Today our independent neutral state is one of the countries providing stability and security in the region. Turkmenistan is known in the world as an authoritative state with a dynamically developing economy, attractive for investments, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said today at a government meeting with representatives of the country's diplomatic corps.
We invest huge funds in the economy of the country. The trade turnover is growing steadily. Every year wages are rising steadily. High rates of development are achieved in construction, industry and other industries. The stable rate of the national manat is maintained. Inflation remains within the limits of the given parameters. In accordance with the programs adopted at high rates, work is underway to industrialize and transfer the country to a digital economy. The reforms of education, healthcare, science and other spheres are continuing.
The measures taken to reform the agriculture have yielded positive results; this year good yields of wheat and cotton have been obtained. Successfully continues the construction of large plants and factories. As part of the transformations being carried out, oil and gas fields are being developed and improved, gas pipelines are laid. Large-scale residential houses of high comfort, schools, high-class hotels and other social facilities are being built and put into operation. As a result of all these works, we manage to maintain high GDP growth rates.
Our country is distinguished by the internal stability and durability of the political system, the gradual introduction of democratic principles in the life of the state and society. All this is due to our reliable positions in the international arena, equal relations with the states of the world. As the head of state noted, for our country the outgoing year was successful in resolving international issues. In accordance with the goals set and the path we have chosen, we systematically and purposefully developed relations with many states of the planet.
Turkmenistan's foreign policy was carried out on a basic basis, namely, on the principles of neutrality, peacefulness, good neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation. Such a policy allows us to establish fruitful relations with partners, conduct direct and multilateral negotiations on various issues, find mutually acceptable solutions, the Turkmen leader said.
As is known, the international cooperation of Turkmenistan, our diplomatic activities are carried out in two strategic areas. These courses are defined by the Concept of the foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan for 2017-2023. They consist in systematically strengthening bilateral relations with foreign states and active cooperation with international organizations.
As for bilateral cooperation, great importance is attached to strengthening friendly dialogue with neighboring countries, in relations with which the highest level of trust and mutual understanding has been achieved. We maintain open and fruitful ties with these states in various areas.
The effectiveness of such a policy is evidenced by the fact that only this year the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan visited our country with state, official and working visits. We attach special importance to the development of trade and economic cooperation with neighboring countries and the joint implementation of major projects in the energy, transport and communication sectors. And we have achieved good results in this, the Turkmen leader said.
This year, work began on the Afghan section of the transnational gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India. The foundations of power lines and fiber-optic communications on the route Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan have been laid. The construction of the Serhetabat-Turgundi railway has been completed. From the Afghan station Akina started laying a new section of the steel line. Recently, the Avaza National Tourist Zone successfully hosted a high-level international ministerial conference with the participation of transport ministers of the countries participating in the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey (Lazurite) transit corridor. The forum confirmed the high level of readiness of the above-named states to put together efforts in implementing this very promising project.
With regard to cooperation with Afghanistan, we constantly declare that this country as a full-fledged participant and equal partner should join in the implementation of regional and international projects. The head of state reaffirmed that, as a neighboring and neutral state, Turkmenistan is always ready to provide its political space for conducting peace talks on Afghanistan. We will continue to work in this direction in the future, the President of Turkmenistan said.
Our country will further strengthen good-neighborly relations with Azerbaijan. An important step on this road was the recent official visit of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to Turkmenistan. During this visit in Ashgabat, ways and possibilities of cooperation in various fields were identified.
We are building friendly relations and fruitful mutually beneficial cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the interests of our peoples, we will continue to continue our close cooperation in the political-diplomatic, trade, economic and humanitarian spheres, the head of state said.
During the meetings with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, we agreed to significantly expand the partnership, the Turkmen leader said. In the economic sphere, in particular, bearing in mind the commissioned Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, we paid special attention to cooperation in the field of transport, the head of state continued.
In recent years, we have reached the level of strategic partnership with the Republic of Uzbekistan. The effectiveness of such interaction is evidenced by our fraternal relations in the political, economic and cultural spheres.
We will continue to expand friendly and good-neighborly relations with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, with which we are united by a historical and cultural community, the President of Turkmenistan said.
Strengthening relations with neighboring states, turning the region into a zone of peace, stability and broad international cooperation will in the future remain a strategic priority of the foreign policy of neutral Turkmenistan. In this regard, the head of state instructed the ambassadors of Turkmenistan in neighboring states to strengthen work on the implementation of the agreements reached, with respect, but persistently strive for precise fulfillment of the commitments made.
One of the most important areas of the homeland's foreign policy is to build up friendly and partnership ties with the states of the Asia-Pacific region. Currently, it is in this region that new centers of financial, economic and technological progress are being formed. In this context, we should conduct great work with countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, establish permanent contacts with their financial structures, business circles and seek the active participation of these states in the economic projects initiated by Turkmenistan.
Our country is located at the intersection of the Eurasian Routes, in a geographically very favorable place, namely, on the most important segment of the Great Silk Road. This allows Turkmenistan to act as the shortest way into the markets of Europe, the Near and Middle East, South Asia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean regions.
Turkmenistan's active assistance in the fulfillment of this function is the main task assigned to our diplomatic and consular services in the states of the Asia-Pacific region.
We must achieve a qualitative strengthening of cooperation on a bilateral basis in the European direction and through the European Union. Recently, namely in October of this year, our European partners confirmed their readiness to expand joint work with Turkmenistan in such areas as security, energy, transport, trade, and ecology. We are also ready for this work and support our European partners in their desire to develop systematic long-term cooperation with our country. We will accelerate the pace of our work under the logo "European Union - Central Asia".
The Russian Federation is our strategic partner, the head of state stressed. The peculiarity of our bilateral relations is the long-term close cooperation of Turkmenistan and Russia in the international political arena, mutual support of the initiatives being launched. The Turkmen-Russian economic partnership is characterized by a focus on expanding areas of joint work, establishing direct trade and economic ties with the regions of the Russian Federation. We see that strengthening scientific, educational and cultural relations with Russian partners has great prospects.
Turkmenistan is steadily expanding its traditionally friendly relations with Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Moldova. And this, taking into account our plans for the development of transport infrastructure, is especially important for access to the Black Sea, to the states of Southern and Eastern Europe.
Our fraternal dialogue with the Republic of Turkey is growing. Turkmen-Turkish cooperation has a positive effect on the development of multilateral cooperation to strengthen ties in Central Asia, in the regions of the Middle and Middle East, and the creation of new structures of interregional relations.
South Asia is traditionally a significant region for Turkmenistan. Building a dialogue with India and Pakistan on the principles of mutual respect, our country considers them its important partners in political, trade, economic and energy cooperation.
In recent years, interaction between Turkmenistan and the states of the Arab world has intensified. So, official visits to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates took place. Cooperation with these and other Arab countries, in a word, with the states of the Middle East, creates additional preferences for Turkmenistan for successful integration into the global economic and trade systems.
Ambassadors representing our country in the Middle East should intensify ongoing work to implement the achieved bilateral agreements aimed at developing partnerships in such sectors as investment, energy, transport and industry, the Turkmen leader said.
With the United States of America, we will continue to cooperate on such important issues as the preservation of peace and stable development in Central Asia and border areas. We will achieve energy security, economic development, trade and investment.
We also need to step up our work on Latin American states. Such countries of this continent as Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, are among the twenty largest economically developed countries of the world. They implement large-scale investment projects in various areas. In addition, Latin American countries are distinguished by the fact that they do not belong to any groupings and traditionally support developing countries in international organizations. And this creates additional opportunities for cooperation in foreign policy.
Given the fact that Turkmenistan has begun to cooperate with African countries, it is building relations with the African Union and with the countries of North and West Africa, we can also speak about the great prospects of this partnership.
In August of this year a significant event took place. At the Summit of the Heads of the Caspian States in the city of Aktau (Kazakhstan), the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was signed. The adoption of this document marked the beginning of a new stage of cooperation in the Caspian, opening up broad opportunities for interaction in such sectors as economics, trade, transport, and nature conservation.
Now we are faced with the task of consolidating efforts in order to implement the decisions reflected in this document. In this regard, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed the ambassadors of Turkmenistan in the Caspian states to intensify work on the implementation of the provisions of this Convention. I consider it important to establish close and systematic cooperation with the authorities of the riparian countries in solving this responsible task, the head of state said.
Another important aspect is the resolution of the issue of the Aral. During the two years that Turkmenistan chaired the International Fund for the Saving of the Aral Sea, we have been able to significantly intensify the work of this structure, to give it the necessary certainty.
For example, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, for the first time in nine years in August this year, a summit of the heads of the countries - founders of this Fund was held in the Avaza National Tourist Zone. At the initiative of Turkmenistan, a provision on the creation of a UN Special Program for the Aral Sea states was made in the final document of this meeting.
And before that, in April 2018, at the initiative of our country, the Resolution of the UN General Assembly On Cooperation between the United Nations and the International Fund for the Saving of the Aral Sea was adopted. The permanent representatives of Turkmenistan, working in the UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna, instruct to strengthen the work on the implementation of this initiative, to achieve its support by the member states of the Community of Nations.
With the participation of all countries on the principles of equality, mutual respect and responsibility, it is now necessary to develop effective forms of regional cooperation on water issues. Consistently adhering to this point of view, Turkmenistan constantly supports the solution of these issues, firstly, on the basis of generally accepted norms of international law; secondly, taking into account the interests of all states in the region; and thirdly, with the participation of international organizations and, above all, the UN.
Here we proceed from the understanding that water is the common wealth of all peoples of the planet, and ensuring equal and fair access to it is an inalienable human right. When discussing water issues, all diplomatic representatives of our country should be guided by these criteria. In short, in international activities we must strengthen the line of water diplomacy, the Turkmen leader said.
Regarding the priorities of the foreign policy strategy of Turkmenistan, we should note the increased role of transport and energy diplomacy. In this area we have already gained some experience. But time does not stand still and requires the development of scientifically based approaches, the training of qualified specialists who must understand the task well and conduct concrete and comprehensive negotiations with partners.
To this end, the head of state said, it was decided to create a special training center in the structure of the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the most topical aspects of Turkmen diplomacy. Speaking about this, the President of Turkmenistan noted that in a short time we managed to create a school of national diplomacy. As is known, this year the Institute of International Relations is ten years old.
Currently, the institute has four faculties and two centers. We plan to strengthen the research activities of the university. Special attention will be paid to the study of political science, state and trends in global politics and economics. It is also necessary to strengthen the work of the institute in internship, as often as possible to send teachers and students of the institute to higher diplomatic schools of other countries to participate in familiarization seminars.
At the current session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Turkmenistan took the initiative to spend 2019 under the motto Peace and well-being.
Speaking with this proposal, we set the goal of easing tensions, resolving controversial issues by peaceful, politico-diplomatic means. To this end, we have provided for the preparation of specific measures aimed at making responsible and balanced decisions.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is tasked with preparing relevant proposals that will help find topics for general negotiations within the UN and other international organizations, as well as overcoming obstacles to solving basic issues of world politics and achieving mutual understanding.
The development of international relations in the foreign economic sphere is the most important aspect of the activities of our foreign ministry. Today, Turkmenistan maintains economic, trade and investment ties with more than one hundred countries of the world. In this regard, we must strengthen the analytical work that provides the conditions for timely and correct assessment of the state of economic contacts with other states, as well as for determining their prospects for the future.
In this regard, the head of state announced his decision to create a new structural unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - the department of foreign economic cooperation. Its tasks will include such issues as the preparation of proposals for the study and implementation of major international projects, the coordination and control of the activities of bilateral intergovernmental commissions on economic, scientific and technical cooperation of Turkmenistan with various countries. It is necessary to organize this work on a systematic basis, to give it a permanent character and focus on a specific goal.
It is also important to strengthen the capacity of the archival service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Service should always be ready to issue any necessary documents on issues of international relations of Turkmenistan upon the request of state bodies. In order to improve this work, the archive department of the Foreign Service opens in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The activity of the diplomatic service of our country is of particular importance. The authority and dignity of our independent neutral state in the international arena, the security and stability of the country, the level of its economic development and the life of the people largely depend on the effectiveness of this work. We should be deeply aware of this and be guided by this in our daily activities, the head of state noted.
Our state will continue to pay greater attention to the work of diplomats, to create all the necessary organizational, financial, logistical and other conditions for the full-fledged work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, embassies, consulates and representative offices of our country abroad, the President of Turkmenistan said.
The head of state expressed confidence that our diplomats will take full responsibility for solving the tasks assigned to them and will continue to faithfully serve the interests of their native homeland, an independent neutral Turkmenistan.
Source: EMBASSY OF TURKMENISTAN REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN - TASHKENT