10th Anniversary of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia by Ambassador Atageldi HALJANOV Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations at Geneva

4 December 2017

This year, the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The idea to establish the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, capital of Turkmenistan, was initiated by H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan, and was established in May 2007 during the exchange of letters between the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council. The UNRCCA became the first political mission of the United Nations, whose mandate is focused on preventive diplomacy.

Over the past 10 years, there have been no major interstate conflicts in Central Asia. This, of course, is the achievement of the states of the region and of the joint work. The Center provided a platform for Governments to dialogue on the most complex regional issues, such as transboundary water use, countering threats to security, strengthening stability, and developing regional cooperation. It also reacted quickly to emerging problems and destabilizing factors.

As our distinguished President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov notes, active interaction with the Community of Nations and its major structures is one of the key vectors of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy strategy which this year marks the 25th anniversary of joining the United Nations this year, as well as 10 years of work of UNRCCA whose establishment is a landmark event in the history of bilateral cooperation.

Realizing the policy based on the principles of positive neutrality, peacefulness and good-neighbourliness, Turkmenistan will always be committed to wide-ranging all-round cooperation, by actively participating in solving actual problems of our time.

Given the above, it should be noted that Turkmenistan is able to play an active role in the international arena, as it has a reputation and qualifications that are sufficient to assume an active and creative role on an international scale.
The United Nations considers Turkmenistan as a reliable and responsible partner, another indication of which is the location of the headquarters of the largest regional UN structure in Ashgabat.

As you may be aware, choosing the Turkmen capital was supported by all the Central Asian states without exception who unanimously recognized the indisputable authority of Turkmenistan and the peaceful policy pursued by the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov that was embodied in a number of the international initiatives put forward to ensure peace, stability and universal security.

All these years, the UNRCCA helped to strengthen regional cooperation and establish a productive dialogue on the peaceful, consensual resolution of all emerging issues.

The headquarters of this United Nations peacekeeping structure have become an important platform for a dedicated and constructive dialogue in the interests of stable and sustainable development of the region. Regular seminars, round tables, multilateral meetings with the participation of delegations from the countries of the Central Asian region made it possible to focus on the role of preventive diplomacy as a tool for ensuring security and stability in the world, managing transboundary waters and energy resources, combating cross-border crime and drug trafficking, the situation in the neighbouring Afghanistan, etc.

In December 2012, speaking at the International Conference entitled "Neutrality and Preventive Diplomacy: the Foundations of Peace and Security", dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the opening of the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, the Turkmen Head of State noted that having voiced the initiative to create a similar structure in our region and proposing Ashgabat as a lieu for its headquarters, we were guided by two fundamental motives.

The first was the need to render the peacekeeping efforts of the world community in the Central Asia systemic and institutionalized at the UN level. It was obvious for Turkmenistan that the region needs a real, effective international mechanism for preventing and neutralizing conflicts with a relevant status and authority.

The second was the awareness of the world vision commonality of the neutral foreign policy model and its objective leading to international preventive diplomacy, their complementarity as the most important factors for preserving peace and security at the regional and global levels.

Thus, the logic of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy under the leadership of the deeply respected President of Turkmenistan as a neutral state objectively coincided with both the aspirations of the UN in the region and with the awareness of the world community of the ever-increasing role of preventive diplomacy as one of the effective instruments of modern international politics. And from this point of view, it should be pointed out that the decision of the United Nations to establish a Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia with its headquarters in Ashgabat, supported by all its neighbours, proved to be correct, timely and strategically justified.

It is considered that within the framework of its mandate, the Center today is the optimal platform for interaction between the countries of the region and the active involvement of international organizations in matters of regional issues. In the present and in the future, the potential of the Center will be in demand in such important areas as energy security, transport and communications, environmental security, Afghan issues and many others.

Today it is already obvious that without the firm international guarantees for the supply of raw energy materials, it is impossible to talk about the stable development of the global economy, the conflict-free and safe course of regional processes, the predictability of the foreign policy course of individual states and groups of countries. In other words, energy security is and will act in the foreseeable future as one of the key factors for the stable and consistent development of the entire system of international relations.

In this regard, Turkmenistan is actively encouraging the world community, through the United Nations, to start developing a universal international legal instrument aimed at ensuring the functioning of an energy supply system that equally takes into account interests of producers, transiters and consumers of hydrocarbon resources.

In the context of interstate relations, the establishment of interregional cooperation, the development of transport and communication is one of the most promising areas. Today, politics and the economy are inseparable, and, as practice shows, joint economic, commercial, investment projects are able to smooth out and neutralize the most acute foreign contradictions, act as effective measures of preventive diplomacy.

The role and responsibility of preventive diplomacy, and hence of the Regional Center, are objectively increasing. In this regard, our distinguished President notes Turkmenistan’s readiness to provide the United Nations, as well as all interested parties with all possible and most effective support in this work, to provide the necessary political and organizational conditions for carrying out under the auspices of the UN negotiations of various formats on various aspects of the Afghan problem.

It should be emphasized in this connection that Turkmenistan continues to provide assistance to Afghanistan in the field of construction of social infrastructure, supply of electricity, and training of personnel in other areas. Turkmenistan firmly believes that one of the key components in the peaceful and creative development of Afghanistan, the establishment of regional stability and cooperation will be the implementation of the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, the arrangements for which are already in the practical stage.

The strengthening of the security system in the region is directly related to building our joint efforts in the field of disarmament. It requires a systemic multilateral interaction of states and authoritative international organizations in order to make the processes of disarmament consistent and irreversible. In fact, we are talking about the formation in this part of the globe of a fundamentally new political and psychological background that favours the establishment and consolidation of the relations between states of a non-confrontational worldview, a conscious rejection of military force by them as an instrument for solving existing problems or disputable issues.

In this context, disarmament issues should also remain among the main priorities of the Regional Center.

The events taking place in various parts of the world are rapidly changing its geopolitical picture, by transforming views on the course and content of regional and global processes. In these conditions, preventive diplomacy becomes the most important, and in some cases the decisive factor in preventing conflicts, timely transformation of disputes and contradictions into the negotiating channel.

The work done in the past ten years in this direction has shown the correctness of the taken course. The Center for Preventive Diplomacy, established in the capital of neutral Turkmenistan, has made and continues to make a great contribution to strengthening peace and stability in the region, creating an environment of good-neighbourliness and cooperation.