Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 November


by H.E. Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan
at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Honourable Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Heads of States and Governments,

Allow me to express my gratitude for this opportunity to address this top-level Nato forum and also briefly convey my considerations and remarks on the issues under discussion.
First. The tragic events of 11 September 2001 and the monstrous terrorist acts, recurring in deferent parts of the world and claiming innocent civilian lives, bring an understanding of security's indivisibility; it is only with concerted efforts that we can confront and neutralise this insidious deadly menace.
We endorse the decision to invite new members to Nato and foster qualitatively new relations with non-Nato countries, primarily, with Russia, as well as implementation of other measures regarding Nato institutions' transformation and adaptation to new security threats and challenges.
Assessing the security situation in our region one can see that it is measurably different from what it was a year ago.
Our countries freed themselves from the repetitive incursions of the bandit and terrorist groups from the territory of Afghanistan, and, most importantly, continuous fears posed by the threat of an assault on our territory of Taliban who masterminded the earlier incursions and went on the rampage.
Uzbekistan, the country that had to take a difficult decision to back up the antiterrorist coalition, at the most critical time, extends the words of appreciation for eliminating this threat to all countries involved, and first and foremost, to the USA for taking the lead and shouldering the main burden of disrupting the strongholds of international terrorism and returning Afghanistan to the life in peace.
Having said that we are fully aware that the situation in Afghanistan and its neighbourhood is far from being stable and secure.
There are multiple unresolved problems connected primarily with the need to demilitarise, build the national army and an institutional state vertical, deliver on Tokyo Conference decisions aimed at securing required resources and implementing reconstruction programmes in Afghanistan.
At this stage we can arrive at a very important, in my opinion, conclusion.
With the international community watching indifferently for decades Afghanistan turning into the training ground of fanatics, extremists and terrorists of all stripes, the Afghan lesson highlights one truth: it is always much harder and more difficult to face the consequences, than nip in the bud the sources spawning terrorism, the most dangerous challenge to the contemporary civilisation.
In this context one appreciates the firm and consistent US position to safeguard from the similar negative scenarios in other parts of the world, including Iraq, and it deserves support.
Second. Today international terrorism is blending with drug trafficking that feeds the former and takes the shape of a fully-fledged narco-agression.
The ever growing drug production and the largest transit rout in Afghanistan are particularly alarming.
International drugs trafficking, in command of huge financial and other resources, is, above all, a mighty, well-organised and globally connected system that menaces lives of millions of people.
Regretfully, the programmes implemented in large numbers under the auspices of various international organisations and the measures we take to confront this threat in Central Asia are badly co-ordinated and lack sufficient financial and material resources.
I think it is obvious that these desultory programmes should be superseded by a clear-cut, firm, well-designed system of preventive and pre-emptive measures, that is co-ordinated from one centre and targeted at the elimination of the very roots of this deadly threat and creation in the region of the so-called 'security belt'.
Third. Uzbekistan accords great significance to stepping up interaction in security issues between Nato member-states and the countries of Central Asia.
We are highly appreciative of the developing co-operation and in favour of expanding partnership relations with Nato, with a view to reform armed forces, set up training and information centres for the military personnel, equip the borders with the modern devices, heighten the readiness to combat terrorism.
We also see good prospects for our co-operation with Nato/EAPC over strengthening and developing democratic and civil institutions, protecting human rights and freedoms, advancing economic reforms, assisting ecological security.

Among the main areas of co-operation between Nato and Central Asian states is observance by all countries of the UN decisions about non-proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, as well as the UN General Assembly Resolution with regards to Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia.
In view of the terrorists' attempts to lay hands on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and high-tech know-know, it is very important and urgent to step up the interaction in this issues between the regional countries and Nato.

In conclusion I would like to emphasise yet again: it is only by concerted efforts that we can defeat international terrorism - the plague of the XXI century.
All attempts to wall off from this inhumane threat, following the principle: "Do not bother me - and I will leave you alone", are absolutely futile and, worse still, counter-productive.

Today the fate of this combat hinges on the active participation of every single state.
Uzbekistan remains committed to the consistent course towards strengthening co-operation with Nato/Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council institutions and will continue to contribute to consolidation of a secure and stable world.

Thank you.


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