Here is the unofficial slightly paraphrased translation of the speech by President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov at the expanded Cabinet of Ministers meeting on 9 December 2022:
Dear meeting participants!
In a few days, we will celebrate a big holiday – the International Day of Neutrality of our independent state. I heartily congratulate all of you and through you all the citizens of the country on the Day of Neutrality of Turkmenistan! I wish all of you and our people good health, a prosperous and happy life, great success!
Last year, Turkmenistan came up with the initiative “Dialogue is a guarantee of peace” and started working to promote this initiative in the United Nations.
On December 6 this year, at the 45th plenary meeting of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the initiative put forward by Turkmenistan received support, as a result of which the Resolution “2023 is the International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace” was unanimously adopted.
I heartily congratulate you and our people on this huge and important success of our country in the international arena!
Dear members of the Cabinet of Ministers!
Dear Ambassadors and Consuls!
As you know, on July 8 this year, the “Concept of the Foreign Policy Course of Neutral Turkmenistan for 2022-2028,” was approved. This programmatic foreign policy document defines the priority areas of foreign policy and international activities of our state for the next seven years, it also outlines the tasks and approaches to their implementation.
Recently, fundamental changes have taken place in the system of international relations. We are witnessing the manifestation of complex political situations in different parts and regions of the world, including those near the borders of our country.
At the same time, situations related to the coronavirus pandemic are gradually stabilizing, which for three years has created difficult conditions and had a negative impact on economic relations in the world. Now new opportunities are opening up for the restoration and development of these ties.
These factors require a more thoughtful approach to strengthening the positions and authority of our state in the world, promoting the political, economic and cultural interests of our country. And this means that we, guided by the new Concept of the foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan, must properly promote the international interests of our country.
In international relations, we are guided by the basic principles underlying the national strategy based on the policy of neutrality and “open doors”. They consist in protecting the long-term interests of the country, ensuring its closer integration into the world community, in helping to resolve important global issues, maintaining stability and security.
In this regard, our country, coming up with the most important international initiatives that contribute to ensuring peace, security and sustainable development at the national, regional and global levels, makes great efforts for their practical implementation.
The foreign policy of Turkmenistan is carried out in two directions, namely on a bilateral and multilateral basis, as well as in the format of international organizations.
Based on this, it is necessary to work on the further development of political, diplomatic, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with countries in various regions of the world.
In its foreign policy activities, Turkmenistan considers the development and expansion of cooperation with international organizations a priority.
Our country provides constant assistance in the implementation of decisions and agreements adopted by those international organizations of which it is a member, and also takes appropriate steps to implement long-term programs and plans adopted jointly with international organizations at the national level.
As for cooperation with international organizations, first of all, we should mention the United Nations, with which Turkmenistan has been fruitfully cooperating for 30 years.
In its relations with the Community of Nations, our country always puts forward such strategically important areas as increasing the use of political and diplomatic tools, expanding the role of preventive diplomacy, energy security, and the development of international transport corridors, ecology and environmental protection, as well as the humanitarian sphere. These topical international issues on the world agenda are key in Turkmenistan’s cooperation with the United Nations.
For many years, our independent state has been elected to the specialized institutions and structures of international organizations. In this area, our country has accumulated a lot of positive experience.
In order to use this experience in national and international interests, the corresponding work should be continued. And this is especially necessary in order to elect Turkmenistan to the membership of such UN structures as the Statistical Commission, the Executive Board of the Children’s Fund, the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council, the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as well as other structures.
As you know, our country at the sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations comes up with proposals for the preparation of draft resolutions. To date, at the suggestion of Turkmenistan, the General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions.
At the current, 77th session, Turkmenistan proposed to prepare a draft Resolution “Dialogue is a guarantee of peace”, and also took the initiative to proclaim 2025 the “Year of Peace and Trust”.
Turkmenistan attaches great importance to relations with the Economic Cooperation Organization. Among the main areas of interaction are trade, energy, transport, investment, etc.
In all these areas, our state carries out mutually beneficial and equal cooperation with the ECO member states. As a result of the successful chairmanship of our country last year in this Organization, its activities have noticeably intensified. In this regard, proposals should be prepared for the further development of cooperation between Turkmenistan and this structure.
Our country is fruitfully developing cooperation with the Organization of Turkic States. Since November last year, our country has been participating in its activities in the status of an observer. It is also necessary to carry out relevant work so that various events of the Organization of Turkic States, including high-level meetings, are held in Turkmenistan.
In recent years, our cooperation with the International Organization of Turkic Culture TURKSOY has reached a qualitatively new level. Turkmenistan actively participates in its programs. Thus, recently, at a regular meeting of the Permanent Council of TURKSOY, decisions were made to declare 2024 the “Year of the great poet and thinker of the Turkic world – Magtymguly Fragi” and to proclaim the ancient Turkmen city of Anau the cultural capital of the Turkic world for the same year. In order to organize and conduct these important events at a high level, it is necessary, starting from next year, to start, together with this organization, the corresponding preparatory work.
Turkmenistan will develop relations with both the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Work should be carried out in this direction both on a bilateral basis and in the Europe + Central Asia format. In addition, it is necessary to take the necessary measures for the effective implementation of projects and programs prepared together with these organizations.
Our country is also conducting relevant activities within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Actively participating in its activities, in particular in economic forums, our sovereign state is also aimed at further developing cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.
As for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Turkmenistan, not being a member of it, systematically participates in high-level SCO events, and also maintains close ties in various areas with the countries that are members of this international organization.
Our Fatherland carries out extensive cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States. As an associate member of the CIS, Turkmenistan actively participates in its activities. Such sectors as transport, fuel and energy complex, communications, industrial cooperation, trade, innovations and new technologies can be named as priority areas of partnership.
At the CIS Summit held in Ashgabat in October 2019, on the initiative of the respected Arkadag, the Declaration “On Strategic Economic Cooperation of the CIS Member States” was adopted, which is of great importance. We must continue the relevant work for the further development of interaction with the Commonwealth of Independent States.
A fruitful character is also inherent in our relations with UNESCO. Turkmenistan has acceded to 12 international conventions and documents that provide a contractual and legal platform for cooperation with this organization. Our country actively participates in the activities of UNESCO and as a member of its intergovernmental structures.
Over the past period, such famous historical and cultural monuments of our country as “Ancient Merv” and “Kunyaurgench”, “Parthian fortresses of Nisa” have been included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
The UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage included “Destan art “Gorogly”, “Art of singing and dancing “kushtdepdi”, “Turkmen national art of carpet weaving” and “Craft of making dutar, performing musical art on it and the art of bakhshi”.
In addition, on December 1 this year, at a regular meeting of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, at the proposal of Turkmenistan, together with friendly countries, the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage included “Turkmen art of embroidery”, “The tradition of retelling the wit of Mulla Efendi”, as well as “Sericulture and tradition of using silk for weaving. Turkmenistan will continue to strive to increase cooperation with UNESCO.
As for the bilateral relations of our independent state, here we, guided by national interests and a neutral foreign policy, are conducting mutually beneficial and equal political, economic and cultural cooperation with all states.
Our relations with the Russian Federation are of a strategic nature. During my official visit to this country in June this year, we managed to reach agreements on a significant increase in partnership in all areas of bilateral cooperation, including security, energy, transport, agriculture, trade, the financial and banking system, education, culture and medicine.
Guided by its neutral status, our state maintains equal relations with the United States of America. During the years of independence, effective economic cooperation has been established with large American companies. We must take the necessary measures to further develop a mutually beneficial partnership with the United States in the fields of politics, security, trade and economic spheres, culture and education, health care and sports.
One of the reliable and strategic partners of Turkmenistan is the People’s Republic of China. During the years of independence, as a result of the implementation of specific projects, Turkmen-Chinese relations have reached a high level. The same dynamic is inherent in political ties.
I consider it necessary to take measures to develop and build up multilateral relations with this friendly state.
The Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – are our neighbors and friends. Relations with these states are one of the priorities of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy.
Over the past few years, our bilateral and multilateral cooperation has reached a qualitatively high level. This year we have met several times with the heads of these states within the framework of bilateral and multilateral events. During the negotiations, the most important agreements were reached between Turkmenistan and the countries of Central Asia, and relevant proposals were put forward.
Iran and Afghanistan are our neighboring states. Cooperation with these countries is developing constructively. In particular, measures are being taken with the Islamic Republic of Iran to develop partnerships in such areas as energy, transport, trade, and others.
In the foreign policy of Turkmenistan, great importance is also attached to cooperation with the Republic of Turkey. Friendly and fraternal relations with this state are growing stronger and expanding every year. We will continue to improve our strategic bilateral partnership in all areas.
Our relations with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia are stable. Attaching importance to interaction with these states, we strive to enrich cooperation with new content. We must continue to take the necessary measures to expand and deepen cooperation with these countries.
One of the key areas for us is the Asia-Pacific region. We plan to build up equal and mutually beneficial cooperation with Japan, India, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia and other countries of the region.
The partnership with the Caspian states is also fruitful. On June 29 of this year, we held the Sixth Caspian Summit at a high level in Ashgabat. I think that the issues discussed during the meeting and the agreements reached will contribute to even closer cooperation between the Caspian states.
Relations between Turkmenistan and European countries also occupy an important place in the international activities of our state. I consider it necessary to intensify cooperation with these countries.
Turkmenistan attaches great importance to the comprehensive strengthening of cooperation with the countries of the Middle East. In this regard, we must build up multifaceted relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait and the Sultanate of Oman.
We also pay great attention to the states of Israel and Palestine located in the Middle East region and must do everything possible to build up cooperation with these countries in the future.
Turkmenistan will increase cooperation with African countries. To implement this direction of our foreign policy, we should continue to establish diplomatic relations with the states of the African continent.
We are making great efforts to develop the international economic relations of our country. We strive to ensure broader participation in the system of world economic relations. To this end, we are striving to build up cooperation with various states and international financial and economic organizations and structures, both on a bilateral and multilateral basis.
Purposeful work is being carried out for our country’s entry into the World Trade Organization. In February this year, Turkmenistan was given the status of an acceding country (“active observer”) to the WTO. Fully fulfilling all the requirements for our country’s membership in this organization, it is necessary to continue work and measures in this direction.
I want to especially focus your attention on the development of parliamentary diplomacy. We must continue to actively build up inter-parliamentary relations with various states of the world. The experience of inter-parliamentary cooperation achieved this year has shown that parliamentary diplomacy has a great future.
Speaking of this, it is necessary to mention the visits of Arkadag to Japan, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Korea, as well as the visits to our country of the speakers of the parliaments of Turkey and Azerbaijan, the first Inter-Parliamentary Forum “Central Asia + Russia” held in Ashgabat.
Dear meeting participants!
In the implementation of the foreign policy strategy of our state, we certainly attach great importance to the diplomatic service of our country.
Therefore, we always pay special attention to improving the financial and logistical conditions of our diplomatic and consular departments in foreign countries. This work must not only be kept in the spotlight, but continued and improved.
Our state and Government will continue to make every effort to implement a constructive and balanced foreign policy at a high level, significantly increase the international prestige of our country and further build up mutually beneficial and equal partnerships with various states and international organizations.
(9 December 2022)
///nCa, 10 December 2022