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Address by He Mr. Islam Karimov, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, at NATO Summit (Bucharest, April 3, 2008)

Press Release ¹14

Dear Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished heads of states and governments!
Ladies and gentlemen!

With your permission I would like to very briefly dwell on the issues of prospects of cooperation of Uzbekistan with NATO in the framework of “Partnership for Peace” Program, as well as our vision of prospects on stabilization of situation in Afghanistan.
An ever bigger transformation of NATO into a political structure becomes today a reality, and this, in its turn, is a good stimulus for further development and strengthening the Euro-Atlantic partnership – the EAPC.
In the context of these processes the real prospect of the program of constructive interaction of our country with NATO could also include along with measures in the area of providing for security and defense construction, ecological and humanitarian spheres the cooperation in the issues of democratic renewal and modernization, strengthening the democratic and civil institutions, and other directions of mutual interest.
The problems of non-proliferation of nuclear and other types of weapon of mass destruction, strengthening of interaction in the struggle against international terrorism and illegal drug trafficking, certainly, must remain as a priority direction of cooperation.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to state that Uzbekistan stands ready to discuss and sign with NATO the Agreement on providing for corridor and transit through its territory to deliver the non-military cargos through the border junction Termez-Khayraton, practically the sole railway connection with Afghanistan.
At the same time, the sovereign interests on maintaining the security and legislation of our country must be observed.
The agreement on railway transit of Bundeswehr cargos through the territory of Uzbekistan signed by Uzbekistan with the German side on March 4 this year could be taken as basis for the future Agreement.
In Uzbekistan we distinctly realize that achievement of peace and stability in Afghanistan is a decisive factor of security which opens up big opportunities to resolve the vitally important problems of sustainable social and economic development of an entire Central Asian region.
There is no alternative here since the further aggravation of confrontation, escalation of tension and terrorism in this country represent a serious challenge to global security and international stability.

Briefly about our vision of tasks the accomplishment of which could positively influence the situation in Afghanistan.
Firstly – it is very important to provide for the priority of resolution of the most outstanding urgent social and economic problems, the problems of employment of population and strengthening the vertical and authority of power.
Here we see the key to achieve the most important thing – the trust of population towards the international coalition forces.
Along with this, all this may serve as the most powerful factor of resolving the problem of struggle against production and supply of drugs – the main source of financing the militants.
Secondly – this is the respect and support of traditional religious, national, cultural values and customs of the multinational people of Afghanistan, the respectful treatment of interests of national minorities.
Not to allow the absolutely groundless attacks and slander on the religion of Islam which arouses the absolutely intolerant state and tension not only in Afghanistan but also in entire Muslim world.
Thirdly – it is very important to provide for the stage-by-stage nature and consistency in implementing the reforms in the area of state and public construction and establishing the civil institutions bearing in mind that the most important guarantee of success of reforms are, firstly, the political stability and economic well being of Afghanistan.
Fourthly – it is of a decisive significance for stabilization of situation in Afghanistan the resolution jointly with the leadership and government of neighboring Pakistan of border problems, firstly, on the territory of Waziristan.
Fifthly – I consider it expedient to resume the negotiation process on achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan in the framework of contact group 6+2 which effectively operated in 1997-2001 along with the support of the United Nations and was established consisting of plenipotentiary representatives of states neighboring on Afghanistan plus the United States of America and Russia.
The contact group deserves credit for its elaboration of common principles and unanimous approaches of the group’s member-countries towards the ways of settling the Afghan crisis under aegis of the United Nations, preparation and holding of meeting of confronting sides of the conflict in Tashkent in July 1999 and adoption of the Tashkent declaration “On main principles of settling the conflict in Afghanistan” on the basis of which the corresponding resolution of the UN Security Council has been adopted that had recognized the outcomes of the Tashkent meeting as an important step on the way of political settlement of the Afghan problem.
Taking into consideration the contemporary realities, it would be necessary to transform the contact group which operated until 2001 from 6+2 into 6+3 bearing in mind the compulsory participation of the NATO representation in this negotiation process.
I think that the consideration of these proposals in elaboration of a comprehensive plan on Afghanistan with participation of all interested parties could positively influence the process of stabilization of situation in Afghanistan.

London, 10 April 2008

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