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Neutrality is the Greatest Achievement of Our People

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Excerpts from the address by Saparmurat Niyazov to fellow countrymen on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Turkmenistan’s neutrality
On the day of celebration of the 10th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan the President of Turkmenistan addressed a message to the fellow countrymen warmly congratulating them on the holiday

The message is as follows:

“I have sincere and strong confidence that neutrality that we justly take pride in and which was recognized by the entire world community is the greatest achievement of our people, our sacred history. We declared neutrality right after gaining independence and this was a milestone decision for the present and future of the nation.

The great independence, gained as a result of historic transformations of the last century, provided all those who live on the blessed Turkmen soil with the opportunity to independently decide their own fate. (…)

From the first days of the great independence we (…) set a clear task: to avoid any disorders, keep and further strengthen our political independence.

To achieve this we had to ensure economic independence without delay, shore it up and then start doing things that had never happened in the history.

We began with hard and painstaking work on growing new type of thinking in people, that kind of thinking which would never separate the notions of freedom and the great independence. We patiently explained to people that happiness did not mean taking on the streets and crying of the freedom of speech but harmonious and creative work. This was just the beginning of our headlong and continuous work. We, first of all, needed to ensure stability and peace inside the country, to establish conditions for creative work of the people and defend it from outside dangers.

To achieve this task we chose our own way of development, different from all other ways, which, as it seemed to us, would have no analogues in the world. We came to a conclusion that our brave people, which defended its homeland with arms in hands in view of historic circumstances, would be able to live and work exceptionally in peaceful conditions if it never joins any political, economic or military blocks and alliances and strengthens political and economic independence by hard work and diligence.

We realized that it would be a hard and thorny path. It was vitally important for us that other states and authoritative international organizations recognized and supported our choice.

Emphatically, step-by-step, with deep faith in rightfulness of the chosen path, we presented our position where we saw readiness to listen to it and where we found counter interest and understanding. We made our first steps in this direction in July 1992 at a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Helsinki. At this summit we aired Turkmenistan’s firm decision to adhere to principles of the positive neutrality in our foreign policy. Later, we received the support from member-states of the Economic Cooperation Organization in Islamabad in March 1995. Five months later, on October 20, 1995, our idea of neutrality was fully supported by the summit of Non Alignment Movement in Cartagena (Columbia).

We traveled all around the world, talked to the heads of Russia, U.S, China, CIS countries, Turkey, Arab states, India, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Malaysia and leaders of authoritative international organizations. The world’s outstanding politicians who saw high intentions and lofty goals behind our initiative blessed us.

As a result, through the mediation of 18 states, the issue of recognizing Turkmenistan’s neutral status was put on the agenda of the United Nations.

And later, a significant event took place, starting, as a matter of fact, a historic count of neutrality of Turkmenistan as new political phenomena in the world diplomacy. On 22 October 1995, at a jubilee session of the UN General Assembly, for the first time in the UN’s 50 year history, Turkmenistan made a strong and convincing statement which the world community not only listened to but unanimously approved.

We conveyed to the world community a well grounded basic idea of our neutral policy, having noted that this policy had been already put into practice.

Neutral Turkmenistan assumed the following obligations:

- it will not join political, economic, military alliances and blocks;

- powers of the army will be limited to defending peace and freedoms;

- banning weapons of mass destruction and transportation of such weapons over land or air space of our country;

- nobody has the right to force our state to join any military bocks and alliances;

- all disputes in relations with foreign countries should be resolved through the UN;

- adherence to common values, principles of democracy and ensuring domestic tranquility;

- maintaining equal relations with all states regardless of their size;

- all deeds and undertakings should be guided by humane principles and good intentions;

- conducting its policy in close cooperation with international humanitarian organizations;

185 member-states of the UN unanimously adopted a special resolution of the General Assembly on the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan. This resolution recognized a peaceful nature of the foreign policy of Turkmenistan, its place and role in the international arena and affaires.

This landmark event was a logical result of the well-balanced domestic and foreign policies of Turkmenistan and its indisputable international authority.

Even today, since 10 years, we sincerely thank and express deepest gratitude to all 185 countries that unanimously supported out neutral status, especially co-sponsors of the UN resolution “On the permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan”: Russia, USA, China, CIS countries, Arab states, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine, UK, France, Germany and Spain.

December 12 has gone down to the history of Turkmenistan as a perpetual symbol of indestructible strive of the Turkmen people for peace and peaceful work. This day was declared the state holiday and is celebrated as Neutrality Day in our country along with other national holidays.

Neutrality, coming on the blessed Turkmen soil after the great independence which is more than an object of worship to every Turkmen, has become one of the milestones in the modern history of Turkmenistan. The neutral status has opened a great road for Turkmenistan covered with victories and glory. Turkmenistan, establishing itself as the land of unshakable peace, stability, unity and good neighborliness, has marked the 10th anniversary of its permanent neutrality with great political victories, economic achievements and revival of spiritual culture.

The shortest and most honest way leading to happiness is continuous strive for achieving goals that bring welfare to the people. This is the strong and reliable policy which helps us uphold a consistent and just position in the rapidly changing world.

The permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan has become an embodiment and demonstration of genuinely national traditions of the Turkmen people which in all times was famous for its peace loving nature and principles of good neighborliness.

The thesis that we put forward on equality of big and small states as a basic principle of participating in world affairs and sharing equal responsibility has been put into practice in the course of realization of the neutral model as an advantageous policy for every one. Thus, contrary to the former, traditional interpretation of neutrality as a position of non-interference and keeping away from the most urgent problems of today, we filled it with new, specific and efficient content.

Having gained the internationally recognized status of permanently neutral state, Turkmenistan proved to be a reliable outpost of peace and stability in the region and turned into its important political center.

The positive permanent neutrality, non-interference into internal affairs of other states, non-alignment with any military blocks and groupings and other international obligations envisaged in the country’s Constitution are the basis of Turkmenistan’s relations with all world states.

Our peaceful undertakings, supported by international authority of neutral Turkmenistan, enabled us to establish close relations with immediate neighbors in the region. Being an active participant of the projects of the Economic Cooperation Organization, Turkmenistan makes a worth contribution to the development of the regional partnership on the principles of equality and mutual benefit.

Turkmenistan regularly attends most of the meetings conducted by such authoritative international organizations as UN, ECO, OIC, EU, NATO, OSCE and other organizations.

Our active foreign policy, desire to participate in a multilateral dialog on issues of global development allowed us to put forth a number of peace initiatives. In the course of implementation of these initiatives, the world community has become increasingly aware that neutral Turkmenistan is promoting peace and stability in every possible way both within the Asian region and outside, helping in settlement of disputes in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, creating conditions for resolving urgent issues of the contemporary world and acts in the interests of peoples of the world.

A strategy of economic development of the country is serving the tasks of the consistent implementation of the neutral doctrine. This is the factor which determines the progress. (…)

Over the years of independence our state, taking advantage of the geopolitical situation, has put forward a number of projects designed to stand the entire humanity in good stead. A large-scale construction program worth billion of dollars, successes in science, education, culture, healthcare and high achievements in other fields are the fruits of the neutral policy of Turkmenistan.

Our homeland, independent Turkmenistan, pursuing peace loving and truly humane policy, aspires at positive cooperation with all states in the world. This is what the entire humanity is dreaming of – to have peace and welfare, goodness and accord instead of wars, conflicts, terror, violence and robbery. Neutral Turkmenistan is ready to take the most active part in all activities of the world community, provide all possible assistance to those undertakings that aim at preservation and strengthening of peace on the globe.

The Turkmen people, widely celebrating the 10th anniversary of permanent neutrality, will continue fulfilling its obligations and make a worth contribution to the positive resolution of all international problems. (…). The peaceful people of neutral Turkmenistan are full of will and readiness to serve the noble goals of the United Nations on achieving and maintaining stability and security in the world.”
Ashgabat, !2 December, 2005