Nedzhmi Ali on the Conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Turkmenistan

N. Ali AFET 1

This statement was presented during the meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) on 6.12.2018 in Brussels. Nedzhmi Ali MEP was shadow from ALDE Group on this file.

Dear Mr. Chair, Ms Manescu (rapporteur), colleagues,

I would like to congratulate the rapporteur for the presented interim report that describes in a balanced way the history of relations between EU and Turkmenistan, as well as the latest development. We appreciate the approach in the report envisioning establishing a set of short-term benchmarks to measure the sustainable progress by the government and the long-term recommendations for sustainable and credible progress.

We may add some explanations in several areas:

Firstly, concerning the Human Rights there are positive steps such as the adoption of a comprehensive National Action Plan on Human Rights in 2016 and the nomination of the first Ombudsman, in accordance with the provisions of the revised Constitution. At the same time, there is still existing major gap between the legislative framework adopted by Turkmenistan and its effective implementation.

Secondly, Democracy. It is important to have a clear division between the executive, legislative and judiciary branches, including a consultation with international experts on the compliance of the Constitution of Turkmenistan with these democratic principles. In addition, we should underline the importance of respect for the principles of a pluralistic democracy.

Thirdly, the issue of a general lack of Transparency that still remains a problem in Turkmenistan. We should not underestimate the importance of showing openness to international scrutiny, international organizations and independent monitors. In this regard we should note the positive developments such as visits in 2017 of foreign diplomats to penitentiary facilities and the readiness of Turkmenistan to facilitate other such visits.

Fourthly, concerning the Turkmenistan’s contribution to the regional stability. Turkmenistan’s status of permanent neutrality has contributed to its role in promoting regional stability and in tackling common threats such as terrorism, violent extremism, illicit drug trafficking, and transnational organized crime. A decade long active presence of the UN Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Ashgabat is a result of this policy of promoting regional dialogue and conflict prevention.

And finally, it is very important the European Parliament to be properly informed about the implementation of the human rights and democratization provisions of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

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