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
on the situation in Afghanistan

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

I would like to support those my colleges who have already mentioned that analysis of the current situation in Afghanistan demonstrates that, despite the considerable success of the international community on reconstruction of this country, the situation is still far from being stable.

In this regard, the significance of the leading role of NATO in ISAF in accordance with the UN mandate is getting extremely high. NATO's positive experience in peacekeeping in the Balkans persuades us that NATO's mission in Afghanistan will certainly be successful.

During the visit of Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General, to our country in September 2003, Uzbekistan confirmed its readiness to support NATO in order to ensure the success of the ISAF mission, and it is working on this issue with the appropriate NATO bodies.

In order to accelerate the stabilization of Afghanistan, our country has been taking practical steps towards real assistance to the Afghan people. The following facts outline the contribution of Uzbekistan to the postwar rebuilding of Afghanistan:

  1. Over 1 mln. tons of humanitarian and commercial goods have been forwarded to Afghanistan through Uzbekistan.
  2. Uzbek specialists take part in construction and renovation works, restoration of the irrigation system and the oil-gas industry of Afghanistan, and the construction of social infrastructure. Our country is particularly invested in the reconstruction and building of 10 bridges along the Termez-Mazari-Sharif-Kabul highway, 9 of which are already operational.
  3. The Government of Uzbekistan has expressed its readiness to build the Khayraton-Mazari-Sharif railway, electricity transmission lines from Khayraton to Puli Khumru, to take part in the tender on building an electricity station, the reconstruction of water utilization systems, and energy systems in northern and central parts of Afghanistan.

Carrying out an expanded ISAF mission, it is advisable to work on the creation of necessary instruments and to solve concomitant problems, which might become critical after completion of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

In this regard, I would like once again to draw your attention to the problem of Afghan drug trafficking, which remains a crucial issue.

We hope that peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan will strengthen their efforts in combating drug-business inside the country. Otherwise, this threat will grow up and it will worsen corruption, violence and terrorism both inside the country and beyond its borders. These factors may undermine Central Asian states' efforts to strengthen of democratic society. We also believe that, in order to meet this challenge effectively, we need new forms and arrangements for cooperation in the EAPC/PfP framework.

The successful activity of ISAF would really lend support to increasing and broadening the number of reconstruction projects in Afghanistan involving more local labor and representatives from local military groups, who do not wish to join the National Army. This would, to some extent, defect a part of Afghan population's attention away from drug production.

In addition, it would be appropriate to strengthen ISAF activities in the area of training and formation of an ethnically balanced National Army as well as to fill in the security vacuum all over the country. This would encourage militants to hear calls for handing over their weapons.

While strengthening of the National Army, it is important to establish with ISAF assistance, law-enforcement structures controlled by the centralized government.

At present the Euro-Atlantic community should fully understand that peace and stability in the whole Euro-Atlantic area depends on the peace and stability of Afghanistan. In this regard, we fully appreciate the words said by Lord Robertson in one of his recent speeches that "if we do not go to Afghanistan then Afghanistan will come to us".

Thank you for your attention.

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