UN chief: Turkmenistan's neutrality contributes to regional security

By Aynur Jafarova

Turkmenistan's declaration of being a permanently neutral state, recognized and supported by the UN General Assembly, became a valuable asset for peace and security in Central Asia, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

"In this context, your further support to the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, demonstrates commitment of your country to maintaining regional stability," the message highlighted.

Turkmenistan's decision to assume a status of permanently neutral country was officially recognized by the UN in 1995. The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia is based in Turkmenistan's capital Ashgabat.

According to a military doctrine approved in the mid-1990s, Turkmenistan is pursuing the policy of positive neutrality and defense sufficiency, the main keynote of which is non-participation in any military coalitions.

Ashgabat has expressed its readiness to host Afghanistan peace dialogue under the UN auspices.

Afghanistan, with a 744 km border with Turkmenistan, remains the zone of tension in the region.

A large-scale project on a pipeline for Turkmen gas supply to India and Pakistan could cross the territory of Afghanistan. Observers believe that implementation of this project would promote rehabilitation of Afghanistan as it will create new jobs and provide the country with transit revenue.