Dushanbe, 21 October 2022 (TDI): Vladimir Norov, the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan, participated in the High-Level International Conference on “International and Regional Border Security and Management Cooperation to Counter Terrorism and Prevent the Movement of Terrorists.”
The Conference was held on October 18, 2022, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. In his remarks at the Conference, the Uzbek Foreign Minister highlighted the progress made in Central Asia in recent years.
The region has fostered regional consensus on shared values and strategies for counterterrorism, developing efficient mechanisms for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in this field, as well as enhancing knowledge and experience sharing.
Central Asia has provided the first successful example of the regionalization of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by creating a Joint Action Plan for its execution.
Also, country Action Strategies that completely abide by UN recommendations have been devised, along with national counterterrorism systems.
Along these lines, Vladimir Norov pointed out that “A solid foundation for joint actions to combat common challenges & threats in the region is the close relations between the Central Asian countries based on the principles of friendship, good neighborliness, mutual respect, and trust.”
“The Consultative Meetings of the Heads of Central Asian states contribute to the realization of the enormous potential of our countries in ensuring regional security and sustainable development.”
It is pertinent to note that a historic Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness, and Cooperation for the Development of Central Asia in the 21st Century was signed at the Consultative Meeting on July 21, 2022.
Likewise, the adoption of resolutions by the UN General Assembly on “Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability, and sustainable development in the Central Asian region,” “Strengthening connectivity between Central and South Asia,” and “Central Asia – a zone of peace, trust, and cooperation,” proposed by Uzbekistan and other countries in the region, marked the international recognition of the growing partnership between the Central Asian countries.
Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov also talked about the situation in Afghanistan, which is intimately related to the prospects for growth in Central Asia.
He briefed the conference attendees on the steps taken by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, regarding the Afghan crisis.
In this vein, he highlighted the President of Uzbekistan’s proposal in particular, which was announced at the most recent CICA summit in Astana.
The proposal entails establishing a high-level international negotiating group to prepare and coordinate an algorithm with the Afghan authorities for step-by-step implementation of the obligations of the parties.
He also emphasized that this system might develop into an effective and efficient platform for defining precise processes, time frames, and requirements for the Interim Government of Afghanistan and the international community to fulfill their duties.
Vladimir Norov state that the International Conference on Afghanistan, held in Tashkent in July with the involvement of the Interim Government delegation, demonstrated the world community’s interest in creating coordinated approaches to this country.
He went on to emphasize the importance of preventing Afghanistan’s isolation and urged the international community to take effective steps to restore its economy.
Likewise, he urged the global community to help integrate the country into interregional economic processes, along with implementing infrastructure and social projects with the support of the UN, international financial institutions, and donors.
Uzbekistan, for its part, has viably contributed to international efforts in terms of assisting neighboring Afghanistan. In this context, a multipurpose international transport and logistics hub has been established in Termez.
The transport and logistics hub is being actively used by the UN entities to supply humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
He also underscored the significance of carrying out the Uzbek President’s plan, announced at the SCO Summit in Samarkand, to establish a Special Fund for Afghan humanitarian assistance in Termez.
This Fund’s resources will be dedicated toward overcoming social crises, implementing educational programs for young people, and implementing healthcare projects.
According to the Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, the implementation of trans-regional infrastructure projects will contribute to Afghanistan’s involvement in regional trade and economic relations.
These projects include the construction of the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway as well as the establishment of an Interregional Center for Connectivity in Tashkent by Uzbekistan with UN support.
Furthermore, the head of the Uzbek mission drew participants’ attention to the President of Uzbekistan’s proposals to join global efforts to combat global and regional security challenges.
Moreover, the Conference attendees were specifically apprised of the Uzbek President’s plan to establish a unified electronic network on cyberterrorism in Central Asia to facilitate the exchange of experience & data, research, and best practices in this field.
The successful implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the Central Asian region necessitates the strengthening of mechanisms for continuous monitoring and critical assessment of the Joint Action Plan’s implementation.
Correspondingly, it also necessitates the coordination of interaction among Central Asian countries.
In this vein, the need of building a UN Counter-Terrorism Directorate office in Central Asia while guaranteeing close coordination with leading relevant international and regional organizations was stressed by the Uzbek Foreign Minister.
He pointed out that today, the internet is being used to disseminate extremist ideas, recruit people, provide financial support, and plan and carry out terrorist acts.
In this context, the idea to strengthen Central Asian countries’ capacity in the sphere of effectively countering the use of digital technology for terrorist purposes is critical.
Uzbek Foreign Minister also delivered information on Uzbekistan’s work on the repatriation of its residents from combat zones, rehabilitation, and reintegration into society.
Moreover, Uzbekistan is willing to share its knowledge in this area with the other UN Member States. In this context, attention is focused on the Uzbek President’s initiative to establish a regional Expert Council.
The Council will be established under the auspices of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, with the participation of leading experts from Central Asian countries.
The main tasks will be to improve rehabilitation and reintegration programs for citizens and develop proposals to combat terrorism propaganda.
Furthermore, an effective youth strategy is the most crucial prerequisite for successful counter-terrorism and extremism efforts.
The introduction of the Uzbek President’s proposed Dialogue of Generations would assist to improve understanding between people of different ages, as well as a cooperative search for answers to important young concerns.
Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov stated that Uzbekistan is willing to host the inaugural gathering of this Dialogue as part of the Youth Leaders Forum in Samarkand in April 2023.
He also shared that the President of Uzbekistan proposed holding a high-level International Conference on “Education and Religious Tolerance” in 2023.
This will be done with the intent of exploring possible areas of collaboration in advancing the concepts outlined in the UN Special Resolution of the same name, which was enacted on Uzbekistan’s initiative.
This event also fits in with the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which underlines the promotion of ideas and principles such as tolerance, mutual respect, interreligious and intercultural discussion, and the participation of all segments of society.