DUSHANBE, December 11, Asia-Plus  -- On Monday December 10, President Emomali Rahmon who is visiting Turkmenistan, joined Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe, OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, and official representatives from a number of neighboring states in an official opening of the United Nations’ Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia in Ashgabat.    

Turkmen media reported that speaking at an inaugurating ceremony, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov had named that event a starting point of a new political calendar of Central Asia.      

Addressing the inaugurating ceremony, President Rahmon highly appraised participation of Turkmenistan in settlement of the inter-Tajik conflict and noted that Turkmenistan had made significant contribution to reestablishment of peace and national accord in Tajikistan.   

Mr. Pascoe delivered an inaugural message on behalf of UN chief Ban Ki-moon at the ceremony and said that the opening of the center had opened a new chapter in history of partnership of the United Nations and the countries of the region.   

The United Nations'' Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) aims to assist regional governments in working together to tackle common challenges such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and environmental degradation.

UNRCCA, a joint initiative by the world body and all five central Asian countries -- Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

The center is to work closely with the existing UN programs and agencies in the area, as well as with regional organizations such the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security bloc.

UNRCCA, which is to be headed by a senior representative of the UN secretary general, will have an initial budget of 2.3 million dollars (1.6 million euros) and a small international staff, the statement said.

The center’s activity was also one of major topics of a two-day conference on international cooperation in preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution that opened in Ashgabat the same day.    

The meeting was attended by President Rahmon, Turkmen President Berdymukhammedov and foreign ministers of all five Central Asian states.   

Addressing the conference, the Tajik head of state noted that Tajikistan was ready for close constructive cooperation with the U center.    

Yesterday afternoon, President also visited the Turkmenbashi seaport, the Avaza national tourist zone.  President Rahmon is expected to return to Dushanbe today after visiting a cluster of oil refineries in Turkmenbashi.