The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat has shifted to a new, spacious premises. The inauguration ceremony was led jointly by the OSCE Secretary General, Helga Maria Schmid, and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, Vepa Hajiyev, on 1 June 2023.
On 1 June 2023, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid, who is on an official visit to Turkmenistan, and Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev cut the symbolic ribbon opening the new premises of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat provided by the Government of Turkmenistan free for use.
Representatives of foreign embassies and international organizations accredited in Turkmenistan as well as national and international media joined the ceremony.
In her speech at the inauguration, OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid said:
“With the designation of this building the OSCE Centre will be able to better meet its needs and tasks under its mandate, so we look forward to continuing to support Turkmenistan on strengthening border management, regional connectivity, environmental protection, and women’s empowerment.”
“The new building of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat marks a significant contribution to our partnership and the promotion of our common values and objectives,“ said Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Hajiyev.
John MacGregor, Head of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, expressed gratitude to Turkmenistan’s authorities for the designation of the premises.
“This is evidence of the host country’s good will and commitment to co-operation with the OSCE,” he said.
The OSCE Centre in Ashgabat was established in 1999 to assist Turkmenistan in implementing its OSCE commitments across three dimensions of security.
It is a great honor and my pleasure to be here in Ashgabat – it is the first time for me, so I was very much looking forward to the visit and my meeting with our Turkmen partners.
This morning, I have had very constructive meetings with the President, the National Leader, and the Chair of the Mejlis.
Now, I am delighted to join all of you at this auspicious occasion, and one that is very rare in the OSCE: The official opening of new premises of an OSCE field operation, with the facilities supplied free for use by the host Government.
I particularly thank the Foreign Minister and Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, HE Rashid Meredov, for pursuing this outcome. I offer my congratulations to him, on this occasion.
Last year, we marked 30 years since Turkmenistan has signed the Helsinki Final Act and with this became a participating State of the OSCE. Since then, we have continuously built on our co-operation and jointly identified priority areas. The OSCE’s unique comprehensive approach to security means we work in all three dimensions – polmil, economic and environment and human security.
I have had the pleasure of discussing some of these on my visit – with the President, the Acting Foreign Minister, the Deputy Energy Minister and the Ombudsperson. I noted, for example, the support that OSCE provides on connectivity in the context of the Caspian Sea, and so am pleased to be handing over the ‘eco-port’ certification for the Port of Turkmenbashi today. We also discussed the OSCE support to border management, regional connectivity, environmental protection, as well as energy security, and especially women’s economic empowerment in this context.
In my meeting with the Ombudsperson, I discussed what more the OSCE could do to further strengthen its capacity, with particular reference to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
How to mitigate the risks from climate change was another topic of discussion during my visit and will be the topic of a High Level (Ministerial level) conference that I will host in Vienna on 7 July, and to which I duly invited the Turkmen authorities to attend.
With these new premises, the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat will be in a better position to meet its tasks under the mandate. The staff of the Centre will have vastly improved working conditions, and that is important.
I would expect that most of you attending here today will have a chance to attend an event of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat, in this very building, in the coming months. I know the staff of the Centre look forward to hosting you.
I would like to congratulate Ambassador MacGregor, and his very dedicated team on their work, and on the occasion of the opening of these new premises.
I wish all the best to those who will work in these premises now, and in the future.
Thank you for your kind attention. /// nCa, 2 June 2023
Here are some pictures from the event:
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