and global dimensions. If we talk about the energy sector and the prospects of cooperation of Turkmenistan with the UN in this direction, first of all, I would point out that a serious multi-level multi-stakeholder dialogue, which today has emerged in the UN system that’s precisely because of the active stance of the head of Turkmenistan on the nomination of science-based and practical, feasible proposals.
When we talk about the initiatives of the President of Turkmenistan in the sphere of energy security, and our interaction with the UN, I would not be limited to proposals to create a new international legal mechanism, which we talked about. Related issues arising out of the subject are also under constant attention of the Turkmen leader and are the basis for new initiatives.
Let’s get to the issue of energy security with environmental aspects. Turkmen President in his speeches, including at the High Forum in Rio de Janeiro put forward a number of practical initiatives by the international community, which, whether we like it or not, will be promoted, as they relate to global issues – for example, the initiative to establish a regional center for climate change.
Global climate change is influenced by various factors. One such factor is the impact of climate change on the global energy industry. The experts are well aware of the effect of carbon dioxide emissions, the greenhouse effect, which appears as a result of global energy use, damage to the ozone layer due to emissions and gas flaring. The structure proposed by the president of Turkmenistan at the Rio summit is designed to solve these problems. That’s what we want to do, that in the region of Central Asia, the Caspian region, in this part of the world that is home to a very high reserves of energy, where there is large-scale and long-term work on the development of hydrocarbon resources, to ensure strong environmental protection regime. This is one of the new areas that we consider in the context of your question. There are a number of other issues directly related to energy security.
TRT: What are your views on relationship between energy producers, consumers and transit countries, and the prospects of export of Turkmen energy to the European markets.
Meredov: This question is also interesting from a practical point of view. Of course, when we talk about energy security in the context of Turkmenistan’s energy supplies to the world market, we are talking about balancing the interests of producers, transit countries and consumers. When the views, goals and interests of the triad are the same, then there is an effect. And here I would like to say that Turkmenistan, a country open to international cooperation, is on the way to diversify its energy supplies.
In recent years, we have implemented several major energy projects. Among them there are two of the main pipeline constructed in the east and south.
Active work is in progress on the implementation of pipeline projects in the south-east and west.
When we speak of the west, we mean supply from Turkmenistan to Europe. There are a number of routes that are currently under active development, especially European countries and our neighbors, the countries of the region, primarily Turkey, with which we share a natural partnership. Reliability of supply to Europe will directly depend on how we build our relationship diagram. Today, this has all requisite conditions.
Energy dialogue with Europe was initiated during the visit of the President of Turkmenistan in November 2007 in Brussels. At that time the leader of Turkmenistan met with the leadership of the European Commission, the European Parliament, a number of key figures, and we began to interact. After that there have been a number of visits by EU Energy Commissioner to Turkmenistan.
In 2008, we signed a memorandum on cooperation in the field of energy with the EU. European companies have to negotiate with Turkmenistan on participation in the oil and gas sector of the country. We began to talk seriously about creating a strong institutional and legal framework for collaboration.
In January 2011, during the visit of Jose Manuel Barroso in Ashgabat we reached an agreement to establish a joint working group between the EU and Turkmenistan. It held its first meeting and immediately afterwards it was joined by our brotherly neighboring country – Azerbaijan. Today, in a trilateral format there is serious and substantive work on preparing a document that lays the basic principles of gas supplies from the Caspian region to Europe.
We are ready to cooperate with our Turkish counterparts, and have demonstrated this in September 2012, when the Commission held a trilateral meeting on energy issues – Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-EU. Then we invited as an observer Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey. In my view, this is a real project where we need to continue the work systematically.
nCa: Please tell us about your concept of diversification. This is very important from an analytical point of view.
Meredov: We have touched today touched [during the conference] on the theme of diversification. I would like to clarify the situation.
When we talk about diversification as a principle of our energy policy, we mean not only the creation of multiple pipeline infrastructures to bring Turkmen energy resources to the international markets. We have in mind the creation of a multi-functional and well-functioning energy system within the internal matrix of Turkmenistan.
Look closely at the national programs adopted in our country: the Presidential Five-Year Plan, i.e. The program of the President, 2012-2016; national program of social and economic development for the period 2011-2030, the national development strategy of oil and gas sector of Turkmenistan up to 2030 – they are all built on the diversification of the energy sector of Turkmenistan. It is not just about increasing production of oil and gas; it is about creating a powerful, complex and integrated processing structure.
A country with one of the world’s largest reserves of hydrocarbons can not afford to keep supplying the world market with raw resources only. It is necessary to make value-added products from this raw material. This is taking place. The country has built large processing plants to produce LPG; there are sprawling facilities for mineral fertilizers and chemical products. In Turkmenistan, in the coming years we will develop major petrochemical and gas-chemical industries.
See what kind of plants are being built. Plant for the production of urea and liquid ammonia in Mary, worth billions of dollars; expansion of plants for the production of polypropylene; and plans for production of polyethylene downstream products.
Yes, diversification – this is about increase in production of oil and gas in Turkmenistan, but at the same time it is about creating processing facilities that will allow us to produce large volumes of gas-chemical and petrochemical products, followed by its discharge in the global market.
Today we touched on only one aspect of diversification – diversification of energy supplies, saying that Turkmenistan is ready to supply its energy in different directions – north, south, east, and west. There is a functioning pipeline system CAC (Central Asia – Center), a new gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China, which is still expanding.
We have [initially] contracted 40 billion cubic meters of gas annually [to China]. In November 2011, during the official visit of the President of Turkmenistan to China, we signed an agreement for the supply of additional 25 billion cubic meters annually. The work is in progress on [the preparation and delivery of] these volumes.
This gas pipelines in the south. It has two large main gas pipelines to Iran. One small pipeline of local significance (Artyk-Lutfabad), and two large pipelines – Korpeje-Kurtkui and Dovletabat-Sarakhs-Khangiran.
We are working seriously on the implementation of the TAPI pipeline project. In my opinion, the work is in a very good stage.
In September 2010 the President of Turkmenistan at the 65th session of the UN General Assembly officially declared that Turkmenistan has started to actively work on the TAPI project.
Already in December 2010 in Ashgabat was signed a quadripartite agreement, [in fact] two basic agreements. In 2011, the quadripartite committee, which includes oil and gas ministers of the four countries, did a lot of work. The work of the committee provides expert group. In May 2012 at the gas congress we signed framework agreements – Agreement on the sale and purchase of Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India, and Afghanistan signed a memorandum on transit.
And in the south-east, in the short term will be made concrete and practical steps to once again demonstrate the commitment of Turkmenistan’s policy of diversification of energy supplies.
Here are the relevant excerpts from the UN General Assembly proceedings:
Plenary or Cttee.
Agenda Item No.
Meeting Record/ Date/ Press Release/ Vote
17 May 2013
without a vote
|A/67/L.65 and Add.1
|Reliable and stable transit of energy and its role in ensuring sustainable development and international cooperation
General Assembly – GA/11374 – Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York – Sixty-seventh General Assembly – Plenary – 82nd Meeting (AM) – 17 May 2013
The representative of Turkmenistan, introducing a draft resolution on reliable and stable transit of energy and its role in ensuring sustainable development and international cooperation (document A/67/L.65), said that access to energy was central to job creation, security, climate change mitigation, food production, poverty eradication and improved living standards. Turkmenistan, a leading supplier of energy and home to the world’s fourth largest hydrocarbon reserves, believed there was a need for consensus decisions to serve as a basis for global cooperation to ensure the reliable and stable transit of energy. Indeed, unpredictable, erratic energy prices were the main culprit for instability in the global energy supply chain.
Since 2008, said the delegate, energy experts had set forth proposals at various energy forums to strengthen global cooperation in that field and to balance the interests of producers, transit countries and consumers. To follow up the High-Level Conference on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy, held in Ashgabat in 2009, the Turkmen Government had proposed hosting and financing a meeting of experts in the Turkmen capital in the first half of 2014 on the issues. He was confident that the meeting would promote a common approach to ensure a reliable and stable global energy supply.
Adoption of the present resolution would undoubtedly be an important step towards that goal, and thus, help to eliminate an acute obstacle to sustainable development.
The Assembly then adopted that text without a vote.
Text of the resolution:
United Nations A/67/L.65 –General Assembly Distr.: Limited – 14 May 2013 – Original: English – 13-33304 (E) 150513 – *1333304* — Sixty-seventh session
Agenda item 20 – Sustainable development
Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium,
Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, China, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, CzechRepublic,
Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran
(Islamic Republic of), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao
People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Portugal, Republic of
Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain,
Sri Lanka, Sweden, Tajikistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan: draft resolution
Reliable and stable transit of energy and its role in ensuring sustainable development and international cooperation
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 63/210 of 19 December 2008,
Recalling also the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on
Sustainable Development, entitled “The future we want”, 
Bearing in mind the growing role of the transit of energy in global processes,
Recognizing the important role of transportation hubs for the reliable and stable transit of energy to international markets,
Noting that stable, efficient and reliable energy transportation, as a key factor of sustainable development, is in the interest of the entire international community,
Welcoming efforts at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and international levels in building energy transportation systems, and facilitating the trade of energy resources to promote sustainable development,
Recognizing the importance of addressing the special needs of landlocked developing countries, inter alia, by establishing and promoting efficient transit transportation systems that link them to the international markets, and in this regard,
reaffirming that the Almaty Programme of Action  constitutes a fundamental framework for genuine partnerships between landlocked and transit developing countries and their development partners at the national, bilateral, subregional, regional and global levels,
Reiterating the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development  and of Agenda 21,  and recalling the recommendations and conclusions contained in the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development  concerning energy for sustainable development,
Noting the outcome of the High-level Conference on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation, held in Ashgabat on 23 April 2009,
Noting also the launching of the initiative of the Secretary-General “Sustainable Energy for All”, which focuses on access to energy, energy efficiency and renewable energies, as well as the decision of the General Assembly to declare the decade 2014-2024 the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, 
1. Recognizes the need for extensive international cooperation for promoting the reliable transportation of energy to international markets through pipelines and other transportation systems;
2. Welcomes the proposal of the Government of Turkmenistan to host an international meeting of experts early in 2014 to follow up on the High-level Conference on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation held in Ashgabat on 23 April 2009;
3. Invites the Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States and relevant entities of the United Nations system, including regional commissions, on issues relating to the reliable and stable transit of energy, as well as on possible modalities for international cooperation, and to communicate such views in a summary report of the Secretariat to the General Assembly at its sixty-ninth session for further consideration.
1. Resolution 66/288, annex. A/67/L.65
2. Report of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and Donor Countries and International Financial and Development Institutions on Transit Transport Cooperation, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 28 and 29 August 2003 (A/CONF.202/3), annex II.
3. Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992, vol. I, Resolutions Adopted by the Conference (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigendum), resolution 1, annex I.
4. Ibid., annex II.
5. Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August-4 September 2002 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.03.II.A.1 and corrigendum), chap. I, resolution 2, annex.
6. See resolution 67/215.