President Serdar BERDIMUHAMEDOV: The Time has Come to Launch a Full-Format Dialogue Through the Central Asia–Un Line

The President of Turkmenistan Delivers a Speech at the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly

On September 19, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, who was on a working visit to New York City in the United States of America, took part in the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

This event is evidence of our Motherland’s commitment to the conception of broad international cooperation, implemented under the leadership of the Head of Turkmenistan, where one of the priorities is the deepening of strategic interaction with the Community of Nations, which in the modern era has acquired a new concrete content.

In the morning, the motorcade of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov proceeded to the UN headquarters.

By taking an active part in developing balanced decisions on current issues and problems on the global agenda, our independent neutral country makes a significant contribution to the general efforts to strengthen security and stability and to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Programme until 2030 on a regional and international scale. Integrating into the global political, economic and legal space, our country realises in practice its rich creative potential for the benefit of all humankind.

A striking example of this is the established effective partnerships with UN specialised agencies and structures and the implementation of joint projects in various fields. Speaking about the significance of the participation of the President of Turkmenistan in the work of another session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, it should be noted that it is considered as a continuation of systematic activities as a full member of the Community of Nations...

Upon his arrival at the UN headquarters, the Head of Turkmenistan was warmly welcomed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the President of the 78th session of the General Assembly Dennis Francis.

There, in the ECOSOC hall, an official reception took place on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.

Then President Serdar Berdimuhamedov took part in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The agenda of the session included a wide range of issues related to such important areas as the promotion of progressive economic growth and sustainable development, the maintenance of peace and security on the planet, fight against global challenges and threats of our time, ecology and environment protection and human rights, among others.

Speaking from the high rostrum of the United Nations, the Head of Turkmenistan voiced the priority positions of our country on pressing issues of both regional and global scale and new creative initiatives aimed at further expanding effective international cooperation meeting the interests of general wellbeing and progress.

At the beginning of his speech, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov congratulated those gathered on the opening of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly and wished them fruitful work.

Upon congratulating Ambassador Dennis Francis on his election to the post of Chairman of the session of the General Assembly, the Head of Turkmenistan addressed him with words of support and aid in his responsible mission for the coming period.

It was noted that it was precisely the feeling of the highest responsibility that should unite all 193 member countries of our Organisation, each of which, regardless of geographical position, population, economic volume and socio-political model, was called upon and was capable of making an important contribution to solving the problems facing the Community of Nations.

For many reasons, the current world is facing a number of very serious challenges. Despite the difference in their manifestations, they all, to a greater or lesser extent, influence the course of interstate relations, often negatively affecting the implementation of agreed plans and development programmes in key areas of the global agenda. This, in turn, could lead to the erosion of the fundamental foundations of universal security as the basis for the activities of the UN. Which, of course, could not be allowed to happen, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasised.

Based on this, Turkmenistan had for many years firmly and persistently been defending the principle of indivisibility of security, its integrity and the inseparability of its various aspects from each other, the Head of the Turkmen state continued, expressing the conviction that military and political security could not be considered in isolation from economic, environmental, technogenic, energy, transport, food, biological and information security. None of the listed areas can be secondary or irrelevant, and their solution cannot be postponed to a later date.

“I believe that the main task of the UN is to provide just such an integral approach to the problem of security, to mobilise the experience, competencies, ideas and initiatives available to member states in a creative way, to move away from short-term benefits and advantages for the sake of achieving truly crucial goals that will ensure lasting peace, security and development for the long term,” the President of Turkmenistan noted.

As was stressed, that could only be achieved jointly and with the decisive role of the United Nations. Against the background of discussions about the role of the UN in the modern world, proposals for its reform, the fact remains unchanged and obvious - there is no alternative to the UN.

Speaking about the principled position of our country on that issue, Head of State Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasised that, like all the past decades since its foundation, the UN was the only universal and legitimate organisation responsible for maintaining peace and ensuring universal and comprehensive security and the sustainability of the modern architecture of international relations.

In this regard, the importance of the consistent and persistent use of the potential of the World Organisation, its political and diplomatic tools and moral authority for a balanced and non-ideologized assessment of current events and trends, overcoming distrust and confrontational tension in world politics and identifying prospects of compromise and mutual consideration of interests was stated.

“This can only be done under the auspices of the United Nations, in an open and honest dialogue,” the President of the country said, continuing that we were aware that achieving such communication would not be easy. Nevertheless, it is necessary.

In this context, a number of initiatives of Turkmenistan were announced. In particular, it was proposed to begin discussing the possibilities of developing a Global Security Strategy based on the principles of the UN Charter and generally accepted norms of international law, taking into account current realities and trends in world development.

It was stressed that such a Strategy should reflect the presence, along with traditional ones, of new risk factors that had emerged recently. Our country, as it was noted, considered it necessary to include a number of areas of the UN activities, in particular: preventive diplomacy as a tool for preventing and neutralising conflicts; the use of the potential of neutrality for the peaceful, political and diplomatic settlement of disputes and contradictions; the restoration of a culture of trusting dialogue based on the Resolutions of the UN General Assembly on the declaration of 2021 as the International Year of Peace and Trust and 2023 as the “International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace,” the relevance of which had been confirmed by time.

In order to achieve universal and comprehensive security, Turkmenistan proceeds from the importance of giving the activities of the UN a distinct regional context, which is intended to bring proper specificity to joint work and to increase its functionality and effectiveness.

Expressing his conviction that the time had come to launch an inclusive, full-format and systemic dialogue between Central Asia and the UN, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov emphasised Turkmenistan respectfully invited partners to its start.

In this regard, an initiative was voiced to create, under the auspices of the UN, the format of the Conference on Security in Central Asia and adjacent zones. Its purpose is to develop approaches and solutions aimed at bringing closer and synchronising the efforts of the Central Asian countries and the world community, international organisations and financial and economic institutions in ensuring sustainable and conflict-free development of the region. At the same time, readiness was expressed to hold the First Meeting in Ashgabat in 2024.

Continuing his speech, the Head of Turkmenistan emphasised that among the key areas of UN activities in the coming years, Turkmenistan considered solving pressing climate and environmental problems. Among them, issues related to global methane obligations were highlighted.

As it was noted, with accession to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017, a number of relevant national programmes had been adopted in our country. National measures are being carried out at a priority pace in order to reduce and eradicate the negative consequences of methane emissions into the atmosphere. What is at issue is, first of all, a phased transition to the introduction and use of modern environmentally friendly and resource-saving technologies, especially in the fields of energy, industry and transport.

At the same time, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov stressed, we welcomed the efforts of the world community to implement the Global Methane Commitment.

It was noted that the Turkmen party relied on substantive cooperation and targeted aid from specialised UN structures, member countries of the Organisation and other interested partners. In this context, it was stated that our country had recently approved a Roadmap for the development of international cooperation aimed at studying the issue of Turkmenistan’s joining the Global Methane Commitment. In the near future this document will be sent to the Secretariat of the Organisation.

“In general, I think that the time has come here, at the UN, to pay closer and more effective attention to environmental problems in Central Asia, to overcome a certain inertia in their consideration and to begin targeted and specific measures to form a holistic UN environmental strategy for a region with the population of almost 80 million, occupying vast areas, possessing unique natural resources and biodiversity and at the same time being in a zone of serious environmental risks,” the Head of Turkmenistan said.

As an important step in adopting a strategic approach to the environmental problems of Central Asia, a proposal was put forward to establish a specialised structure – the Regional Centre for Technologies Related to Climate Change in Central Asia, which would work substantively and systematically on climate issues. In this regard, a readiness was also expressed to provide organisational and technical conditions for the functioning of such a Centre in the capital of Turkmenistan – Ashgabat.

Central Asia is also a region directly adjacent to the Caspian Sea. Everyone knew the importance of that water body with its unique natural complex in the context of the planetary environmental agenda, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov continued.

As a result of many years of energetic and respectful cooperation, the coastal countries have developed common key principles of policy in the Caspian Sea, including the adoption of the main document – the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. Last summer, at the Sixth Caspian Summit in Turkmenistan, all participants firmly confirmed their readiness for close cooperation on environmental issues, noting that opened up good opportunities for the beginning of broad and systemic interaction between coastal states and the UN.

In this context, a proposal was made to create the “Caspian Environmental Initiative”, intended to become an international platform for substantive and professional partnership on a wide range of issues related to environment protection of the Caspian Sea, the conservation of its biological resources and the solution of a number of pressing environmental problems.

“We believe that the implementation of this initiative should be carried out in close cooperation with the UN, its agencies, bodies and institutions,” the Head of Turkmenistan said.

As a responsible member state of the UN, Turkmenistan clearly formulates and implements its approaches and actions, identifying priorities for which our country’s contribution would be tangible and actually serve the benefit of global goals and contribute to their speedy achievement.

The realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the sphere of transport was highlighted among the main ones.

Turkmenistan was known to have initiated the creation of effective international platforms for a dialogue in that important area, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov continued, reminding the First UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transport successfully held in Ashgabat in 2016 and the International Meeting of Ministers of Transport of Landlocked Developing Countries, organised in cooperation with the UN in our country in the summer of the year before.

“We are proud that the purposeful work of Turkmenistan was marked by the adoption by the General Assembly of six resolutions in the field of transport initiated by the Turkmen parties in recent years alone,” the head of state emphasised.

Among the latter is the Resolution “World Day of Sustainable Transport” adopted in May that year, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov continued, expressing gratitude to all member states for the unanimous support of the document.

In that regard, based on the provisions of the Resolution, Turkmenistan proposed to convene a high-level meeting on the occasion of World Sustainable Transport Day within the framework of the current session, the Head of Turkmenistan said, expressing hope for the aid of the relevant UN structures in organising that event in New York.

The most important direction of Turkmenistan’s activities in implementing the SDGs is maximal aid to the UN in solving the food problem. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with other unfavourable factors, has exposed the vulnerability of those states where this problem has not been solved, where the population does not receive adequate nutrition.

As President Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted, unity, integrity and determination are needed when considering issues related to access of states and regions to food resources, guarantees of adequate nutrition as an inalienable right of any person, a key factor in health and normal physical development, especially for children.

It is obvious that breakthrough solutions and new approaches that overcome political, ideological, and market barriers are needed here.

Based on this, Turkmenistan is taking the initiative to convene, under the auspices of the UN, in cooperation with the World Food Programme, the World Health Organisation, the UN Children’s Fund, a major international forum on food security, the Head of Turkmenistan emphasised, confirming its readiness to provide conditions for holding such an event in the Turkmen capital at an agreed time.

Next year, Turkmenistan and far beyond its borders, including the United Nations, will celebrate the 300th birth anniversary of the outstanding son of the Turkmen people – poet, thinker, philosopher and public figure Magtymguly Pyragy.

All cultural humanity paid tribute to the memory and respect of the great humanist, who had made a great original contribution not only to world literature, but also in general to the development of the civilisation of the East, and the whole world, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov said, continuing that he would like to conclude his speech with words from Magtymguly’s poem “Address to Humanity”. In it, the poet addresses people – his contemporaries and descendants – the following life-affirming lines:

“Whether a man sleeps or is awake, he will
Deeply faithful to his plans.”

In conclusion, the Head of Turkmenistan wished loyalty to creative plans, ideals of peace, justice, and progress to serve as the main and clear guideline in joint work.

The speech of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov was heard with deeply interested attention and was greeted with general applause.