President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Statement at the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V)

26.03.2012 10:00, Dushanbe city

Excellency Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,
Excellency Mahmud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Excellency Asif Ali Zardari, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,

Distinguished participants of the Conference,
Honourable guests,
Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me first of all to warmly welcome you all at the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan.
It is an enormous pleasure to once again extend my heartfelt felicitations to you on the occasion of the International Navruz Day and wish you good health, happiness and every success.

Our today meeting under the title “A result-oriented Partnership for Promoting Regional Integration, Stability and Prosperity (Integration, Stability and Prosperity”, relies on the outcomes and the goals set at the previous conferences on Afghanistan and it opens up a new page in the history of international community’s efforts aimed at re-establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

We are confident, that your statements and remarks at the Conference will bring clarifications to ways and means of coping with the challenges in Afghanistan as well as promote our aspirations toward creating conditions for the establishment of a staunch basis of its sustainable development.
A great number of international and regional forums have been held at different levels over the past years which were focused on seeking ways of addressing challenges in Afghanistan. A large number of constructive proposals and suggestions have also been made and decisive documents were adopted on the sidelines of those events. Unfortunately, we have gaps in implementing all those agreements reached earlier and therefore there is a strong need today for creating improved mechanism for the fulfillment of those commitments.

We therefore believe that along with determining ways and means of economic cooperation on Afghanistan, practical steps will be also taken at the Conference for the implementation of the outcomes.

Tajikistan has always been expressing its interest in establishing genuine peace and stability in Afghanistan and commitment to rehabilitating diverse aspects of life in this country. We have always been frank and reliable advocate of strong and lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in friendly and brotherly country with whom we share common language and culture. We do strongly believe that peace in Central Asia is inseparably associated with the situation in Afghanistan.

Today, we are increasingly confident that it is indisputable more opportunities will come out to manage economic issues following the strengthening of the role of the Afghan government and gradual transfer of security responsibility to government forces.

Tajikistan in this connection strongly supports an implementation of the Comprehensive International Strategy for Security and Post-conflict Restoration of Afghanistan and believes the international community should make increased contribution to socio-economic aspects of this country.

International allies and the Afghan Government have agreed during previous conferences and forums on capacity building for security agencies, regional cooperation and improving initiatives aimed at achieving peace and stability. However, there is still a need for better coordination of the arrangements and engagement of international community in an implementation of specified projects and progress in Afghanistan.

We do also believe that such approach could mobilize constructive potential of the Afghan people as well as promote their gradual involvement in overall management in Afghanistan.

In this context, it is a very time for the international community to support this process which ultimately could contribute to implication of different segments of the Afghan society in the peaceful coexistence.

I wish to particularly emphasize that the Afghan people and the Government as its legitimate representative play a pivotal role in addressing challenges in Afghanistan. In this respect, Tajikistan advocates initiatives and commitments made by the legitimate Government of Afghanistan aimed at achieving reconciliation and establishing lasting peace and stability in the country. There is no doubt that at the current stage the international community should play more vigorous role to help the situation.

Distinguished participants of the Conference,

Phased transfer of security responsibility to Afghan authorities needs well-trained forces to counter terrorism, extremism and organized crime. Along with technical assistance, there is a need for the Afghan law enforcement agencies and military authorities in human resources capacity building as well.
Tajikistan is ready to further extent the scales of training programs which are currently provided within its training centers for the Afghan border-guards, military forces and law enforcement agencies.

However, today it is clear that peaceful life cannot be secured in the country by only military means. Development and implementation of comprehensive large-scale commitments and programs aimed at eliminating socio-economic roots of terrorism, extremism and other crimes are needed to establish peace and stability in the long run.

I believe realization of a joint Counter Narcotics Program could be a priority task for international allies to achieve this supreme goal. An increased focus should be made on the most active and improved involvement of the Afghan farmers while implementing the program.

In this circumstance, replacement of not only narcotic crops by other agriculture, but vehement prevention of import or smuggling of precursors to Afghanistan would have decisive importance.

Tajikistan, on its own part, could make a comprehensive contribution to the rehabilitation of irrigation system in Afghanistan and facilitate irrigation of arable lands in this country effectively. Establishment of a series of hydro-power plants and water reservoirs in Tajikistan and Afghanistan as the sources of water and discounted energy would be the most important factor in a reclamation of unused (uncultivated) pieces of land in Afghanistan and the revival of agricultural sector.

Rational use of agricultural potential of Afghanistan with the view of promoting agricultural and food suply for domestic needs and the export of commodities to markets of the region, in the long run will encourage a rebirth of this sector and a partially resolves the unemployment in the country.

Restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan in the current state very passionately (particularly) needs development of human resources. In this connection, efforts towards establishment of regional cooperation with the aim of providing different sectors of the Afghan national economy with qualified and desired experts should be recognized by our international allies as one of the key guidelines of their engagement.

We urge the international community to widely use existing facilities and opportunities of Tajikistan to meet these ends. As far as this point is concerned, Tajikistan in this direction has already established cooperation in training military and security personnel and border-guard troops of Afghanistan. Experience learnt in this field proves, that cultural and linguistic affinities which our people share facilitate the effectiveness of this process.

In this regard, we call on our international partners to render their most active and impactful assistance to Afghanistan for the purpose of strengthening this experience and using the opportunities of our country and all other Central Asian states in building human resources and training personnel for other sectors of the national economy.

Establishment of Multi-disciplinary vocational training center in Tajikistan under the international patronage can be a real step forward in this direction.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, dear participants,
Expansion of Afghanistan’s involvement to the regional integration process via increasing trade-economic links with neighboring countries is of the core elements of sustainable socio-economic development of this next-door neighbor nation. Tajikistan, refers to the necessity use of most of all economic potential and domestic natural resources of Afghanistan with aim to addressing multiple challenges which the country faces.

We feel convinced, that the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan will make its valuable contribution to our collective endeavors through the expression of pledges and concrete commitments.

At present, countries of the region should give a particular importance to integration initiatives, as well as to revival of historic trade routes and intensification of trade links. Materialization (an exercise) of these commitments will bring new favorable opportunities in peaceful resolution of Afghan conflict and cementing collaboration and regional solidarity.

Tajikistan – Afghanistan rail road with connection to Turkmenistan – Afghanistan railway branch lines and other parts of this route is already been studied by international experts. In future, this route will be interconnected with Kyrgyzstan and China and as regional transit artery would bring significant incomes every year to the Afghan budget at the expense of increase of trade turnovers among countries.

CASA – 1000 project could considerably eliminate power shortcomings in Afghanistan and Pakistan for account of energy transfer from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Along with this, construction of gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through the territory of Afghanistan and further connection of Tajikistan to this project can meet the natural gas needs of countries in the region which in the long run would undoubtedly be in the favor of the Afghan nation.

At the same time, we should take into account that implementation of these large-scale projects will encourage an exercise of dozens of other economic and commercial commitments by creating thousands of jobs not only in Afghanistan, but throughout the region.

In this context, we explicitly extent our full support of these and other projects aimed at expansion of transport and communication network through building railroads and highways via Afghanistan’s territory, including setting of power transmission lines, oil and gas pipelines.

We do strongly believe, that these initiatives in general correspond to integration processes and our collective coherent objective which consists in building lasting peace, reconciliation and progress in Afghanistan and the region at large.

Distinguished gathering,

We today have submitted to you a minor part of our opportunities which are critical for restoration of peaceful life in Afghanistan and its further development by exercising mechanisms promoting regional cooperation. Specifications and description of Tajikistan’s view in regard to this agenda and parallel items will be submitted by our delegation to your kind consideration during the Conference.

As it was mentioned earlier, today’s conference is a beginning of a new chapter in a noble commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan. Since, international community, individual countries and institutions concerned should duly respond to evolvements which happen during the last several years in the process of peace and stability and foster relations which would meet new realities in Afghanistan. A substance of these relations places a greater responsibility on all of us to securing bright future of Afghanistan and the region.

Only an exercise of such comprehensive and encompassing relations allows to ensure viable, sustainable development in Afghanistan and overall stability and security in the region.

We are hopeful, that the results of the Conference will make an invaluable (strong) contribution to address the challenges Afghanistan and the region are facing and promote lasting peace and strengthened stability, economic rehabilitation and the restoration of all aspects of life in this friend and brotherly country.

In conclusion, I wish the Conference and all those involved every success and very pleasant say in Dushanbe.

Thank you for your attention.

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