The year 2020 bears special significance to Turkmenistan. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality means a great deal to the Turkmen nation. The unique status has been recognized twice by the world community through the UN General Assembly Resolutions, 50/80A: ‘Permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan’ on the 12th of December 1995 which was reaffirmed on the 3rd of June 2015 (69/285). These two resolutions are not merely symbolic acts by the UN Members states. They embody the unanimous recognition by the largest–ever international community of the value of Turkmenistan’s Neutrality and of the true benefit it brings to stability, peace and global partnership. During the twenty-five years of its history, permanent neutrality status of Turkmenistan evolved into an effective instrument of building international peace. In today’s globalized world where new social, economic and environmental challenges need to be addressed by international community jointly, Turkmenistan’s positive neutrality demonstrated its potential to serve the common interests of humanity.
An important strength of Turkmenistan’s neutral foreign policy is its openness to the world. If neutrality was to have positive impact on international relations, it had to be widely accepted and recognized by the international community. Therefore, the government of Turkmenistan from the very first days of independence aimed to explain its foreign policy choice in international forums. The first official declaration of Turkmenistan on its neutrality policy was made in the 1992 Helsinki summit of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. In 1995 in the Islamabad summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization welcomed the initiative of Turkmenistan to declare permanent neutrality. In October of 1995, Turkmenistan joined the Non-Aligned Movement and the members of the organization expressed their support in the Cartagena declaration of the organization. On 12 December, 1995 Turkmenistan received the support of 185 states in the United Nations General Assembly and the historic document was adopted on “Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan”. During the early days of neutrality Turkmenistan actively contributed to the resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In 2015 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our neutrality status and the United Nations General Assembly reaffirmed its support for our choice. In 2017 the United Nations proclaimed 12 December as International Day of Neutrality. And in 2020 Turkmenistan proudly celebrates the 25th anniversary of its permanent neutrality.
It is important to emphasize that Turkmen neutrality is the first neutrality status recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in history. However, efforts of Turkmenistan as a neutral country are by no means limited to the United Nations platform. In international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Non-Aligned Movement Turkmenistan is well-known as an active and constructive partner. Through these platforms Turkmenistan promotes principles of friendship and cooperation and actively spreads the idea of denuclearization and demilitarization in international politics. The establishment of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in 2007 in Ashgabat became a symbol of the trust of our neighbors and international organizations. Furthermore, Turkmenistan’s election to prestigious positions in international organizations represents a positive evaluation of our country’s international efforts. An important example for that was the election of our country to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the period 2019-2021.
Another source of strength of Turkmenistan’s neutrality is its constitutional foundation. In the preamble of the Constitution of Turkmenistan our nation vows to strengthen the internationally-recognized legal status of permanent neutrality. Article 2 of the constitution declares that the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan is the foundation of its domestic and foreign policies. In addition, Turkmenistan’s neutrality is supported by the Constitutional Law on the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan adopted in 1995. While these documents affirm the permanent character of the policy, they also serve as visions of a more peaceful and prosperous world.
The results of work carried out by Turkmenistan under the leadership of our Esteemed President are clear. They demonstrate that neutrality and socio-economic development can go together by mutually reinforcing each other. In the development field, Turkmenistan is implementing national programs to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In July 2019, during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum, Turkmenistan presented its Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Periodic consultation visits of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund delegations confirm that the economy of Turkmenistan is developing sustainably, at an average annual GDP growth rate of 6%.
The positive impact of neutrality on international development is also acknowledged by our partners worldwide. Turkmenistan proposes collaborative solutions to address global challenges and promoting peace and prosperity. Hosting large-scale international events, contests, festivals, and conferences is one of the instruments used by our country. For example, in 2017 Turkmenistan hosted the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat. In recent years Turkmenistan chaired in international organizations such as International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, the International Energy Charter, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Turkmenistan has bold initiatives in many areas of development. For example the First Global Conference on Sustainable Transport of the United Nations was convened in Ashgabat in 2016 for the first time in history. The Final document of the First Caspian Economic Forum held in 2019 was adopted as the document of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The future of Turkmenistan’s neutrality policy looks bright because it is based on a thorough understanding of our nation’s peaceful aspirations and a rigorous analysis of current world affairs. In response to the need for stronger collaboration among countries, our country will continue to strengthen the culture of peace and trust around the world. In September of 2019, in the United Nations General Assembly together with 72 countries Turkmenistan coauthored the resolution “International Year of Peace and Trust, 2021” which underlined that the International Year constitutes a means of mobilizing international efforts to promote peace and trust among nations on the basis of political dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation in order to build sustainable peace, solidarity and harmony. Turkmenistan believes that neutrality can serve as a powerful instrument of conflict resolution in international arena and proposes to develop a United Nations Code of Practice on the effective use of the principles of neutrality, and to organize a broad UN-based multilateral dialogue on the practical application of the principles of neutrality in prevention of conflicts. All of these initiatives define the spirit of the events organized throughout the year of “Turkmenistan – Home of Neutrality”. In this regard, Turkmenistan is looking forward to the forthcoming high-level international conference on “Policy of Neutrality and its importance in ensuring international peace, security and sustainable development” on December 12th in Ashgabat which will serve as a productive platform for the international community to discuss the potential of neutrality policy as an effective instrument of international peace.
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