Updated: 12-Dec-2003 NATO Speeches


5 Dec. 2003


by H.E. Mr. Vladimir NOROV, First Deputy Minister
of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
EAPC Foreign Ministers' Meeting

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

The strengthening of peace and stability in Central Asia, democratic reforms, adaptation of the Partnership to the new security threats are the priority issues for our cooperation with the Alliance, Uzbekistan aims at developing cooperation with NATO, its Member and Partner countries on a wide range of issues.

NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, during his recent visit to Uzbekistan emphasized that after taking the leading role within ISAF in Afghanistan, Alliance has become close neighbor of our country.

NATO's leading role in ISAF promotes the security of Central Asian countries and allows them to accelerate efforts aimed at deepening democratic processes in the Region.

Uzbekistan's aspiration for fruitful cooperation with NATO, which represents an Alliance of states with common democratic principles, corresponds to our country's strategy of transition "from strong state to strong civil society", proposed by the President Islam Karimov.

The Government has undertaken concrete measures to improve the legal basis of the liberalization of political and economical life, to provide the necessary guarantees in the field of human rights and to enhance market reforms.

Measures are being taken for a wide-ranging reform of the educational system, a faster development of the information sector, liberalization of the media and revitalization of spiritual values of our sacred religion to reshape the way people think, and contribute to the consolidation of inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance in the Uzbek society.

We hope the recent laws that envision a transition to elections in December of next year for the bicameral parliament and mainly on party lists — for the lower chamber, will boost public political activity, the role of political parties, non-governmental and civil institutions.

Understanding by Uzbekistan of the importance of its defence sector, democratization, bringing standards in the defence and security area into line with those of world-leading countries has led to nomination in our country of the first at the whole post-Soviet area civilian Minister of Defence.

Uzbekistan's active cooperation with NATO in the framework of PARP, as well as developing relations within IPAP, about which Uzbekistan is currently conducting consultations with the Alliance, help to strengthen the transparency of policies in the defence and security fields, democratic control of the Armed Forces as well as studying and implementing the experience of leading NATO member countries on a wide range of issues.

At the same time, we think that, while developing cooperation within these Partnership mechanisms, it is important to preserve the basic Partnership principle - when a Partner country chooses itself the main areas of cooperation, taking into account its own priorities.

We are attracted by the idea of the Partnership Action Plan on Defence Institution Building, which, we think, should be further studied and developed in order to ensure its successful practical implementation.

In order to create the right conditions for purposeful and effective cooperation on a wide range of issues, we have to strengthen cooperative mechanisms. In this context, I would like to draw your attention to Uzbekistan's initiative to create in Tashkent the PfP Training Center. This Center would certainly prepare both Uzbekistan and other Central Asian representatives for effective cooperation with NATO, Alliance's procedures and standards. Moreover, we think that this Center could be used for training Afghan specialists.

We also believe that mutually beneficial cooperation between Uzbekistan and NATO, including under the new missions of the Alliance, further promoting democratic principles, implementation of existing and developing Partnership mechanisms, could raise our relations to and even higher and more qualitative level in case of establishment in Tashkent of a PfP Cell.

The PfP Cell in Tashkent would further assist the development of fruitful contacts between each side, thus acquiring Alliance expertise, and NATO studying of our real needs and capabilities in terms of cooperation. It would be one of the most contemporary and important elements in creating a system of preventive measures against threats and challenges. And it would give a new impulse to NATO efforts to adapt to the new regional and global security environment.

Moreover, we think that it is necessary to bring the EAPC and PfP closer to the partner countries. In this regard, we suggest considering the possibility of organizing EAPC Meetings at the level of Foreign Ministers in interested partner countries.

Finally, taking into account the fact that Lord Robertson's mission is coming to an end, I would like, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to express to you, Secretary General, our sincere gratitude for all your efforts, which have been made in order to reform NATO, adapt Partnership and increase the efficiency of ISAF in Afghanistan. I can ensure you that we in the Region feel and appreciate NATO's work in this regard.

Thank you for your attention.


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