Remarks by H.E. Mr. Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia, to the Diplomatic Corps on the occasion of the presentation of New Year’s Greetings

Your Excellency Ambassador Samoylenko Viktor Vasilyevich,
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Excellencies and Chargés d'Affaires,
Representatives of international organizations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome here today for our traditional meeting as we bade farewell to 2012 and begin a New Year. 2012 year was a year of historic pride for the Mongolians. Last year, we celebrated the 850th Birth Anniversary of Great Emperor Chinggis Khaan.

2012 was a year of new choice for the Mongolians. A new parliament was sworn in, as the Mongolian people exercised their right to freely elect and be elected for the 6th time. These were historic elections that introduced the first-ever external voting for our nationals residing abroad.

Following the elections, a Government for New Change (or Reform Government) was formed. It redefined the country’s socio-economic policy and priorities. Wide-ranging reform and development efforts have started. The Government for New Change maintains Mongolia’s foreign policy continuity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Due to the global economic slowdown, Mongolia’s economy grew by 12,3 per cent in 2012 compared to over 17 per cent in 2011. However, it is still double-digit growth. Maintaining this growth rate would be a big challenge but nevertheless attainable because we paved the way for major development work. In order to fund the development efforts, Mongolia sold 1.5 billion USD in its first-ever government bond offering at the end of last year. All of the Mongolians advanced one step further on their development path, when Oyu Tolgoi mine started ore-processing in late 2012.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In 2012, we made strides in each priority area of our foreign policy and increased our foreign economic relations. Mongolia’s international standing has risen becoming more solid.

Mongolia established diplomatic relations with 15 countries in 2012, making the total number of UN Member States with whom we have diplomatic relations to 164. The P5 signed a joint declaration reaffirming Mongolia’s nuclear-weapon-free status. Mongolia became a full-fledged participating State of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe. We acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. We are grateful for all your support in achieving these goals that helped reinforce our security.

Mongolia has made great strides in chairing the Community of Democracies (CoD), the global coalition of nearly 130 countries. In 2012, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the first-ever resolution on Education for Democracy, submitted by Mongolia. Under its CoD Presidency Mongolia held an International Forum on Women Leadership in Ulaanbaatar last year.

Over the past two years, some parts of the world have undergone intense democratic processes and historic transformations. However, the transition countries are still confronted with serious challenges. Having been caught up in the same situation over 20 years ago, Mongolia is sharing its experience in democracy and market economy with transition countries and is preparing to launch an “International Cooperation Fund” to that end. Mongolia’s support is not about teaching other countries. It is just about sharing experience and lessons learnt. This was the purpose of my visit to the Kyrgyz Republic last year. Mongolia also organized a special training for young Afghani diplomats in cooperation with the OSCE in 2012.

Over the last year, I paid bilateral visits to Germany, the Kyrgyz Republic, Norway and Sweden, and attended the 67th UN General Assembly, as well as the summits of the Non-Aligned Movement, Asia-Europe Meeting and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament attended the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Uganda. Mongolia’s Prime Minister paid a bilateral visit to Japan and attended the prime ministerial meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

I was delighted to welcome the President of Indonesia, the President of the National Assembly of the Lao PDR, Chairman of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK and the State Councilor of China on a bilateral visit in 2012. These visits played an important role in strengthening our bilateral relations and cooperation.

2013 is going to be an eventful year for Mongolia. We will have Presidential elections. In terms of foreign relations, our goals are clear. Reinforcing our cooperation with our two neighbours and “third neighbours”, including the UN and other international organizations, will remain our top priority. We will also do our utmost to protect the Mongolians residing abroad, which is another foreign policy priority of ours, at a new quality level. There is also a major goal of successfully organizing the 7th Ministerial Conference of the CoD on 29 April this year.

I am grateful to all of you for your continued friendly cooperation. I wish you the best of success in your New Year’s endeavours.

I am confident that with your kind support we will succeed in further developing our foreign relations this year.

I want to wish everyone a happy New Year!