High level officials including the Deputy UN Secretary-General, Executive Secretary for the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Sven Alkalaj, the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, the OSCE Chairman and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara, and Turkey’s Minister of Development Cevdet Yilmaz, attended the energy security conference and reaffirmed their interest in enhancing multilateral partnerships with Turkmenistan at a meeting with President Berdimuhamedov.
Speaking at the conference opening, President Berdimuhamedov said “we are currently working with the relevant agencies of the European Union on the development of an institutional and legal framework required for the practical implementation of the project to supply natural gas from Turkmenistan to Europe.” He further noted that the OSCE membership and active participation in its activities have been and remain one of the priorities of Turkmenistan’s foreign policy. The president also called for intensification of talks on the supply of gas to Europe in the future and avoiding any politization of issues related to supply of energy resources. Within the framework of energy security, the "creation of new international routes of energy supplies at regional and continental levels acquires special urgency today," said Berdimuhamedov.
The Deputy Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov, laid out Turkmenistan’s position on energy security and sustainable development and stressed the importance of establishing an effective mechanism of cooperation on energy issues among the OSCE participating states and the Partners for Cooperation. Particularly, Meredov noted that the OSCE will be underperforming its potential unless it starts raising the importance of the energy security and the impact of energy-related activity on the environment.
Meredov stated that Turkmenistan’s proposal on energy security and stable transit of energy resources is rooted in three major principles, proposed during the 68th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2013. The first principle includes the adoption of a multilateral UN document forming the legal basis for relations emerging in the sphere of international supplies of energy resources. The second principle calls for the creation of a UN agency that will enforce the implementation of the provisions of this document. Third, the proposal also recommends establishing a database designed for the collection and analysis of data on the implementation of international obligations assumed by the state members.
The participants of the conference also highlighted a need for legally binding agreements that would help protect the transportation infrastructure of energy resources within the framework of energy security. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-office said developing energy security and sustainability is essential for stability and economic development in the region. Also, numerous meetings were held alongside the conference including the four-side meeting of the delegates of Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan’s initiative to host the OSCE energy security and sustainable development conference also draws upon the outcome of the previous energy security conference held in Ashgabat on April 23, 2009, and also a UN resolution on Reliable and Stable Transit of Energy and its Role in Ensuring Sustainable Development and International Cooperation from May 17, 2013. As per this resolution, the UN welcomes the proposal of Turkmenistan's government to host an international meeting of energy experts early in 2014. Concluding the high-level two-day conference, a joint statement was released stressing the importance of providing an international legal framework for stable transit of energy resources and recognizing the need to arrange a meeting of international experts in early 2014 in Ashgabat. It was also noted that this energy security conference served as a good prelude to the upcoming December 5-6 meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OSCE in Kiev, Ukraine.
Seeking international support for protecting the interests of countries exporting, transiting and importing energy resources serves Turkmenistan’s plans to diversify its gas supply routes. Currently Turkmenistan exports gas to China, Russia and Iran and is in the process of forming a consortium to lead the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.