Updated: 05-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


2 Dec. 2003


by Minister of Defense of the Republic of Uzbekistan H.E. Mr. K. Gulomov
at EAPC Meeting in Defence Ministers' Session

It is commonsense for us in Uzbekistan to think that establishment of sound peace in Afghanistan is vital to our internal security and regional peace.

Certainly, normal life is gradually taking root in Afghanistan since so many years of destruction and hopelessness. This is most prominent on the streets of Kabul, where one can meet people busy with their errands, visit cafes, restaurants, even internet cafes are flourishing there.

Of course, there are positive changes, but yet we have to wait to see this trend spreading to the rest of the country, where situation still remains less promising and volatile due to a number of serious impediments and unsettled issues, namely:

  • Karzay government's control outside of Kabul is limited;
  • There is no unity inside the Karzay government itself;
  • Formation of the national Army is proceeding at a slow pace;
  • Volumes of drug production are growing, while drug trade remains amongst the main sources of financing of terrorists.

We believe that to establish sound peace and stability, with a potent state system and commonly accepted democratic norms five principally important conditions should be met in Afghanistan:

Firstly. Disarmament of warlords, their formations and supporters. This should go hand in hand with establishment of sufficiently manned, trained and equipped national Army and security forces, controlled by the central government and with commensurate representation of all ethnic groups.

Secondly. Full control by the central government of the whole territory of the country.

Thirdly. International community should intensify its cooperation in fighting international terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking.

Fourthly. Fulfillment of all agreements reached at the Tokyo meeting on Afghanistan's post conflict rehabilitation and economic reconstruction. Foreign aid to Afghanistan should not assume competitive character, it rather should be in strict accordance with the decisions taken by the international community.

And finally. States willing to help Afghanistan should harmonize their efforts. Aid to Afghanistan should be prioritized and distributed impartiaily by the neutral central government. Among other things, this will strengthen the authority of the central government. We have to find ways to assure this.

Having been commanding International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) in Afghanistan the NATO could undoubtedly play a bigger role in resolving these issues. Uzbekistan supports NATO's plans on expanding ISAF mandate and welcomes the decision of some NATO nations to increase their contributions to ISAF. Expansion of ISAF to include areas out of Kabul will help in establishing and strengthening the central security structures throughout the country.

Uzbekistan confirms its readiness to cooperate with NATO in providing necessary logistical and technical support to ISAF.

While expanding the ISAF zone and its activities, it is important to make sure that equal attention is also paid to solving current problems that could aggravate at some point after the completion of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

We know of range of activities the Partnership could launch to assist NATO in its demanding task in Afghanistan, which should be carried out in close cooperation with other specialized international and regional organizations and national institutions of Afghanistan's neighbor states. For instance, within its programs on monitoring state borders, the Partnership could adopt a range of practical measures on fighting drug trafficking and other security threats emanating from this war-torn country.

Yet to this end may serve some other existing tools and capacities of the Partnership, particularly the PfP Trust Fund, which could assist Central Asian partner nations in military education and training of border guards, in providing border troops with modern equipment. And one wonders if time is ripe to involve the forming Afghan military into some of this practical exchange as well.

We strongly believe that these measures will address real needs of partners, however, first, we should work out the clear concept and only then define mechanisms of its practical implementation.



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