by Sirojiddin Muhriddin,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan,
Press Conference on 2019 outcomes
(18 February 2020, Dushanbe)
Dear Media Representatives,
During the past year, Tajikistan in its foreign policy continued its efforts to promote the national interests and expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation with the international community.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the institution designated for implementation of the state foreign policy, runs its activities based on the national legal and regulatory framework, assignments by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Leader of the Nation, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, including those delivered at his Address to the Parliament, and in 2019 accomplished the activities needed to fullfil these instructions.
In this context, the meetings between His Excellency Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Tajikistan and high-ranking officials from other countries both in and outside Tajikistan played a decisive role in further expanding and strengthening our country’s relationships with the global community. Last year, Tajikistan decently summarized its chairmanship in several regional and international organizations, including the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), Economic Cooperation Organization and the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC).
In 2019 President Rahmon paid international visits to the Russian Federation (state visit, 16-17 April), People’s Republic of China (Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, 25-29 April), Republic of Kazakhzstan (Honorable Guest at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council Meeting, 28-29 May), Kyrgyz Republic (19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of SCO Member States, 14 June), Republic of Belarus (official visit and participation in the 2nd European Games closing ceremony, 27-30 June), Kyrgyz Republic (working visit, 26-28 June), Turkmenistan (Meeting of the Heads of State of CIS Member States, 29-30 August), Switzerland ( working visit, 4-7 November), Republic of France (official visit, 7-12 November), Kyrgyz Republic (Meeting of the Heads of State of CSTO Member States, 27-28 November), Republic of Uzbekistan (2nd Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asian Countries, 28-29 November), Russian Federation (Informal Meeting of the Heads of State of CIS Member States, 19-21 December). These visits opened new horizons of cooperation between Tajikistan and the member states of these organizations.
More than 300 foreign and international delegations visited Tajikistan last year and these events played a valuable role in further expanding international relations and strengthening the role of Tajikistan at the international stage. We can highlight the official and working visits of the presidents of Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Chairman of China, Emir of Qatar, President of the European Council, Chief Executive Officer of Kazakhstan, Vice President of Vietnam, Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan, Cambodia, South Korea and Azerbaijan, Principal Vice Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian, Slovakia, Palestine, China, Uzbekistan, India, Japan, Minister of Defence of Russia, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of France and other high-ranking officials.
During the past year, Tajikistan hosted a number of international fora, including the High-Level Сonference on International and Regional Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and its Financing Through Illicit Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime (16-17 May), Seventh Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialgoue (17-18 May) and the Fifth CICA Summit of Heads of State and Government (14-15 June), which decently contributed to discussion of and finding solution to topical international issues.
Obviously the expansion of Tajikistan’s multilateral relations within the Commonwealth of Independent States is a priority in the country’s foreign policy, and the last year the trend of strengthening and expansion of cooperation with CIS member states was continued.
Important documents were signed during the Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of CIS on 11 October and the Informal Meeting of the Heads of State of CIS on 20 December.
During the past year the bilateral relations with Russia witnessed new transformations. Exchange in official and working visits of the heads of the two states, high-level talks, visits of other high-ranking officials, including the official visit of the Russian Foreign Minister to Dushanbe once again highlighted the importance of strategic partnership relations between the two countries.
During the past year, the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon paid an official visit to Minsk, during which the issues of cooperation between the two countries in various areas were discussed and 10 new cooperation documents, including the Agreement on Strategic Partnership between Tajikistan and Belarus were signed.
Given the geographic location and deep economic, historic and cultural ties with Central Asian states, fostering cooperation with the region’s countries is a top priority in our foreign policy. The second consultative meeting of the heads of Central Asian states held in Tashkent on 29 November discussed the issue of cooperation between the countries in the region. To prepare for the meeting of the heads of state, the meeting of the foreign ministers of Central Asian countries took place in Tashkent on 15 November.
In the past year, the Tajik-Uzbek cooperation in various areas continued based on the agreements reached by the parties. Joint initiatives of Dushanbe and Tashkent gave a strong impetus to the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in all areas, including but not limited to trade, economy, culture, transportation, use of water and energy resources, security and defence, as well as ties between the regions of the two countries. The meetings between the high level delegations of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as the talks between the two neighbor countries’ foreign ministers demonstrate the enhanced trust and understanding between Dushanbe and Tashkent.
In 2019, Tajikistan’s relations with another strategic partner in the region – Kazakhstan entered a new stage. Kazakh people have elected their new President, who for the first time paid a visit to Dushanbe to attend the 5th CICA Summit of the Heads of State and Government. The meeting of the heads of our countries took place on the sidelines of this Summit.
Tajikistan has been constantly making efforts to maintain mutual ties with Turkmenistan. The political consultations between the Tajik and Turkmen ministries of foreign affairs held in Ashgabat on 31 October discussed a set of cooperation issues.
With regard to bilateral relations with the Kyrgyz Republic, mainly the focus is made on border issues with this neighbor country. The meeting of the Tajik and Kyrgyz presidents took place in Isfara, where the parties met with the cross-border district communities.
The political, economic, cultural and humanitarian collaboration with the Asian and African states continued strengthening during the reporting period. In particular, our cooperation with China was comprehensive like it was in the previous years. The last year President Rahmon paid a working visit to China to attend the Second International Cooperation Forum of Belt and Road and EXPO-2019 Exhibition from one hand, and the state visit of the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China to Tajikistan on the other hand opened new horizons of cooperation in the Tajik-Chinese bilateral relations in various areas.
As for the Tajik-Japanese ties, it is worthwhile highlighting the Seventh Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the ‘Central Asia plus Japan’ Dialogue held in Dushanbe on May 17 and chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan participated in this meeting as an Honorable Guest. The meeting resulted in adopting Joint Declaration. The meeting between the Chairman of the Senate of the Tajik Parliament with his counterpart in Tokyo on 23 October on the sidelines of the Ceremony of Enthronement of the Japanese Emperor laid a foundation for further strengthening of parliamentary relations.
During the reporting period, the issues of expansion of bilateral relations on political, security, economic, trade, energy, transport, scientific and cultural dimensions with Afghanistan was under a constant focus. Indeed, peace and stability in the neighboring Afghanistan is of a particular importance for our country.
In this period, the cooperation with Iran experienced a positive trend. An important occasion in this dimension was the visit of the President Hasan Rouhani of Iran to Dushanbe to attend the Fifth CICA Summit of the Heads of State and Government and his meeting with the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon.
The relations with Turkey have further boosted in the reporting period. President Erdogan of Turkey visited Dushanbe in June of the last year to attend the Fifth CICA Summit of the Heads of State and Government. During this visit the meeting of the Heads of the two states took place and the parties discussed the most important issues of the Tajik-Turkish bilateral ties in a diverse range of areas.
Important transformations also happened in boosting bilateral relations with the key countries in South Asia – India and Pakistan. Dushanbe and New Delhi exchanged in newly appointed ambassadors and Islamabad also appointed its new ambassador to Dushanbe.
Cooperation between Tajikistan and South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia and other countries continued through reciprocal visits of official delegations, enhancement of legal framework and arrangement of cultural events.
During the reporting period, the Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of South Korea visited Dushanbe on his first official visit. President Rahmon of Tajikistan received the Korean Prime Minister, which was followed by the Government delegations’ meeting chaired by the two countries’ prime ministers and the meeting between the Korean Prime Minister and the Mayor of Dushanbe. The negotiations were completed by signing a number of cooperation agreements.
The first round of political consultations between the foreign ministries of Tajikistan and Malaysia was convened in Dushanbe on 13 September 2019. The delegations discussed priority areas of bilateral relations and exchanged in opinion on the topical regional and international issues.
On 19 September, Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Fahri Hamzah visited Tajikistan. Mr. Hamza and his counterparts discussed the bilateral issues of Tajik-Indonesian cooperation in various areas during the meetings in Dushanbe. The parties have particularly highlighted the importance of parliamentary ties in fostering cooperation between the two countries and stated that Tajikistan and Indonesia have abundant opportunities to further strengthen and expand relations in multiple areas.
Relations with the Arab States of the Gulf, in particular with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, State of Kuwait, State of Qatar, and Sultanate of Oman continued expanding in the reporting period. Last year, the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani visited Dushanbe to attend the Fifth CICA Summit of the Heads of State and Government and met with the President Rahmon. The heads of the two states underscored their commitment and desire to further strengthen and expand the bilateral ties between their countries.
During the reporting period, Prime Minister of Tajikistan paid an official visit to the State of Kuwait (11-12 November) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan visited the Sultanate of Oman on an official visit (19 December). Cooperation documents on various areas with these Gulf countries were signed during these two visits. In this period, first non-resident ambassadors of Tajikistan to Masqat (31 March) and Manama (3 December) commenced their diplomatic terms.
The second session of the Tajik-Egyptian Intergovernmental Joint Committee on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation took place on 26-28 November in Cairo. During this meeting the parties signed a package of documents on cooperation in various areas. The regular session of the political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries, which took place on 3 October in Cairo, discusses the issues of bilateral relations.
On 25 September, the first session of the political consultations between the foreign ministries of Tajikistan and Morocco was held in Dushanbe. The political consultations resulted in signing two documents – Protocol on Cooperation and Bilateral Consultations and the Programme of Cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The European Union is an important partner of Tajikistan at the international stage. During the reporting period, President of the European Council, His Excellency Donald Tusk paid an official visit to Tajikistan, and during his meeting with the President Rahmon of Tajikistan the issues of cooperation between our country and the European Union were discussed.
Accession of Tajikistan to the European Union Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) has been followed up as an important issue. The EU committed to allocate 20 million euros for construction of Sebzor hydropower plant with a view to supporting sustainable development of rural areas, promotion of green energy and eradication of extreme poverty in remote areas. In 2019, Brussels approved the new EU Strategy for Central Asia.
Key dimensions of the cooperation between Tajikistan and the EU, political and economic issues, human rights and other international and regional issues were the topics of discussion at the 7th session of the Cooperation Council between the European Union and Tajikistan held on 10 December in Brussels. In Brussels, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan met with His Excellency Josep Borrell, newly appointed High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
The reporting period witnessed expanded cooperation with the European countries. Official visits of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Leader of the Nation, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon to Switzerland and the French Republic granted a fresh impetus to further enhancement of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and these two countries. During the visits of the Tajik President to Bern five documents were signed while in Paris 11 documents of cooperation in different areas were concluded. On 9 January, the third round of political consultations between the foreign ministries of Tajikistan and France and on 26 March, the regular session of political consultations between the foreign ministries of Tajikistan and Switzerland were convened.
On 13 December, Rome hosted the International Conference “Italy and Central Asia: Strengthening Mutual Understanding, Cooperation and Partnership”. Tajik delegation participated in this forum and meeting between the Tajik Foreign Minister and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation took place on the sidelines of the conference.
In the reporting period, also political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and Estonia (Dushanbe, 16 May), Austria (Dushanbe, 23 September), Germany (Berlin, 1 October), Netherlands (Hague, 27 November) took place and discussed the current state and prospects of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and these European countries in different dimensions and within the EU Strategy for Central Asia.
Enhancement of bilateral relations with the United States is of particular importance for Tajikistan. The two countries started implementing their cooperation roadmap in early 2019.
In 2019, Tajikistan’s cooperation with international and regional organizations has enhanced and the performance of Tajikistan’s Permanent Mission in the UN GA was visible. During the reporting period, Tajikistan’s Official Delegation chaired by the Prime Minister of Tajikistan attended the UN GA 74th session in New York. Tajikistan chaired the Second informal meeting of the foreign ministers of CICA member states and sideline high-level forum on international and regional cooperation on countering terrorism and its financing through illicit drugs trafficking and organized crime in New York.
During the reporting period, important events took place in the dimension of cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister paid a visit to Tajikistan on 21-22 May and our country chaired the closing session of the plenary meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation in Vienna on 24 July. The 26th Ministerial Council of OSCE was held in Bratislava on 5-6 December, which was attended by the Tajik Minister of Foreign Affairs. Minister Muhriddin in his speech provided his view on Tajkistan’s priorities in three dimensions of the Organization and urgent global challenges such as countering terrorism and extremism, illicit drug smuggling and climate change.
Cooperation between Tajikistan and UNESCO was fruitful during the last year. The 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference approved Tajikistan’s proposals to inscribe 5500 anniversary of the ancient city of Sarazm and 700 anniversary of the prominent poet Kamoli Khujandee into the UNESCO celebration list for 2020-2021. There are plans to convene the ceremony of celebration of the 5500 anniversary of the ancient city of Sarazm with participation of the UNESCO Director General on 12 September 2020.
During the reporting period our country enhanced its cooperation with other regional institutions also. On 15 June, Dushanbe hosted the Fifth CICA Summit of the Heads of State and Government at high level and thereby once again emphasized the important role of Tajikistan and its Leader at the international stage.
With a view to further strengthening the country’s international economic ties and ensuring a favorable external environment for sustainable development of the country, the Ministry commenced certain initiatives. While visiting Tajikistan, the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization, met with the President of Tajikistan on 21 August and provided information about the activities of and achievements made by the organization during Tajikistan’s chairmanship in this institution. Tajikistan officially handed over chairmanship of ECO to Turkey at the 24th Ministerial Council of the Organization on 9 November in Antalia. On 30 December, Tehran hosted the referral ceremony of Tajikistan’s Representative as the newly appointed Head of ECO Cultural Institute.
On 9 December, Tajik Foreign Minister attended the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process entitled “Peace, Partnership and Prosperity”. The conference adopted Istanbul Declaration assuming co-chairmanship of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process by Tajikistan in 2020.
In the reporting period, the legal framework regulating Tajikistan’s relations with its international partners further enhanced through signing 71 bilateral and multilateral documents, including 21 international intergovernmental agreements and 50 international interagency and interinstitutional documents.
Last year, the number of the countries, with whom Tajikistan established diplomatic relations, reached 76, and 30 newly appointed ambassadors of other countries presented their credentials to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan.
In 2019, a large number of media representatives were involved to ensure comprehensive coverage of the international events held in Tajikistan during the reporting period. Thus, Tajikistan as the centre of important international events was in the front page of local and international media.
I would like to avail this opportunity to offer my appreciation to all local and foreign journalists for widely covering the international events and meetings and talks at different levels held in our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This was briefly about the outcomes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019. You see from the statement that the last year was fruitful for the foreign policy of Tajikistan and its outcomes facilitated improving Tajikistan’s reputation internationally.
The Ministry has started the new year of 2020 in the circumstances of growing confrontation between the global and regional powers, when any incautious step may spark the flash of war. Unfortunately, in the contemporary world sometimes neither international laws nor the power of weapon can determine the international situation. It is logical that in such situation, Tajikistan’s foreign policy should continue its role in protecting security and stability in the region and beyond and addressing diverse range of international issues.
The year of 2020 is an important year for Tajikistan’s foreign policy. This year our country will assume its chairmanship at the International Fund for Aral Sea, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process.
Furthermore, Tajikistan will host important international events, including the Second High-Level International Conference on implementation of the fourth global initiative of Tajikistan – International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028)’, 9th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process and the regular International Conference on Countering Terrorism.
The objective from these initiatives of Tajikistan at the international stage is to decently contribute to protection of peace and stability regionally and globally and addressing global issues related to sustainable development and environment.
The Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon in his recent Address to the Parliament of Tajikistan determined the main pillars of our country’s domestic and foreign policy for the coming period and provided specific assignments to effectively run foreign policy and ensure progress of various sectors in the country.
In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will make efforts to make its valuable input in proper implementation of the assignments voiced at the Address of the Head of the State.