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OSCE ready to further co-operation with Turkmenistan, says Chairperson

The OSCE is ready to expand the scope of its co-operation with Turkmenistan in all security dimensions and support the country in implementing its OSCE commitments, said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, today during his official visit to Turkmenistan.

Following his meeting with the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Ažubalis said: “The goal of my visit is to explore possibilities for further co-operation between the OSCE and Turkmenistan, to support the country in its economic and political regional initiatives, effectively addressing transnational threats to security in co-operation with the international community, and upholding its OSCE commitments, thereby increasing its engagement in reforms.”

“Turkmenistan plays an important role in enhancing security in Central Asia. I particularly welcome the active efforts of Turkmenistan in maintaining a constructive political dialogue with Afghanistan’s authorities and other stakeholders,” he added, stressing that strengthened engagement with Afghanistan is a priority of the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship.

“Given Turkmenistan’s geographic position, the task of ensuring border security is of special importance,” Ažubalis said. “The OSCE stands ready to continue supporting border security initiatives and other projects, in order to effectively contribute to the efforts of the international community and active bilateral work of Turkmenistan to help eliminate security threats stemming from outside its territory,” he said.

Ažubalis praised Turkmenistan’s engagement in promoting the creation of an international legal basis for energy security. “Defining the role of the OSCE in the dialogue on energy security would add value to the ongoing bilateral and multilateral activities of the Organization’s participating States, and is also a priority for our Chairmanship,” Ažubalis said. “The OSCE, which unites energy-producing, -consuming and transit countries, has the potential to serve as a valuable forum for discussion in this field. We therefore welcome Turkmenistan’s initiative to host a ministerial conference on energy security this year,” he added.

Ažubalis emphasized the need to build on what has been achieved in the years of co-operation with the Organization and its Centre in Ashgabat, established in 1999, and to further expand the scope of work in jointly identified areas, such as border security and management, energy security, legislative reforms and addressing transnational threats.

Strengthening co-operation with civil society аnd mediashould be promoted and safeguarded, according to Ažubalis, as they are “important channels of communication between the authorities and the people, and play a vital role in promoting security.”

Other areas of continued OSCE support include combating drug trafficking, promoting gender equality, preventing human trafficking and domestic violence and providing environmental information.

Ažubalis’ agenda also included official meetings with the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov, Chairperson of the Mejlis Akja Nurberdieva and civil society partners. Today’s visit to Turkmenistan concludes Ažubalis’ trip to Central Asia.

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