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Statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Press Conference

 

STATEMENT
by Sirojiddin Muhriddin,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan

Press Conference on performance of the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the first six months of 2020
(27 July 2020, Dushanbe)

Dear Mass Media Representatives,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs pursued its activities in the first half of 2020 based on the requirements of the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Tajikistan, national legal and regulatory framework, decrees, orders and instructions of the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, as well as the decisions and guidance of the Government, the Regulation on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, the Foreign Policy Concept Framework of the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Main Action Plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan for 2020.

Regretfully, the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and the World Health Organization’s announcement of the pandemic has had a severe impact on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ agenda in the international arena during the reporting period. In accordance with the instructions and orders of the Head of State and the Government of the country, the Ministry mainly focused on prevention of the spread of Covid-19 and reduction of the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic in this period. To this end, the Ministry established a permanent Task Force operating 24/7 to monitor the situation with the Covid-19 pandemic conforming to the order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry has significantly contributed to attracting international humanitarian aid and repatriating our nationals stranded abroad, including Russia, China, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, USA, Germany, India, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Pakistan and other countries due to the suspension of international flights. We continuously pursue our activities in this area.

In these difficult moments, a number of countries and development partners supported the Republic of Tajikistan. I would like to take this opportunity to offer the gratitude of Tajikistan to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, India, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, European Union, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Japan, Israel, Qatar, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), International, independent medical humanitarian organization of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe, Aga Khan Development Network in Tajikistan (AKDN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners.

The situation that has arisen as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus around the world, has had a serious impact on bilateral and multilateral cooperation between our country and its foreign partners. Nevertheless, the Ministry has sought to sustain and expand Tajikistan’s relations with partner countries and international organizations at a decent level. In this period, communications with our foreign partners have mainly proceeded through virtual or video conferencing, telephone conversations and exchange of messages.

During the first half of the year, the expansion of bilateral and multilateral relations between the Republic of Tajikistan and the Commonwealth of Independent States member states has traditionally been a priority of our foreign policy.

During this period, we further continued and developed our political, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations with the countries in Asia, Europe, America, the Pacific Ocean and Africa.

In terms of interaction between our country and the international organizations, several important milestones have taken place in the past six months. It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan collaborated with international organizations through video conference format.

The visit of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Emomali Rahmon to Moscow to attend the celebrations dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the World War II and the meeting of the Leader of the Nation with the President Vladimir Putin of Russia was one of the most important events in this period.

In the first half of 2020, the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon had several telephone conversations with the heads of several states, including President Sooronboy Jeenbekov of Kyrgyzstan, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, President Hassan Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan, President Alexander Lukashenko of the Republic of Belarus and the President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China. The parties discussed over these telephone conversations the issues of intensification of bilateral relations between Tajikistan and mentioned countries in various fields of cooperation, the epidemiological situation in the region and the world, joint efforts to overcome the aftermaths of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In January and February 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan paid official and working visits to Germany, Serbia, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Russia, Uzbekistan and Qatar. The meetings with the leadership and other officials of the partner countries discussed priorities of bilateral economic, trade, investment and infrastructure cooperation.

In addition, during the reporting period the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan had telephone conversations and video meetings with his foreign counterparts and leaders of international organizations, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Chingiz Aidarbekov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, the acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Mohammad Atmar, the Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister of South Korea Kang Kyung-wha, the Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the British Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Wendy Morton, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada François-Philippe Champagne, the Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Vladimir Norov, the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer, the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Adam Boehler and the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Petteri Taalas. These conversations focused on current state and prospects for the enhancement of bilateral relations of Tajikistan with aforementioned countries and international organizations in various areas, cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and other issues of common interest.

During the reporting period, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan convened political consultations with foreign ministries of other countries, including Ukraine, Qatar and Italy, and Dushanbe appointed new ambassadors to Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Israel and Indonesia.

Over the past six months, I took part in international fora and events held via video conferences. I would like to emphasize about my statement on the position of our country on topical issues of the international agenda and priority areas of our country’s participation in the CIS at the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

I attended the extraordinary consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states, which for the first time took place in a video conference mode. In the course of online meeting, I had a thorough exchange of views on the priority tasks of the SCO to counter the novel coronavirus pandemic and conferred possible mechanisms of interaction to mitigate its negative consequences on the socio-economic development of the SCO member countries. In my speech, I stressed the need to ensure transit transportation of goods, food security, as well as the supply of medical equipment and medicines in the current pandemic condition. The consultation resulted in adopting a Statement of the SCO Foreign Ministers on the spread of coronavirus disease.

On May 26, a regular meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was held via video conference. At the outcome of this meeting, the Foreign Ministers endorsed a Joint Statement on solidarity and interaction in the fight against coronavirus outbreak, embrace of the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire due to the Covid-19 pandemic, celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the World War II, and reaffirmation of adherence to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

On May 29, I participated and delivered a speech at a high-level joint forum entitled “Accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda through water, sanitation and climate action” co-organized via video conference by the Permanent Missions of Tajikistan, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Singapore in the UN, and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs with the support of UN-Water.

On June 12, a video conference of the Foreign Ministers of Central Asian and the European Union countries took place. The e-meeting participants discussed the issues of multifaceted cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and the European Union on the mitigation of the Covid-19 pandemic impact, the status quo in the world, as well as the joint efforts to tackle emerging challenges.

On June 18, an international video conference of Foreign Ministers was held as a part of the “Belt and Road” initiative with the participation of leaders from the UN, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Health Organization. In my speech, I stressed the importance of joint actions to prevent the escalation of the coronavirus and to restore sustainable socioeconomic development of countries.

On June 30, a high-level video conference of C5 + 1 format with the participation of Central Asian Foreign Ministers and the US Secretary of State took place. The parties discussed issues related to the fight against Covid-19, its repercussions for the healthcare and economy areas, the efforts of countries regarding its elimination, the economic stability, the expansion of regional cooperation and security. I highlighted the importance of the steps taken by the Tajik Government to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the role of regional cooperation, the assistance rendered by our partners in this process, and proposed to undertake actions to prevent the potential second wave while gradually easing the quarantine system.

On June 19, we hosted the signing ceremony of the Exchange of Notes on mutual understanding between the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the Government of Japan on the Government of Japan’s humanitarian aid to Tajikistan in the fight against Covid-19 within the Economic and Social Development Programme. The Ambassador of Japan to Tajikistan and I signed the Exchange Notes.

Given the spread of the novel coronavirus and the introduction of restrictions in countries around the world, we decided to postpone the Second International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” to the next year.

During the reporting period, we strengthened the legal framework of Tajikistan’s relations with its international partners by signing five bilateral documents, and making eight international legal acts effective.

The Ministry’s cooperation with foreign media continued as for registration and creation of favourable environment for their activities in the country. In accordance with the Regulation on the Accreditation of Foreign Journalists, the Ministry’s Section of International Information and Accreditation accredited more than 30 foreign journalists who applied for a temporary and permanent operation in Tajikistan.

During this period, we established the Centre for Professional Development and Retraining of Diplomatic Service Staff of the Ministry on March 5 based on the decision of the Government of Tajikistan and the executive order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This year, Tajikistan, along with Afghanistan, is co-chairing the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process. There are plans to host the next conference of Foreign Ministers within the framework of this process in Dushanbe.

Distinguished media representatives,

Today the world is facing a great crisis that could be a turning point in the modern history. During several months since the emergence of Covid-19 – the disease caused by a novel coronavirus, analysts have expressed different views on the world the disease would leave behind. However, many people acknowledge that the world we are entering into will be fundamentally different from the world that existed prior to this disease. Tajikistan should be prepared for the new scenario.

Tajikistan will hold presidential election in the second half of the year, which is of a great importance for the future of our country, ensuring peace and greater economic and social progress. This year, Tajikistan will hold its yearly presidency in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Next year, the capital of our country will host a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and a jubilee meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. Importantly, Dushanbe was proclaimed as the Cultural Capital of the Commonwealth of Independent States in 2021Moreover, Tajikistan will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Independence on September 9 next year.

These important events expect the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make serious preparations to ensure proper presidential election abroad, presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and decent celebration of the 30th anniversary of our beloved country’s Independence.

The Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Emomali Rahmon in his recent Address to the Majlisi Oli (Parliament) of the Republic of Tajikistan defined the main directions of domestic and foreign policy for the coming period and set specific tasks for effective implementation of foreign policy and ensuring progress in various sectors. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to make its valuable input to the remarkable fulfillment of the tasks set forth by Mr President in his Address.

Thank you for your attention.