Turkmenistan is hosting the International Conference “Rational use of water resources - key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”
On November 5-6, 2019, the International Conference “Rational use of water resources – key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” was held in the hotel “Yildiz” of Ashgabat which gathered more than 60 experts from 10 countries of the world. The representatives of nine international and regional organizations which are implementing the projects in the field of water resources management took part in the work of the conference.
The State Committee for Water Management of Turkmenistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan initiated the hosting of the given Conference. The Global Water Partnership provided assistance and practical support in the arrangement of this international meeting.
The participants of the Conference reported on the attainments and achievements of their respective countries, shared experience gathered and determined the most pertinent vectors of expanding and deepening regional cooperation in the scope of reaching the Sustainable Development Goal 6 - ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. A number of reports of the Conference were dedicated to the measures realized by the countries of the region on reaching the target 6.5 which aims to implement the integrated water resources management at all levels by 2030, including the trans- boundary cooperation whenever applicable.
The discussions on the role of the water partnership at the national and regional levels in assessing the progress of resolving this issue took place. In the result of the discussions held, the participants formulated the ideas on strengthening regional cooperation, as well as enriched their understanding of the role and opportunities of each party engaged in the process of implementing the principles of integrated water resources management.
Upon completion of the main programme of the Conference, the participants visited the objects equipped with water saving technologies. The hosting country also prepared a cultural programme for the esteemed guests, during which they found an opportunity to visit the Turkmen “Alabay” dog breed nursery-garden in Ak-Bugday region where they witnessed how carefully and passionately the Turkmen people preserve their traditions and national cultural heritage.
Digital Turkmenistan extends its presence in the world informational space
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov targets ministries and departments of the country to study of the best world practice and modern advance practice. Following this analysis and according to objectives determined by national programmes of development, fundamental line of modernization and branches and spheres of live activity of the state are built. Digitization and use of informational and communication technologies are the main conditions in this case.
Responding to this targeted objectives, the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan also carries out relative work activating electronic format of its activity and expanding its presence in global information field.
Several innovations have been launched on web resources of the Foreign Ministry on August 1, which are to popularize achievements of Turkmenistan, success of the state policy pursued by the Leader of the Nation, to highlight international life of the country.
In particular, electronic library of books of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has been opened on official website dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the status of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan www.neutrality.gov.tm.
This collection of works of the Head of the State will enrich knowledge of interested reader, will be an important help for representatives of scientific circles, social and political scientists. In his works, Turkmen leader has reflected the uniqueness of national culture, variety and wisdom of traditions, everlasting importance of the heritage, revealed numerous pages of glorious history of the nation as well as modern strategies and results of reforms in politics, economy, humanitarian cooperation.
All of these is available now to huge world online auditorium – in addition to Turkmen language, electronic library gas translations of the books of the Head of Turkmenistan almost on 20 languages, first, to working languages of the United Nations Organization. The books on the website are presented in 3D format while the reading is accompanied with audio and visual effects, for example, there is an option of turning the pages with typical rustling.
The same website has introduced new section – online exhibition, which is also dedicated to the 25th anniversary of neutrality of Turkmenistan. This virtual exhibition presents almost of industries of the country, their main departments and organizations, various national production including export oriented production.
In addition to sections dedicated to industry, oil and gas, transport and communications, trade, education, science, health protection and sports, agriculture, culture, each velayats of the country and the capital Ashgabat have their own electronic displays.
In general, 15 thematic sections speak about life of independent neutral Turkmenistan, visually demonstrate the results of grandiose changes carried out by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Substantial content, numerous photos and video materials will help visitors of online exhibition to have a bright impression about our country, its colossal economic potential.
In addition, the Foreign Ministry of Turkmenistan has started publishing International News newspaper in electronic format, which first release has been published on the website of the Foreign Ministry.
Taking into account active development of diplomatic activity through video conference and intendent communications, such newspaper will be an important analytical tools in modern media space, will allow saving time and resources for review of foreign political events and trends in life of Turkmenistan.
Digital messenger of the Foreign Ministry will be released once a week and distributed on internet channels including addressed newsletter to the embassies and consulates of Turkmenistan to foreign countries, foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Turkmenistan as well as to international news agencies based on agreements of cooperation, etc.
Therefore, another step has been made in formation of substantial and truthful picture of Turkmenistan as a country open for cooperation with all interested partners of the country, its integration to global system of communications, exchange of actual knowledge and practice of the state construction, promotion of constructive international initiatives of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in the world arena.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Telephone conversation between President of Turkmenistan and King of Saudi Arabia
President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a telephone conversation with King of Saudi Arabia and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The President of Turkmenistan expressed regret and deep concern about the illness of the King of Saudi Arabia and his hospitalization.
“I am sure that due to your vital energy and inflexible will, you will soon recover,” the Turkmen leader noted.
“I pray the Almighty to send Your Majesty the strength for a speedy recovery and success in tireless work for the happiness and well-being of the brotherly people of Saudi Arabia”, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov says in his address.
Continuing the conversation, the President of Turkmenistan and the King of Saudi Arabia congratulated each other on Eid al-Adha, which symbolizes humanism and charity. Noting that this holiday inspires for achievement of new creative goals, unites peoples, the parties expressed confidence in strengthening mutual understanding and solidarity throughout the Muslim world.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov underlined the importance of the dialogue with Saudi Arabia, expressing satisfaction with the high level of the Turkmen-Saudi relations based on a mutual interest to intensify interaction. In this context, the President of Turkmenistan expressed gratitude to King Salman ibn Abdul-Aziz Al Saud for his personal contribution to strengthening cooperation.
Discussing the global agenda, the President of Turkmenistan and the King of Saudi Arabia underlined the importance to develop a coordinated approach to address the crucial problems of our time, one of which is the coronavirus pandemic, which had a negative impact on international economic relations.
In this regard, the Turkmen leader expressed belief that the consolidation of the efforts of all states and the development of new methods for preventing and combating COVID-19 would contribute to achieving the desired results.
Reaffirming the commitment of the two countries to strengthening interstate cooperation, the leaders of the two states expressed confidence in the successful development of dialogue across the entire spectrum of areas.
In conclusion, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and King of Saudi Arabia Salman ibn Abdul-Aziz Al Saud once again exchanged good wishes on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, wishing peace and prosperity to the peoples of the two countries.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Turkmen leader and the Vice-premier of UAE discuss important aspects of international cooperation in telephone conversation
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a telephone conversation with Vice-premier of the United Arab Emirates, Ruler of Dubai Muhammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum.
Having warmly greeted the Emir of Dubai, the President of Turkmenistan congratulated him and fraternal people of UAE with coming big holiday of Islamic world – Eid AL Adha.
Turkmen leader expressed confidence that this holly holiday, which embodies high morale, spiritual purity and humanity, would continue supporting the strengthening of solidary of Muslim ummah.
Having expressed gratitude for congratulations and good words, Prime Minister of UAE Muhammed Bin Rashid AL Makhtoum addressed return best wishes to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and to all Turkmen people.
During telephone conversation, the sides have discussed important aspects of interstate cooperation. It was noted that strengthening of diplomatic, economic and humanitarian relations between two countries meet political demands and interests of both states. The Head of Turkmenistan highlighted that all efforts would be put in order the partnership with UAE to be long, trustful and efficient.
Taking opportunity, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to His Highness for special attention and personal participation in strengthening of fraternal relations between the state and expansion of beneficial cooperation in all range of actual directions.
Global problem, which is presented by coronavirus pandemic these days, which caused crisis in international trade, disturbance of production activity and foreign economic relations, has been highlighted.
Having noted that it is necessary to consolidate efforts of all countries for efficient combating of the pandemic, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov confirmed that Turkmenistan is open for active cooperation with the world community in development of new methods of combating of this evil.
In the end, the sides exchanged congratulations on Eid Al Adha and cordial wishes, having addressed wishes of pace, wealth and further prosperity to the nations of two states.
International Scholars Raise Concerns over “an Attempt to Destroy a New Religious Movement” in South Korea
On July 20, a webinar on a new religious movement in South Korea and its political, religious, and social dimensions with the recent COVID-19 crisis invited international scholars and experts in the field of religion, international law, and human rights.
Titled “COVID-19 and Religious Freedom: Scapegoating Shincheonji in South Korea”, the webinar addressed the recent issues of aggressive attack from politically powerful conservative and fundamentalist Protestant churches in the country on a newly-established, fast-growing Christian denomination named 'Shincheonji (New Heaven and New Earth) Church of Jesus' founded in 1984.
The new Christian movement by Shincheonji has become a target of “persecution from fundamentalist protestants” because of its successful religious expansion “from the conservative and fundamentalist protestants who see Shincheonji as competitors and want to destroy it," said Massimo Introvigne as an Italian sociologist of religion who studied Shincheonji before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and published the first account of the religious group in English.
Alessandro Amicarelli, Chairman European Federation for Freedom of Belief, pointed out that the South Korean authorities problematized Shincheonji as a cause of the COVID-19 crisis to shut down the church. “Already 30 other people were tested positive before the patient 31 (a member of Shincheonji criticized for the widespread of the virus). Many Chinese including ones from Wuhan had visited Daegu (of South Korea) and infection spread,” he said.
Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), said that the recent attack on Shincheonji can be viewed as an attempt by the fundamentalist Protestant groups in South Korea to weaken and destroy the competitor in the religious market. He added, "Human rights violations against Shincheonji members through coercive conversion program (also known as 'deprogramming') with kidnapping and confinement for the last decade have been made as a result of the failure of competition from the Protestant churches in the country."
Ciaran Burke, Associate Professor in University of Derby, said that the South Korean health authorities explicitly link Shinchoenji and outbreak of the COVID-19 until now even though a greater link between the virus and confirmation cases has been found in other churches. He also expressed concerns over “collecting personal information of 300,000 domestic and international Shincheonji members by the government which is a possible violation of international agreement, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) South Korea ratified in 1990.”
The prosecution initiated investigation of Shincheonji leaders including founder Man Hee Lee for his alleged role in the widespread of the COVID-19. Three Shincheonji officials were arrested on July 8 on a charge of playing a role in major outbreak at its early stage by “(submitting) inaccurate list of members.”
“The authorities ignored requests to change the word ‘sect’ in their official reports when referring to Shincheonji church. Local governments encouraged the residents to report Shincheonji congregation and facilities to the authorities, creating stigma that the members were to be treated as criminals,” said a Shincheonji official in the webinar.
A recent statement issued by “families of the deceased and victims of COVID-19” wrote that "the thousands of the damage and deaths of Koreans reflect the failure of initial response to contain the virus by the government." It added that the Minister of Justice Choo Mi-ae “allowed COVID-19 patients from China to enter Korea, leading to a widespread outbreak of the virus across the country, which resulted in the deaths of the Korean people.” It also stated that she is trying to avoid her responsibility for the damage by “giving direct orders to prosecutors for a raid and arrests against Shincheonji Church”.
A leading South Korean TV network, MBC reported that a recently conducted screening at Daegu, epicenter of COVID-19 major outbreak within South Korea added the weight to the failure of initial response to contain the virus by the government. The report, citing analysis from a local university hospital, inferred that at least 180,000 of the total population of 2.4 million people in the city of Daegu were infected with the COVID-19, 27 times to the official 6,800 confirmed cases. Most of the confirmation cases, over 5,000, are members of Shincheonji Church as their personal information was collected by the government, while the remaining 180,000 potential infections have not been investigated.
Press Release of the Department of Public Relations
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, and the Restoration of Light
TURKMENISTAN HAS BEEN GRANTED THE OBSERVER STATUS IN THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
On July 22, 2020, the successive session of World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council was held in WTO headquarters located in Geneva of the Swiss Confederation, during which the application of Turkmenistan on accession to WTO as an observer was considered.
The Turkmen side was represented at the session by the Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the United Nations at Geneva, as well as the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, Ministry of Finance and Economy of Turkmenistan who took part via videoconference.
In honor of assessing the request of Turkmenistan for accession to WTO in the status of an observer, a special ceremony was organized during which the Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan delivered a speech on behalf of the Government of Turkmenistan. During the address, he informed the participants of the General Council about the background of the accession process to the Organization, in particular about the pioneering policy of implementing the external economic activity of Turkmenistan. It was stated that the Programme on Foreign Economic Activity of Turkmenistan for 2020-2025 is a vital document in this regard.
The gaining of this status by the country is intended to contribute to the dynamic development of the national economy of Turkmenistan, strengthen its standing in regard to foreign trade, carry multilateral cooperation, attract foreign investments and improve international trade ties. This also concerns the development of commercial and trade strategies including their successful implementation.
Following the address of the Turkmen side, a number of representatives of the Organization’s member-states, including Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Panama, Paraguay, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay expressed support to the initiative of Turkmenistan on the accession to the Organization as an observer.
After the discussions, the member-states of WTO General Council unanimously adopted the resolution on granting Turkmenistan the status of an observer in WTO.
Currently there are 164 WTO member-states. Twenty four countries possess the status of an observer. Turkmenistan became the 25th country with a status of an observer.