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
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
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
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
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
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
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