By Kamila Aliyeva
The re-elected for the third term President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov approved the Concept of foreign policy course of Turkmenistan for 2017-2023 making a particular stress on the importance of the stability in the Central Asian region for his country.
The concept envisages the new directions in the foreign policy of Turkmenistan for the next seven years.
The document emphasizes that the core of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy remains the same as the country has a unique and one-of-a-kind legal status of permanent neutrality approved by the world community.
The concept presents specific plans and directions for further consolidations of friendly relations and accumulation of partnership with neighboring countries and states of the region.
Policy of neutrality enabled Turkmenistan to establish peace, and respect, relations of friendship, cooperation, and mutual understanding with Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian states – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
The fruitful cooperation with the European countries, and the United States will continue, first of all, on such major issues as ensuring peace and stability in Central Asia as it is a key direction of the national foreign policy.
Turkmenistan intends to improve the authority of the country in the world arena, bringing of cooperation of the country with other states and international organization to the new level.
Turkmenistan targets a special attention to the development of close, strategic partnership with the UN, OSCE, Non-Aligned Movement, OIC, and other international organizations.
Particularly, the expansion of cooperation with foreign countries and international institutions for development of solutions of urgent issues in such spheres as energy and provision of energy, security establishment of sustainable transport system, ecology and environmental protection, especially matters of water resources management, prevention and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters, food security and others are among top priorities.
The document outlines main vectors of the development of regional and bilateral cooperation with Asian, European, North and South American and African Countries were outlined.
Turkmenistan aims to diversify its economy by developing energy and fuel sectors. The country has significant commercial relations with Russia and Iran and a growing cross-border trade with Afghanistan.
A great deal of potential has always existed in Afghanistan-Turkmenistan relations. Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves and has been actively looking for building transportation routes to large markets and the route through Afghanistan has been the most feasible and economical.
The rise of India as an economic giant and its increasing energy needs make Turkmenistan and Central Asia energy markets interesting for that country.
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) has been one of the most important initiatives to be undertaken by these regional countries. Construction of the Turkmen section of TAPI was launched on December 13, 2015.
In addition, Afghanistan depends on Turkmenistan for meeting a large part of the country's electricity needs. At present, Afghanistan imports more than 320 million kWh of electricity every year from Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan officially became a neutral state on December 12, 1995, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 50/80 that recognized the status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.
The republic has taken a neutral position on the majority of international issues and is virtually isolated from world politics.
It was the first time that the UN supported the neutrality of an independent state. Turkmenistan doesn't contribute to the UN monitoring forces and doesn't participate in any military alliance.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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