Sig­nif­i­cance of Neu­tral­ity Pol­icy for Turk­menistan

The Diplomatic Insight - - News - Muham­mad Asif Noor

It is said that any coun­try’s for­eign po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. The same is also how­ever true for the Turk­menistan, where the state is also im­ple­ment­ing the prin­ci­ples of peace, har­mony, tol­er­ance and ac­cep­tance in the so­ci­ety by pro­vid­ing equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to the Turk­men peo­ple. Peace­ful and de­ter­mined na­ture learn­ing form their great an­ces­tors, who have al­ways ad­vised them to and re­solves. The great Turk­men poet Mag­tymguly in his poetry has ex­pressed sev­eral times th­ese de­sires for united, peace­ful and pros­per­ous na­tion. If Turk­mens would only tighten the Belt of De­ter­mi­na­tion They could drink the Red Sea in their strength. So let the tribes of Teke, Yo­mut, Gok­leng, Yazir, and Alili

Unite into one proud na­tion. End of Cold War and sub­se­quent fall of Soviet Em­pire has re­sulted into the emer­gence of mul­ti­ple suc­ces­sor states in Cen­tral Asian re­gion. Th­ese states, af­ter gain­ing in­de­pen­dence, ought to ad­just them­selves with new po­lit­i­cal world or­der wherein they the right­ful place within the re­gion and in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal sys­tem. Their ef­forts were di­rected to­wards shap­ing the state­hood un­der new cir­cum­stances hence be­com­ing ac­tive play­ers in the world com­mu­nity. Among th­ese states, the far­sighted lead­er­ship of the Turk­menistan made cru­cial, cen­tral and far reach­ing de­ci­sion to­wards tak­ing a course of for­eign pol­icy strat­egy in or­der to build re­la­tion­ships in an in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment marred with avoid cling­ing to one al­liance of power house or the other, Turk­menistan choose the prin­ci­ples of neu­tral­ity based on the val­ues of peace­ful­ness, non­in­ter­fer­ence, re­spect for sovereignty, ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and non­par­tic­i­pa­tion in in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary al­liances, treaties, and or­ga­ni­za­tions hence to fur­ther strengthen the in­de­pen­dence of Turk­menistan. This path of neu­tral­ity is based on his­toric iden­tity of Turk­men peo­ple of be­ing peace-lov­ing, hard­work­ing and co­her­ent in their out­look for fu­ture. The ma­jor aim was to work dili­gently for the eco­nomic up­lift of the coun­try and brave coun­try­men hence to se­cure it from out­side dan­gers and threats. The pur­pose for hav­ing this for­eign pol­icy dis­course was also to cre­ate such con­di­tions within the coun­try in or­der to pro­vide peace and pros­per­ity for not only the coun­try­men but also build­ing re­la­tions with the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries. Soon af­ter in­de­pen­dence, Turk­menistan an­nounced its po­si­tion of its pos­i­tive neu­tral­ity in July 1992 at a sum­mit of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and and later it was for­mally de­clared in Is­lam­abad dur­ing sum­mit meet­ing of Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion in March 1995. In Oc­to­ber 1995, this po­si­tion of pos­i­tive neu­tral­ity fur­ther re­ceived en­dorse­ment dur­ing sum­mit of Non Align­ment Move­ment in Carta­gena (Columbia). Fi­nally, on 12 De­cem­ber 1995, dur­ing the sum­mit meet­ing of UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly, the po­si­tion of Pos­i­tive Neu­tral­ity was for­mally de­clared in­ter­na­tional and was later sup­ported by 185 mem­ber states through adap­ta­tion of spe­cial res­o­lu­tion “Res­o­lu­tion on the Per­ma­nent Neu­tral­ity of Turk­menistan” thus rec­og­niz­ing peace­ful for­eign pol­icy of Turk­menistan. Neu­tral Turk­menistan was de­clared to fol­low the obli­ga­tions of be­ing pos­i­tively neu­tral by not join­ing any mil­i­tary or po­lit­i­cal block, hav­ing lim­ited army with hav­ing UN plat­form for res­o­lu­tion of dis­putes and fol­low the hu­mane prin­ci­ples and good in­ten­tions as guid­ing forces for

hav­ing such a strate­gic po­si­tion. This the coun­try to build har­mo­nious and peace­ful re­la­tions with its neigh­bors hence to pro­mote de­vel­op­ment through close co­op­er­a­tion and non-in­ter­fer­ence in other state mat­ters. In Ash­ga­bat, seven years ago in 2007, United Na­tions Re­gional Cen­tre for Pre­ven­tive Diplo­macy for Cen­tral Asia was es­tab­lished. The goal for this Cen­ter was “to as­sist and sup­port the gov­ern­ments of Kaza­khstan, Kyr­gyzs­tan, Ta­jik­istan, Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan in build­ing their mea­sures and gen­uine part­ner­ship in or­der to re­spond to ex­ist­ing threats and emerg­ing chal­lenges in the Cen­tral Asian re­gion”. The Cen­tre is meant also to pro­mote di­a­logue among the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries to re­solve the emerg­ing threats. It was man­dated that the or­ga­ni­za­tion will keep reg­u­lar con­tacts with in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, work­ing in the area to pro­mote their sev­eral mis­sions. At the early years of in­de­pen­dence, un­der the lead­er­ship of Mr.Sa­pa­mu­rat Niya­zov, the coun­try was strict in its neu­tral­ity stance and was re­mained in­tro­vert in its out­look. The aim was to con­tinue work on build­ing na­tion and state hood, in­ter­nal strength­en­ing of func­tional and or­ga­ni­za­tional ca­pac­i­ties of state in­sti­tu­tions. But at the same time, the coun­try be­gan ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of hav­ing co­op­er­a­tion in en­ergy re­source ex­plo­ration, but in a lim­ited man­ner. Un­der the lead­er­ship of cur­rent Pres­i­dent Mr.Gur­ban­guly Berdy­mukhame­dov, since 2007, Turk­menistan con­tin­ued its di­ver­sion to­ward making sev­eral col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ments with in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for trad­ing its vast en­ergy re­serves. While main­tain­ing neu­tral stance, Turk­menistan has re­mained vi­tal in its role in in­ter­na­tional and re­gional pol­i­tics, es­pe­cially the re­gional en­ergy se­cu­rity needs. Af­ter as­sum­ing that “Turk­menistan is un­der­go­ing a na­tional ‘re­nais­sance’, part of which in­volves the na­tion seek­ing greater in­te­gra­tion with the out­side world and the global econ­omy”. Pres­i­dent Berdy­mukhame­dov is tak­ing hav­ing ‘pipe­line diplo­macy’ through the pol­icy of en­gage­ment with the out­side world and global econ­omy. The state of en­ergy re­sources and po­ten­tial will not only serve the na­tional in­ter­est but also es­sen­tial for peace and pros­per­ity of the re­gion and the world as a whole. With a care­ful cau­tion and wise steps, Turk­menistan is play­ing its deeper and pow­er­ful role in the global pol­i­tics. The con­struc­tive and pro­gres­sive for­eign pol­icy en­gage­ment of the Turk­menistan has be­come a “weighty fac­tor’ in main­tain­ing in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing here while de­scrib­ing about role of Turk­menistan in re­gional peace, the Ash­ga­bat was cen­ter of UN spon­sored di­a­logue amongst the war­ring par­ties dur­ing the Ta­jik Civil war. Role of also been laud­able and vi­tal as the coun­try has pro­vided hu­man­i­tar­ian aid along with eco­nomic as­sis­tance to the peo­ple of Afghanistan on reg­u­lar ba­sis.

The ma­jor di­men­sion of tak­ing this for­eign pol­icy course is to un­leash the en­ergy po­ten­tial of the coun­try in a man­ner to be fruit­ful the coun­try but for the larger re­gion in a most prag­matic and ex­pe­di­ent man­ner pos­si­ble. This pol­icy stance helped the coun­try to out­grow in an in­de­pen­dent man­ner in sev­eral di­men­sions in­clud­ing trade co­op­er­a­tion, eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, cul­tural and hu­man­i­tar­ian link­ages with neigh­bors and in­ter­na­tional part­ners. Sev­eral head­ways have been achieved in de­vel­op­ing nu­mer­ous co­op­er­a­tion link­ages with coun­tries from across the world and they are based on the de­vel­op­ment of mul­ti­di­men­sional pipe­lines in­fra­struc­ture to the en­ergy dearth economies. TAPI project is one such project where Turk­menistan has opened its co­op­er­a­tion with re­gional coun­tries to share its valu­able en­ergy re­sources. Ac­cord­ing to one Bri­tish com­pany found in 2011 that Turk­menistan’s en­ergy de­posits con­tained around 918 tril­lion cu­bic feet of gas (Tcf) which means that the coun­try pos­sesses the fourth-largest re­serves of con­ven­tional nat­u­ral gas in the world. Be­cause of the coun­try’s out­reach to the re­gional mar­kets, it would soon be­come a “greatly-cov­eted sup­plier” of the en­ergy prod­ucts Termed as “Peace Pipe­line” Turk­menistan has al­ways re­mained an earnest sup­porter to ini­ti­ate this project for the peace and pros­per­ity of the re­gion. TAPI gas pipe­line project would Kand­har (Afghanistan), Quetta, Mul­tan the pipe­line will be the In­dian town of Fazilka, near the border be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan. The to­tal length of the pipe­line would be 1,680 kilo­me­ter will be built and op­er­ated by a con­sor­tium of na­tional oil com­pa­nies from the four coun­tries, fur­ther­more the cost of the project was just over 3$bil­lion in 2003; to­day it is $7.6bil­lion. Cur­rently sev­eral joint work­ing group meet­ings are go­ing on be­tween the stake­hold­ers about the pos­si­ble leader of the con­sor­tium to con­struct this project. It is ex­pected that the project will be op­er­a­tional this year, if all the con­tend­ing is­sues are to be re­solved. The pipe­line will trans­port 33 bil­lion stan­dard cu­bic me­ter (scm) gas from the Dauletabad gas Turk­menistan-Uzbek­istan-Kaza­khstanChina pipe­line and Turk­menistan-Iran projects which are un­der­way. The role of the gov­ern­ment of Turk­menistan is laud­able for its out­reach­ing to the re­gion for shar­ing of re­sources and smiles with the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries hence hav­ing sta­bi­liz­ing and rec­on­cil­ia­tory ef­fect Afghanistan.

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