DAILY NEWS HERALD #59 Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan March 27, 2018

posted 1 Apr 2018, 12:16 by Webmaster Ambasciata

President.. 1

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan  1

Meeting with the US Under Secretary of State. 1

An international conference on Afghanistan “The Peace Process, Interaction towards Security, and Regional Cooperation”. 1

Address by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the international conference on Afghanistan «Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity». 1

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ Video Message to Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan  7

Declaration of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: Peace Process, Security Cooperation & Regional Connectivity. 7

 

president

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan met with the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

On March 26, 2018, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at Kuk-Saroy residence, received the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who arrived in Uzbekistan on a working visit to participate in International Conference on Afghanistan “Peace process, security cooperation and regional collaboration”.

During the meeting, issues of further development of bilateral good-neighborly relations, as well as expansion of mutually beneficial practical cooperation, including implementation of projects in the sphere of trade, transport and energy, programs in the fields of education, healthcare and other areas were considered. Views were exchanged on current issues of the regional and international agenda.

President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani expressed sincere gratitude to the President of Uzbekistan for the efforts on practical implementation of the joint Uzbekistan – Afghanistan initiative on conduction of an international forum on Afghanistan in Tashkent, as well as emphasized readiness for deepening cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

(Source: UzA)

Meeting with the US Under Secretary of State

On March 26, 2018, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov met with the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States Thomas Shannon, who arrived in Tashkent to participate in the international conference on Afghanistan "Peace process, security cooperation and regional collaboration".

The sides discussed the state and prospects for the development of Uzbekistan-American cooperation in various fields, as well as international and regional issues in the context of the agenda of the high-level Tashkent Forum that opens on March 27.

The U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Pamela Leora Spratlen took part at the meeting.

(Source: UzA)

An international conference on Afghanistan “The Peace Process, Interaction towards Security, and Regional Cooperation”

Address by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the international conference on Afghanistan «Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity»

Your Excellency President Mr. Ashraf Ghani!

Dear Ms. Federica Mogherini!

Distinguished foreign ministers,

heads of delegations!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Allow me on behalf of the people of Uzbekistan to cordially welcome all participants and guests of the high-level international conference on Afghanistan in the capital city of our country.

I sincerely thank you for your participation in this Forum and I am pleased to see you on the hospitable land of Uzbekistan.

This conference is a joint initiative of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

It is a logical continuation of the efforts to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan made by the international community.

I would like to extend a special gratitude to His Excellency President Mr. Ashraf Ghani for his personal participation in our Forum.

I also express a sincere gratitude to the United Nations Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres, who from the onset has supported our initiative to hold the international conference and sent his welcoming address to its participants.

We highly appreciate the commitment of Mr. Antonio Guterres to advancement of negotiations in the framework of the process of peace settlement in Afghanistan, as well as his efforts in terms of assistance to security and sustainable development in our region.

In January this year the debate on Central Asia and Afghanistan under the presidency of Kazakhstan took place at the United Nations Security Council. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express a sincere gratitude to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev for the initiative to discuss this most important problem.

I am also grateful to all members of the United Nations Security Council for valuable proposals enunciated in the course of discussions. Many of them were taken into account in the draft of the final document of our conference – Tashkent Declaration prepared jointly with the Afghan colleagues.

I am pleased from the bottom of my heart to also welcome:

- High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Ms. Federica Mogherini;

- the heads and representatives of foreign policy institutions of the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, United States of America, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, as well as international and regional organizations.

I would like to underscore that the representatives of all Permanent Member States of the UN Security Council and countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are gathered today in this hall.

Dear participants of the Conference!

These days we are broadly celebrating our traditional holiday of spring and renewal – Navruz. From of old, during this period the wars used to cease, people forgave grievances to one another and used to come to accord even on the most, as it seemed, the insoluble problems.

I am confident that today we will also be able to constructively discuss and elaborate the joint solution on one of the most acute regional and global problems of modernity – the conflict in Afghanistan, which, to a great regret, has already been going on for nearly 40 years.

In essence, «the flame of war» was imposed to the Afghan people from outside. It is not his choice. For over these years hundreds of thousands of peaceful citizens became victims of the confrontation while millions of people had to flee their homes and seek shelter in other countries.

The constant engagement of new forces in the conflict has led to its unprecedented aggravation. This conflict has ceased to be exclusively Afghan one while transforming in greater terms into a complex international problem.

The expansion of presence of international terrorist groups in Afghanistan, ongoing violence and bloodshed, and drug business – all of this speaks about that it is inadmissible to ignore by the international community the situation in this country.

Most importantly, the entire generation grew up in Afghanistan in the conditions of armed confrontation and violence. However, this is not «a lost generation» as some experts cynically refer to.

These are just people who have tired of war, deprivations and hardships, who want and try to put an end to enmity and return to peaceful life and creativity for the good of their country.

I am deeply convinced: the Afghan people have strength, wisdom, courage and perseverance to start a new and peaceful life, and to build it for the sake of prosperity of their children and future generations.

The states and high-profile international organizations, whose representatives are today participating in our Forum, can and must play a decisive role in assisting peaceful settlement of situation in this long-suffering country.

The events in the Middle East and North Africa led to the fact that the situation in Afghanistan was left for some time out of focus of world politics. However, the conflict didn’t lose its tenseness and sharpness.

The following factors have necessitated the proposal to hold the international conference in Uzbekistan and the need to unite efforts aimed at ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

First, our initiative fully corresponds to Uzbekistan’s foreign policy concept, which defines as a main priority consolidation of friendly and mutually advantageous relations with neighboring countries.

Second, for over the span of millennia the people of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan developed in one culture and civilization space.

Since the ancient times, the people have been residing on both banks of Amudarya River. They share similarity of languages, common sacred religion and spiritual values.

Amudarya River has always been a source of life for us, but never a barrier for a free movement of people, development of close trade ties, exchange with scientific achievements and mutual enrichment of cultures.

Such outstanding representatives of the Central Asian Renaissance as Abu Raikhan Beruniy, Lutfiy, Alisher Navoiy, Kamoliddin Bekhzod, Zakhiriddin Muhammad Babur, Boborakhim Mashrab and many others – our great ancestors lived and created in the Afghan land.

Today Uzbekistan and Afghanistan lead close political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian relations. Millions of Uzbeks live in Afghanistan. In line with Afghanistan’s Constitution, Uzbek is one of the official languages.

Third, all of us are firmly convinced that security is indivisible and it can be ensured only through joint efforts. We must not, and speaking more concretely, we do not have a right to perceive some threats as «our own» and yet others as «not ours».

Afghanistan’s security is security of Uzbekistan, linchpin of stability and prosperity of entire greater region of Central and South Asia.

It must not be allowed for the international terrorist organizations to turn Afghanistan into their constant safe heaven.

Fourth, Uzbekistan has the experience of assisting the peaceful process in Afghanistan.

In 1999 on the initiative of Uzbekistan the meeting of the Group «6+2» took place in Tashkent on the level of heads of foreign policy institutions of states neighboring on Afghanistan, as well as Russia and the United States.

The representatives of the Northern Alliance and Taliban movement also participated at that meeting.

On the outcomes of negotiations, the Tashkent declaration on major principles of peaceful settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan was adopted, which became an official document of the 54th Session of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

In this regard, we have all grounds, both political and moral right to speak about our common future with Afghanistan and raise issues which equally bother both our Afghan brothers and us.

It is therefore that Uzbekistan calls upon all countries of the world to support our efforts in this noble cause.

Dear friends!

At present, the multifaceted and not simple issues of settlement of the situation in Afghanistan are broadly discussed on the regional and international levels.

The Kabul process, Moscow format, International Contact Group, Istanbul process – «The heart of Asia», Contact group «SCO-Afghanistan» and other multilateral platforms deserve most serious attention which are established to seek ways of settlement of the military-political crisis in Afghanistan.

Uzbekistan supports decisions adopted by participants of the second meeting in the framework of the Kabul process in favor of launching direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban movement «without preliminary conditions and threats of use of violence».

However, we believe that the main condition of advancement towards peace is, first of all, to draft and implement in practice the sole, both regionally and globally endorsed Comprehensive peace program for Afghanistan.

Proceeding from this, the following must become our major goals and tasks:

First is to draft basic principles of peaceful settlement and secure broad international consensus on them;

Second is to develop a mechanism to start negotiations between the Afghan government and the armed opposition;

Third is to adopt a «Road map» of assistance by the international community to the process of national reconciliation in Afghanistan.

And finally, it will be of invaluable significance the resolute and unanimous appeal of all interested external forces to the armed opposition with a call to come to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and put an end to confrontation and violence.

There is no alternative to this. In our opinion, this is the key message of today’s meeting.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Taking into account the extremely complex and contradictory nature of the conflict in Afghanistan, the involvement of various forces in it, and based on the certain resolutions of the UN Security Council, we believe it is important to ensure promotion of a comprehensive peace process on three interrelated and interdependent levels.

At the intra-Afghan level – it is necessary to ensure start of a direct dialogue, without preliminary conditions, among the central government and main forces of the armed opposition, primarily, the Taliban movement.

The questions that the parties have towards one another may become a subject of the forthcoming negotiation process.

It is obvious that the start of the intra-Afghan political process can no longer be postponed. Its delay will cost the lives of many more innocent people.

In order to ensure success of peace process, it is important that the choice of format, time and venue of peace talks should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

Primarily, the point is about refraining from combat activities and unconditional compliance with ceasefire both by the armed opposition and the Afghan national security forces.

Sharing the common responsibility for a peaceful future of Afghanistan and based on traditionally friendly relations between the Uzbek and Afghan people, we stand ready to create all necessary conditions, at any stage of the peace process, to arrange on the territory of Uzbekistan the direct talks between the government of Afghanistan and Taliban movement.

In case of the opposition’s participation in the peace talks and achievement of national reconciliation, all conditions should be created for its integration into political life of Afghanistan.

The representatives of the armed opposition, including Taliban, as a part of the Afghan society and citizens of Afghanistan, have a voice in defining the future of their country.

Along with this, it is extremely important to start the inter-Afghan dialogue in the period before the parliamentary and presidential elections in the country which will provide for broad opportunities to all layers of society, including the opposition forces, for their full participation in the construction of a new Afghanistan.

At the regional level – it is necessary to ensure a firm consensus, primarily with the support of Pakistan, India, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the countries of Central Asia.

I think we all well understand that addressing a whole range of key issues of economic development, ensuring security and stability in Afghanistan in many respects depends on neighboring states, on our good will and firm determination, readiness to actively promote national reconciliation and ending violence in this country.

The efforts of all neighboring countries and partners should not replace, but complement one another. We need to develop the agreed measures, approaches and practical mechanisms to resolve this problem.

As the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated at the UN Security Council meeting in January this year, the new dynamics of regional interaction «will open up great opportunities to all of us to fulfill common, long overdue and urgent tasks».

We need to start considering Afghanistan as not a country from the territory of which the threat to peace and stability is emanating. Afghanistan is our friendly partner and neighbor.

I am confident that our common efforts to involve Afghanistan into the system of trade, economic, transport-communication and cultural-humanitarian relations with neighboring countries will significantly contribute to normalization of the situation and returning of this country to a peaceful life.

I have no doubt that in the long run peace on the Afghan soil will open up the new opportunities and bring real benefits to all states of the greater Eurasian continent. It will promote strengthening common security and stability, create favorable conditions for the construction of motorways and railroads, laying of pipelines, development of regional and trans-regional trade.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to note that Uzbekistan is contributing a fair share to the socio-economic revival of Afghanistan.

Since 2002 we have been supplying electricity to Afghanistan.

With commissioning of a new power transmission line Surkhan-Puli-Khumri the volume of electricity supply from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan will sharply increase.

We are jointly promoting the implementation of another strategic project – extension of the currently operating Hairaton-Mazar-i-Sharif railway built by Uzbek specialists up to Herat.

This project will allow to make a real and practical contribution to reconstruction of Afghanistan’s economy, create new jobs and increase the transit potential of the country.

Launching the trans-Afghan transport-communication projects in close integration with other and not less significant regional projects such as Uzbekistan–Turkmenistan–Iran–Oman and Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan–China will also create all necessary conditions for the development of intercontinental transport corridors in almost all directions – from north to south and from east to west through the shortest route.

The relationships in the sphere of humanities are actively developing. A Center for training Afghan citizens specially established in our border town of Termez started functioning in January.

At present, about 100 young men and women from Afghanistan are already studying there.

We intend to expand the list of specialties and fields of training of Afghan specialists in this Center.

At the global level – it is necessary to ensure a principle political support by leading world powers and donor organizations to the peace process and ensure financial assistance to Afghanistan’s socio-economic recovery.

Thanks to their assistance, the country has already embarked on a path of peaceful development. Today, Afghanistan is absolutely different country from what it used to be 20 years ago.

The open democratic elections gave a start to the new stage of state building and positive changes are witnessed in the life of ordinary Afghan citizens.

The government has been able to widely cover the population with education and health services.

All of this testifies to the aspiration of the Afghan people to a peaceful life and development.

The important political events – the parliamentary and presidential elections are due in the next two years in Afghanistan which must confirm the consistent progress of the country along the path of stable democratic development.

Dear friends!

Obviously, we all need to realize that we are struggling not just for the future of Afghanistan, but for our common security, for a world without terrorism, fanaticism and violence.

We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. We must remember our shared responsibility.

The task of achieving peace in Afghanistan is closely interlinked with efforts aimed at combating terrorism and extremism, which now have indeed turned into an unprecedented threat to global security and development.

We are deeply convinced that it is very important that all external forces unconditionally support the Afghan government in an effort to eliminate the strongholds of foreign terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, deny financial and logistical support to terrorism without any distinction.

Uzbekistan has always adhered to a principle position in the fight against terrorism, ideology of extremism and radicalism.

These threats must be fought not only by use of force, but firstly through enlightenment, especially among the youth, against ignorance which gives rise to violence.

Last year at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly Uzbekistan proposed to develop and adopt the International Convention on the Rights of the Youth.

Our main goal is to provide universal access for young people to a quality education and create all necessary conditions for their self-realization.

We propose all our foreign partners a close interaction in terms of communicating to people, especially the youth, the humanistic essence of Islam.

To this end, I think it would be expedient to use the potential of the Imam Bukhariy International Research Center, Center of Islamic Civilization and Islamic Academy of Uzbekistan established in Uzbekistan.

As a follow-up initiative, we also propose to establish a special International Fund to Support Education in Afghanistan.

The primary goal is to assist Afghanistan in training its national cadres on the most demanded fields, allocation of scholarships and grants for talented students and young scientists.

We firmly believe that forming the prestige of education in society and promoting strive for self-improvement among youth is a guarantee of sustainable and steady development.

All of this, of course, will contribute to protecting younger generation from the ideology of violence and radicalism.

Dear participants of the forum!

I am confident that conducting this Conference, engaging in constructive dialogue and discussions, and adoption of the final Tashkent Declaration will allow to achieve practical positive results and become a kind of a «Road map» of the peace process in Afghanistan.

In fact, with your support, a document will be adopted which reflects the political will and mutual understanding of all stakeholders on the key issues of Afghan settlement.

The future of Afghanistan must not turn into an example of failure of the international community to counter challenges and threats shared by all of us.

Today, more than ever it is important for all of us to unite and extend the hand of peace, cooperation and support to the long-suffering people of Afghanistan.

I sincerely wish all participants of the Conference a productive work!

Thank you for your attention.

 

 (Source: UzA)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ Video Message to Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan

President Mirziyoyev,

President Ghani,

Excellencies,

I am pleased to greet the Tashkent Conference.

It is good to see Uzbekistan and Afghanistan working hand-in-hand for peace and sustainable development.

You convene at an historic moment.

The newly invigorated peace process is essential for Afghanistan and the region.

You represent countries and organizations united by a shared history and a common vision.

I welcome your commitment to addressing threats such as drug trafficking and terrorism, and your backing for direct talks in an Afghan-led peace process.

The United Nations stands ready to support your efforts to build a secure and prosperous region.

Thankyou.

(Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)

Declaration of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: Peace Process, Security Cooperation & Regional Connectivity

Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan

26-27 March 2018

Preamble

We the participants of the Tashkent Conference:

1) Acknowledge that peace and security in Afghanistan are essential for ensuring stability and prosperity in the region and bringing an end to the many years of violence and suffering of the Afghan people. Therefore, we recognize that a political settlement that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, supported by close regional counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics cooperation, and regional economic cooperation and connectivity are key to the peace and prosperity of Afghanistan and the entire region;

2) Reiterate our support to Resolutions and the decisions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council including on the new partnership formed between Afghanistan and Central Asia following the UN Security Council meeting on Central Asia and Afghanistan held on 19 January 2018 in New York;

3) Respect sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Afghanistan and the efforts of its people and government for bringing peace, stability and development to their country;

4) Recognize the importance of international and regional initiatives to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, in particular the Kabul Process, as a main forum and vehicle under the leadership of the Afghan Government to lead peace efforts to end violence in Afghanistan;

5) Support Central Asian states' efforts toward advancing the peace process and socio-economic development of Afghanistan, and their involvement in regional political and economic processes;

6) Emphasize the importance of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity as a continuation of the international community’s efforts in support of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process;

Peace & Reconciliation

7) Voice our strong backing for the National Unity Government’s offer to launch direct talks with the Taliban, without any preconditions, with the ultimate goal of reaching the comprehensive peace agreement with the Taliban that is backed by the international community; and call upon the Taliban to accept this offer for a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and in accordance with the relevant Resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations;

8) Emphasize that a political settlement with the Taliban is the best way to end violence in Afghanistan, and there is need for direct peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and reconcilable elements of the Taliban without any preconditions;

9) Reiterate our support to the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan to begin direct talks with the Taliban and acknowledge the Kabul Process as a main forum and vehicle along with other regional and international peace initiatives on Afghanistan;

10) Call on the Taliban to recognize their share of responsibility for bringing peace and security to Afghanistan in order to end the suffering of the Afghan people and officially declare their willingness for entering into direct peace talks with the Government of Afghanistan with full support from the international community through a mutually agreed format;

11) Urge the Afghan Government and the Taliban to move towards a political settlement. An inclusive peace agreement will be a victory for all its parties and a defeat for none. It should guarantee the inclusion of the Taliban in the political process as a legitimate political actor, the renunciation by the Taliban of violence and breaking of all ties to international terrorism, including Al-Qaeda, ISIS/Daesh and other Transnational Terrorist Networks (TTNs), as well as the respect of the Afghan Constitution including the equal rights of all Afghans;

12) Stress the importance of women’s full and meaningful participation in Afghan reconciliation, security and economy, pledge continued support for international efforts aimed at Afghan women’s empowerment, and remain fully committed to support the implementation of the Afghanistan’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security;

13) Support the Government of Afghanistan in creating favourable conditions for the start and progress of the peace talks through provision of effective incentives and oppose with necessary measures those who prove themselves irreconcilable to peace, continue to commit violence, bloodshed and atrocities and provide assistance to TTNs;

14) Call on all countries to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and non-interference in its internal affairs in order to achieve its security, stability and prosperity;

15) Pledge our support for a peaceful Afghanistan from where terrorism will not be able to threaten other countries and which can fully rely on its own forces in creating security on its territory;

Counter-Terrorism & Counter-Narcotics

16) Condemn the recent heinous attacks against the people of Afghanistan and express our strong solidarity, denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations without any distinction and acknowledge the serious and common threats emanating from the nexus between trans-national terrorism, narcotics and organized crime to the security and stability of Afghanistan, the region and the international community at large;

17) Emphasize the importance of practical regional and international cooperation for the elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in accordance with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant UNSC resolutions;

18) Stress the importance of intensified practical efforts by the Government of Afghanistan in cooperation with regional and international partners to address drug production and trafficking, precursor and weapons smuggling as a main source of financing terrorism;

19) Recognize that terrorism, narcotics and organized crime are interlinked global threats and require a common strategy based on the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy;

20) Affirm that all security assistance to Afghanistan should be provided through the Afghan Government and strongly oppose any provision of financial support, material assistance or arms to the Taliban and ISIS/Daesh, which only serves to destabilize Afghanistan and prolong the conflict;

Regional Economic Cooperation

21) Support the recent progress in regional economic cooperation and connectivity projects that recognize Afghanistan as a natural land-bridge connecting Central Asia with South Asia and the wider region. Economic integration of Afghanistan in the region will further contribute to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the wider region;

22) Stress that the timely implementation of regional trade-transit, transport, energy, infrastructure, communication projects connecting Afghanistan to its immediate neighbourhood and the wider region will provide tangible benefit to the people of the region, as a whole, improve livelihoods, and reinforce ongoing efforts to promote peace and combat terrorism and illicit activities;

23) Acknowledge thatdrawing on the previous initiatives, the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan: Peace Process, Security Cooperation & Regional Connectivity provided a unique opportunity for open and comprehensive discussions on a wide range of issues regarding the Afghan peace process, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts, regional economic cooperation and stimulated the elaboration of mutually agreed solutions;

24) Express deep gratitude to the Government of Uzbekistan for the traditional hospitality and excellent organization of the high-level Conference in Tashkent, as well as the determined efforts to establish a broad and firm regional and international consensus on the issues of peace, security and regional connectivity.

This declaration was adopted in Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan, by Afghanistan, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, EU and UN.

 (Source: Press Service of the MFA of the Republic of Uzbekistan)

 

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