Honorable Ministers, ladies and gentlemen!
Let me thank NATO Secretary General and the leading authorities of the Alliance for the excellent organization of our meeting and also express the words of gratitude for providing the opportunity to make an address at this EAPC meeting.
In accordance with its active and constructive position in international affairs, Turkmenistan, participating in the "Partnership for Peace Program", promotes the establishment of the most favorable external political conditions for its internal development and support of peace and stability in the region.
Turkmenistan attaches the priority importance in the sphere of war and conflict prevention to the political, diplomatic, legal international, economic and other nonmilitary activities of the world community with regard to peace threat, violation of peace and acts of aggression.
The Defense Ministers meeting (EAPC) is undoubtedly useful, first of all, for the views exchange with the colleagues from NATO countries and Partners; particularly, about the current problems of global and regional security, fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.
With regard to the position of Turkmenistan referring to EAPC position and perspectives after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and acts of terrorism still going on in the different parts of the world, the victims of which become the innocent people, I would like to say that Turkmenistan, from the very beginning of the process of the fight with terrorism, has chosen the humanitarian side of the events, being conducted by EAPC countries.
The events, which take place in Afghanistan, rivet the attention of the world community and we really understand that the combined efforts, aimed at the achievement of peace and stability in the region are especially important.
Turkmenistan pays great attention to the improvement of social position in Afghanistan and stresses that this factor will positively influence the stabilization of situation in this region. From the very beginning of the activity of coalition, Turkmenistan has provided its territory and air space for transportation of humanitarian aid. About 60% of the overall amount of humanitarian transportation is carried out across the territory of Turkmenistan. Besides, at the last meeting, the People's Council of Turkmenistan has passed an Enactment about significant reduction of prices on electrical energy, exported from Turkmenistan to the Northern region of Afghanistan. Turkmenistan also contributes to the development of border trade with Afghanistan and maintains all the positive efforts to strengthen stability. We should not also forget about the construction project of the massive gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan, which has the great importance and will become a powerful stimulus for strengthening peace and stability on the ancient land of Afghanistan.
Concerning the perspectives of interaction and cooperation of Turkmenistan and NATO, I want to note, that between 10 to 14 September 2002, NATO Civil Emergency Planning department, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers of Europe, Civil-military cooperation department and the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan conducted the Regional Civil Emergency Planning and civil-military cooperation seminar in Ashgabat. Over 50 participants from the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan, Civil emergency institutions, different civil ministries and also representatives from Belgium, Belarus, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and USA took part in this seminar. The participants of the seminar familiarized with the organization, role and functions of civil emergency planning and with the goals, main principles and procedures of civil-military cooperation in the framework of NATO strategic concept and Euro-Atlantic partnership. During the seminar, the issues in the field of protection of the population from the end of chemical, biological and radiological elements utilization were discussed.
On August 16, 2003, after completion of the regular session of the People's Council of Turkmenistan, there were tactical-demonstrative field exercises conducted, named "Peaceful Motherland". Representatives of diplomatic corps, guests from the Ministries of Defense of different countries were invited to these exercises. Among the guests, there were also representatives from NATO, who gave high evaluation and emphasized, that the scale of the conducted military exercises indicated great preparation work, which confirmed high organizational potential and level of preparedness of the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan in prevention of possible terroristic acts and military aggression against Turkmenistan. During this visit, there were discussed the perspectives of cooperation between Turkmenistan and NATO in the framework of "Partnership for Peace Program", in which Turkmenistan, one of the first Central Asian countries, officially registered its participation by signing the framework agreement on May 10, 1994.
It should be noted, that presently the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan in cooperation with representatives of NATO are preparing Individual Partnership Program of Turkmenistan for 2004-2005 in the framework of "Partnership for Peace Program", which will be approved by the parties as soon as possible.
In conclusion I want to stress, that Turkmenistan is decidedly intending to broaden and deepen its participation in the "Partnership for Peace Program" and other NATO Initiatives, aimed at ensuring stability and security. Our common goal is based on the timely usage of the opportunities offered for deepening of our mutual cooperation by preparing and creating new mechanisms of consultations, elaborating joint solutions and coordinated actions.
Thank you for your attention.