On 22 September 2023, the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan hosted the international conference “Independence of Turkmenistan: experience and perspectives of the development of international cooperation”, dedicated to the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of Independence of Turkmenistan.
The event was attended by heads and representatives of the Halk Maslahaty of Turkmenistan, the parliament of Turkmenistan, members of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, heads and employees of ministries and departments, heads and representatives of diplomatic missions of foreign states and representative offices of international organizations accredited in Turkmenistan, faculty and students of higher educational institutions of Turkmenistan, representatives of accredited and national media.
During the conference, moderated by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, the key speakers were:
- Deputy Prime Minister, foreign minister Rashid Meredov
- Chairman of the Mejlis Dunyagozel Gulmanova
- Deputy Prime Minister (health, science, education, sports) Nurmuhammed Amannepesov
- Permanent UN Coordinator in Turkmenistan Dmitry Shlapachenko
- UNDP Permanent Representative Narine Sahakyan
- Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Asia, Head of the UNRCCA Kaha Imnadze
- Head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat Ambassador John McGregor
- President of the Academy of Sciences of Turkmenistan Allaberdy Ashirov
- WHO Resident Representative in Turkmenistan, Egor Zaitsev
- Rector of the University of Humanities and Development of Turkmenistan Esen Aydogdiyev
- UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan Mohammad Fayyazi
- Tatiana Molchan, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (video message).
- Gwi-Yop Song, Regional Director of the UN Development Coordination Office for Europe and Central Asia (video message)
Opening the conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Mr. Meredov, noted that Turkmenistan is confidently pursuing a path of large-scale transformations in all spheres, successfully implementing the task set by the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty, and President of Turkmenistan, to promote the country to the category of modern developed countries of the world. He stressed that the most important condition for achieving this is Turkmenistan’s commitment to international cooperation, openness to the world, and willingness for partnerships in all directions.
During the forum, participants learned about significant initiatives of Turkmenistan that aim to contribute to the global achievement of sustainable development goals.
“Turkmenistan has initiated and continues to actively promote a number of UN resolutions and initiatives in such areas as peace and security, preventive diplomacy, sustainable transport and connectivity, international cooperation, sustainable energy, healthcare, combating climate change and its consequences, human rights and gender equality, youth and sports, etc. Once again, I want to assure our partners in the Government that the UN has supported all the above-mentioned initiatives and will continue to support them,” said Dmitry Shlapachenko, UN Resident Coordinator in Turkmenistan.
UNDP Resident Representative in Turkmenistan Ms.Narine Sahakyan spoke about the dynamically developing partnership of Turkmenistan with UNDP. “Over the years of independence, UNDP, together with partners, has implemented hundreds of projects in a wide range of thematic areas aimed at empowering people to create a more sustainable and equitable future, while maintaining a balance between people and the environment,” she said.
During the conference, it was emphasized that the innovative foreign policy initiatives of the Head of Turkmenistan aimed at solving topical issues of the global and regional agenda are widely recognized and supported internationally.
The head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, SRSG Kaha Imnadze, in particular, mentioned the difficult geopolitical situation in Central Asia and stressed: “Turkmenistan consistently implements the policy of good neighborliness, relying on the important observance of national interests, respect for the sovereignty and independence of other countries. This combination allows the countries of the region to join efforts in adequately countering the threats and challenges of the modern world. In this sense, it is worth to note the important role that neutral Turkmenistan plays in developing positive regional dynamics and creating conditions for deepening cooperation with its neighbors in the region, including neighboring Afghanistan.”
Speaking in Turkmen, the head of the OSCE Center in Ashgabat, John McGregor, highly appreciated the fruitful cooperation that has developed over decades of independence between this organization and Turkmenistan, and an important event in the history of cooperation was the opening of a new building of the OSCE Center in the capital this year. As Meredov noted, commenting on McGregor’s speech, 495 projects have been implemented over 24 years of systematic cooperation between Turkmenistan and the OSCE (the center was opened in 1999), and the cooperation plan for 2023 provides for the implementation of 41 projects.
The speakers of the conference underlined that during the years of independence Turkmenistan has achieved significant success in various fields, including foreign policy, economy and social sphere. Large-scale reforms and transformations are being implemented in the country, which are aimed at improving the welfare of the population and strengthening the international authority of the country.
The accumulated rich experience in solving a number of tasks aimed at achieving the well-being of the population has been recognized internationally. So, for example, in the field of healthcare, child protection and motherhood, the country has one of the highest rates of immunization coverage in the region and in the world. The country has the status of free from measles, rubella, polio. As UNICEF Representative Mohammad Fayyazi recalled in his speech, Turkmenistan was elected to the Executive Board of UNICEF for the period 2024-2026.
In the area of healthcare, WHO Resident Representative in Turkmenistan Egor Zaitsev highlighted the “super priorities” of dialogue and practical interaction between Turkmenistan and WHO. These include digitalization of the healthcare system, development of Turkmenistan’s experience in the field of NCDs, assistance to Turkmenistan in obtaining the status of a tobacco-free country by 2025, increasing the potential in virus genome research, promotion of the One Health concept, development of diplomacy in the field of healthcare.
The conference participants in their speeches emphasized the importance and timeliness of the international initiatives and proposals of the President of Turkmenistan, which were announced from the rostrum of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2023.
The effectiveness of the path of positive neutrality chosen by independent Turkmenistan, based on the principles of peace, friendship, equal and mutually beneficial partnership, was particularly noted at the conference.
In general, participants emphasized that Turkmenistan is playing an increasingly important role on the world stage and taking a principled position on the observance of national interests in the system of international relations. By actively participating in global political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, humanitarian, and other processes, Turkmenistan is increasingly revealing its potential to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Within the framework of the international conference “Independence of Turkmenistan: experience and prospects for the development of international cooperation”, an exhibition dedicated to the achievements and successes of Turkmenistan during the years of independence was organized. ///nCa, 23 September 2023
Here are some photos from the event:
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