STATEMENT by His Excellency Mr. Serdar Berdimuhamedov the President of Turkmenistan at the Summit-level Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to COVID-19

(Baku, March 2, 2023)

Heads and members of delegations!

Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, let me express my gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan His Excellency Ilham Aliyev for the initiative to convene this Summit, its excellent organization and hospitality.

The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic today are one of the most pressing and serious challenges of our time. And this problem, of course, is not limited to purely medical aspects – it directly affects the political, economic, social and humanitarian realities of global development, emphasizing the need to search for new adequate mechanisms for relations between states and international institutions to overcome the difficult situation in which we all find ourselves.

Under these conditions, the role of the Non-Aligned Movement as an association of states promoting the ideals of equality, justice and humanism is objectively increasing, requiring us to actively and proactively contribute to overcoming the consequences of COVID-19, declaring clear and understandable directions and priorities for interaction.

Primarily, we are talking about the formation of a common political and ideological platform for joint work. It should be based on the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance and indivisible responsibility. Only in this way, together, by joining forces, will we be able to provide conditions for overcoming the consequences of the pandemic, guarantees against its recurrence, create the necessary protective mechanisms, and restore economic and trade ties. Obviously, the end of the acute phase of the pandemic does not mean a final victory over it.

And that is why it is necessary not only not to reduce the level of our partnership, but also to consistently increase it.

Among the priority tasks, we see the systematization of cooperation between the NAM countries in the scientific and health fields. It is necessary to intensify the channels for the exchange of experience, and methods in the field of countering dangerous infectious diseases, to put this work on a regular and constant basis. I am convinced that each of our countries has valuable developments and successful examples that are designed to become the property of all. In this regard, we propose to think about creating a single bank of information and methods of NAM to combat infectious diseases, that is accessible to all members of our association. As a basis for joint work in this direction, I consider it expedient to discuss the issue of convening a special Conference of Medical and Sanitary Units of the Non-Aligned Movement with the involvement of practitioners, scientists, experts, other representatives of the medical community, as well as other structures and departments related to countering the new threat and overcoming the crisis situation associated with it. Of course, open to all other interested states and organizations.

The most important condition for successful work to overcome the consequences of COVID is our close cooperation with the World Health Organization. Time has shown that who has generally coped with the functions assigned to it, and there is no reason to doubt its competence and professionalism. In this regard, we call on the Non-Aligned Movement to provide constant political, moral and other support to WHO, to reaffirm its unwavering commitment to cooperation with this organization, recognition of its main coordinating role in protecting the life and health of people on a global scale.

I think that in the current situation, there is a need to establish effective, with minimal formalities channels of cooperation between the Non-Aligned Movement and WHO, primarily through the medical communities of our countries. Let's think about the schemes and forms of such work.

Taking this opportunity, I want to express Turkmenistan's full support for the work of WHO, and sincerely thank its leadership and staff for their dedicated and professional work. My country will continue to work closely with this structure and is ready to continue providing all possible assistance.

In this context, Turkmenistan will further promote its previously expressed initiatives aimed at intensifying multilateral cooperation through science diplomacy. In particular, we reaffirm our country's earlier proposals for the establishment of the following international and regional instruments:

  • the Special Programme of the World Health Organization to Study the Genome of the Coronavirus;
  • the World Health Organization's multilateral mechanism to combat pneumonia;
  • the World Health Organization Methodological Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Acute Infections;
  • Central Asian Regional Center for Epidemiology, Virology and Bacteriology.

We also consider it necessary, with the assistance and coordination with WHO, to establish a more efficient and fair logistics system for the timely and uninterrupted delivery of medicines and medical equipment to the most vulnerable states from this point of view. I believe that here we need to make more active use of channels of interaction with other UN humanitarian agencies.

Distinguished participants,

In the coming period, it is necessary to achieve a consistent approach to the restoration of international economic and trade ties.

In this regard, we call on NAM States to work actively to restore and strengthen the resilience of international transport systems in emergency situations. There is a good basis for this – the UN General Assembly Resolution "Strengthening the links between all modes of transport to ensure stable and reliable international transport for sustainable development during and after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic", adopted at the initiative of Turkmenistan on July 29, 2021.

At the same time, we consider it timely to start drafting a resolution of the UN General Assembly on enhancing the role of landlocked developing countries in the development and strengthening of global transport cooperation. It seems that such a document can give a meaningful impetus to the promotion of the interests of these states, many of which are members of the Non-Aligned Movement, showing the importance and understanding of the relevant problems, and the commitment of the world community to solve them. Turkmenistan is ready to begin the preparation of a document open to all constructive proposals and recommendations. We look forward to the participation of the Non-Aligned Countries in this work.

Also, in the context of minimizing the negative economic consequences of the pandemic, Turkmenistan considers it necessary to strengthen the interaction of the NAM with the relevant UN structures, primarily with the Economic and Social Council.

The most important aspect of our activities in the post-Covid global economy is the consolidation of the positions of the NAM countries in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, and actively defending justice and equality in international economic relations. Here our goal should be clearly and fundamentally formulated: the restoration of economic ties should not harm developing countries, it should occur at their expense.

I am convinced that today we have a chance to build a new system of economic and trade world order, in which there will be no place for discrimination, artificial barriers, unfair distribution of resources. In recognizing the economic sovereignty of peoples and states, the voice of the Non-Aligned Movement should sound firm and weighty, we should proactively and responsibly promote our own economic agenda.

In this regard, the active participation of the Non-Aligned States in the formation of a global energy security system based on fair and transparent principles, equitable access to energy sources and their means of delivery, accounting for and recognizing the interests of suppliers, buyers and transit countries of energy resources is of great importance.

The most important component of post-Covid reconstruction is the joint work of the states of the Non-Aligned Movement in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, including in such a part as food security. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of precisely those states where this problem has not been solved, where the population does not receive adequate nutrition. Unity and firmness of the positions of the Non-Aligned Countries are needed when considering issues of ensuring access of states and regions to food resources, in ensuring guarantees of good nutrition as an inalienable right of any person, a key factor in the health and normal physical development, especially of children.

Of course, all of these tasks of post-Covid reconstruction are possible only in conditions of lasting peace and equality.

Therefore, we call on the Non-Aligned Countries in the coming period to strengthen their consolidated approaches in the struggle to achieve universal stability and security, overcome conflicts and escalate tensions, strive to establish a culture of respectful dialogue, trust and predictability in interstate relations, strengthen the role of international law and the UN Charter as the political and legal foundation of the modern world order and security architecture.

As is known, this year, at the initiative of Turkmenistan, was declared by the UN General Assembly as the "International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace". From this high rostrum, I would like to express my gratitude to all the States of the Non-Aligned Movement that have supported this initiative. A number of them co-sponsored the relevant resolution. This fact convincingly showed the unity of our goals and aspirations, and adherence to the peace-loving, humanistic principles of our Movement.

In conclusion, let me express my gratitude to the fraternal Republic of Azerbaijan for its effective chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement and its great contribution to the implementation of its goals today and in the future.

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