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Tashkent to Host a High-Level Conference on Afghanistan

Tashkent to Host a High-Level Conference on Afghanistan

The global and regional powers, Afghanistan’s neighbors will attend the Tashkent
International Conference “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional
From the early days of his leadership of the country, President of the Republic of
Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev defined building up constructive, mutually
advantageous and good-neighborly relations with Central Asian nations and
cementing security in this part of the world as the principal foreign policy priority.
Uzbekistan’s leader detailed the international community about his strategic vision
for ensuring regional security and stability in September 2017 at the 72 nd Session of the
United Nations General Assembly in New York City. In November later that year, during
the Samarkand Conference “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for
Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity”, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev
proposed a comprehensive program of joint efforts at the regional and international
levels to secure enduring peace and stability in Central Asia, including Afghanistan.
The policy implications of the speeches by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan at
those international forums, his examination of the current situation in Central Asia and
Afghanistan and the prospects of developments have generated a reflective interest in the
international community.
As the President has noted, “Central Asia, being in the heart of Eurasia, stands as a
bridge connecting Europe and the Middle East, South and East Asia”. The region is
rich in natural resources. There is a unique cultural and civilization potential, which has had
a decisive influence on the development of many countries and entire regions.
In the meantime, according to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Central Asia
constitutes a crossing point of the interests of world powers, and the region adjoins the
pivots of instability and conflict, experiencing the impact of all the downbeat processes
occurring in the near and far abroad.
In this regard, the President of Uzbekistan was right in posing the question as to what
developments the region can encounter. Will it go under the scenario of conflicts and
confrontations or along the path of cooperation and progress?
The answer is obvious, that is, everything depends, first and foremost, on the
willingness of the Central Asian states to assume responsibility for the common future
of the region.
Bordering on all countries of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is unswervingly interested in
the region becoming a zone of stability, sustainable development and good-neighborliness.
As Uzbekistan’s leader has repeatedly stressed, peaceful, economically prosperous
Central Asia is our most critical goal and key task.
Meanwhile, it is impossible to achieve those objectives without addressing one of
the most pressing regional and global issues, namely, the conflict in the neighboring
Afghanistan, which historically and geopolitically is an integral part of our common region.
Peace in Afghanistan is bedrock of stability and prosperity of Central Asia. Speaking
at the international conference in Samarkand, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev stated frankly

that it is essential to refuse to divide the security threats into ‘our own and those of
others’ and in fact adhere to the principle of indivisibility of security.
A peaceful Afghanistan is able to ensure the shortest possible access for the nations of
Central Asia to the harbors of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, to connect India, Iran
and Pakistan with the markets of Europe and the Middle East.
To this end, what comes to the fore of the problem is the formation of an extensive and
solid international consensus on the basic issues of establishing peace and security in
Afghanistan, supporting the efforts of Afghan-owned, Afghan-led process for national
reconciliation in the country.
Uzbekistan has always been and remains a fundamental advocate of a political
settlement of the situation in Afghanistan, making its feasible contribution to the
country’s socio-economic development.
In this regard, Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s initiative to organize – on March 26-27 this
year in Tashkent, jointly with the Afghan side – an international high-level conference
on Afghanistan, “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity”, is
an important part of the Uzbek leadership’s overall strategy to provide for regional
security and stability.
Our country has been an active party to almost all international forums
addressing the Afghan crisis, including the Kabul Process, the Moscow Format, the Heart
of Asia – Istanbul Process, the International Contact Group on Afghanistan, the SCO-
Afghanistan Contact Group, the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on
Afghanistan (RECCA).
During a UN Security Council session in New York on January 19, 2018, Uzbekistan
and Afghanistan delivered a joint presentation of the forthcoming Tashkent forum.
The conference in Tashkent is due following the second meeting of the Kabul Process
that took place on February 28 this year in Afghanistan’s capital. It will come to be a
logical extension of the efforts undertaken by the international community to secure
peace and stability in the country.
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President of the
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani are to deliver keynote speeches at the
opening ceremony of the conference.
Among those invited to the Tashkent meeting are the UN Secretary General Antonio
Guterres and Special Representative of the Organization for Afghanistan Tadamichi
Yamamoto, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica
Mogherini, as well as foreign ministers of China, Russia, the United States, the United
Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
It is expected that the forum participants will convey their consolidated stance – at
the regional and global levels – on the need for the soonest start of direct talks between
the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban Movement without any preconditions.
The conference is projected to result in the adoption of Tashkent Declaration
anticipated to reflect the following key points:
First, the peace process ought to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and in accordance
with the provisions of resolutions and decisions of the UN General Assembly and Security
Second, the guaranteed integration of the armed opposition into the political life of
Afghanistan and its recognition as a legitimate political force is instrumental in the success
of the peace process;
Third, the international community strongly opposes all forms and manifestations of
terrorism without any distinction, and recognizes that the threats of transnational terrorism,

drug trafficking and organized crime are common challenges to stability and sustainable
development both for Afghanistan, the region and the world as a whole.
The Tashkent Conference is to follow the first meeting of the new format of
cooperation, Central Asia + Afghanistan (“C5 + 1”), designed to discuss specific areas of
interaction between the Central Asian nations and Afghanistan. The activity of this format
will contribute to Afghanistan’s successful integration into the system of trade, economic
and infrastructural relations with the states of Central Asia, the effective implementation of
projects and programs of regional scale.
Initiating to hold the Tashkent Conference, Uzbekistan by no means intends to
confine itself to arranging it as a one-time event, but continue with vigorous efforts –
both bilaterally and multilaterally – to promote a peaceful political process in Afghanistan.
As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s foreign policy strategy finds its application,
Uzbekistan is becoming a proactive contributor to and constituent part of the political
process for a peaceful settlement to the Afghan conflict. Worth underscoring once again
that the principal role and responsibility in this process belongs with the Afghans
themselves, who must determine and build the future of their country.
The gracious goals set for the Tashkent Conference, as well as the participation in it of
all permanent members of the UN Security Council, the SCO member states and the
countries neighboring Afghanistan, including the five Central Asian nations, have been
triggering a growing interest in the forum around the globe. A large group of representatives
of the world mass media is expected to arrive to partake in the coverage of the event.
We express hope that the outcomes of the international meeting in Uzbekistan’s
capital city will come to be a vital milestone in the stabilization of Afghanistan, in the
delivery of prerequisites for its sustainable development, enhancement of the Afghan
people’s welfare and the latter’s engagement in the constructive processes in the region
and the world in general. The success of the Tashkent forum should demonstrate the
ability of the region’s states to resolve common grave issues through joint efforts by
opening up extensive opportunities for peace and progress.

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