Turkmenistan offers to host UN-backed meetings on disarmament, energy, refugees

30 September 2013 – Calling for an expanded United Nations role in the world, Turkmenistan today proposed hosting five international meetings next year – on disarmament, energy security, cooperative transport and transit corridors for landlocked countries, desertification, and refugees.

"It is precisely the United Nations that is the main and universal international organization which adopts decisions concerning the most important issues of global development and comprehensive peace and security," Deputy Prime Minister Rashid Meredov told the UN General Assembly as it moved into the second week of its annual General Debate.

"Therefore Turkmenistan stands for the strengthening and expanding the role of the United Nations in the world," he said, citing "constructive and omnilateral cooperation" with the UN as the top priority of his landlocked country's foreign policy.

On disarmament, he called for energizing the discussion by holding a High-level international meeting. "We are prepared to create all necessary conditions and provide appropriate infrastructure for holding this meeting in the capital of our country (Ashgabat)," he said.

Turning to the issue of energy he called ensuring security in this sphere "one of the most important components of stable world economy, its protection against distortions and disruptions," and proposed the establishment of a new UN "universal international law tool kit" to form the legal basis for the international supplies of energy resource with a corresponding UN structure to enforce implementation of these provisions.

"To this end the Government of Turkmenistan proposes to convene in 2014 an International Meeting of Experts devoted to this topic," said Mr. Meredov, who made similar proposals at last year's annual General Debate, when he noted that Turkmenistan is one of the leading suppliers of energy resources and possesses the world's fourth largest reserves of hydrocarbon resources..

On transportation, he called for a combined system involving major international and regional maritime, road, railroad and air hubs. "Turkmenistan is convinced that transport architecture of the 21st century is the architecture for an integration breakthrough, joint efforts of regions, and combination of resources and industrial and human potentials," he said.

"Turkmenistan would like to table a proposal on holding next year in Ashgabat an International Conference dedicated to the role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation, stability and sustainable development."

Turning to climate change, Mr. Meredov offered his country as a venue for a Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on combating desertification.

Finally, citing his own country's "practical work in granting citizenship to refugees and stateless persons," he proposed hosting as high-level event with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to develop long-term solutions on the issue.

In a related development, ministers of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) met on the margins of the General Debate to review progress in the Almaty Programme of Action, a framework adopted in that Kazakh city in 2003 setting out specific measures for improved market access and trade facilitation to compensate LLDCs for their geographical handicaps.

"LLDCs continue to face many challenges," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in remarks to the meeting. "These include constraints in reaching global markets, significant financing gaps and the need to improve trade facilitation and integration into the world economy.

"The economies of landlocked developing countries remain fragile and vulnerable to external shocks such as the global economic crisis and climate change," he said, calling for a new global partnership for development, involving LLDCs, transit developing countries, and development partners – including international organizations, the private sector and academia.

Also highlighting the particular challenges faced by landlocked countries was the small Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, which also has to deal with the issues associated with being a least developed country (LDC).

"While Bhutan has achieved significant socio-economic progress, we face many challenges and vulnerabilities, being both a landlocked and least developed country," Foreign Minister Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje said in his address to the General Debate. "Our economy remains import driven and dependent on a single export commodity."

The country faces challenges arising from poverty, youth unemployment, natural disasters and vulnerability to adverse impacts of climate change. "We will, therefore, continue to count on external support and assistance as we work towards achieving our long cherished goal of self-reliance and graduation out of the LDC category," he added.