TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on September 23 called on the United Nations General Assembly to create a Permanent UN Committee on Afghanistan to coordinate peace efforts and to facilitate a lasting political settlement in the country, the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London said.
In a precedent-setting move, President Mirziyoyev delivered his address to the General Assembly’s opening session in Uzbek, the first time Uzbekistan’s national language has been used in the UN.
In his address, the President outlined the steps his nation has taken to try to promote peace in Afghanistan, starting with a major international forum held in Tashkent in March 2018. During that conference, President Mirziyoyev set a settlement in Afghanistan as a top priority for his administration, terming it "the linchpin of stability and prosperity of the entire greater region of Central and South Asia."
Since then, Uzbekistan has invested heavily in rail and transport infrastructure in Afghanistan, as well as in the energy sector and in education.
The President and his envoys have held extensive talks with all political parties and movements within Afghanistan, including the Taliban, discussions which led to the recent start of direct negotiations between the Afghanistan government leadership and the Taliban in Doha.
In his address, delivered by video call, President Mirziyoyev said: “We consider Afghanistan as unalienable part of Central Asia. The high-level Tashkent conference on Afghanistan in March 2018 became a new stage to consolidate international efforts to solve the Afghan problem. We fully support the intra-Afghan peace talks which started this September in Doha. We hope these negotiations will help in establishing peace and stability in the much suffering land of Afghanistan.
“In order to facilitate the involvement of Afghanistan in regional economic integration we have started the implementation of large infrastructure projects such as building the ‘Surkhan-Puli-Khumri’ power transmission line, and the railway network from Mazari-Sharif to the ports of the Indian Ocean.
“We believe that ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan will always remain at the centre of the UN’s attention.
“The hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people can only be realised if we work together and in close cooperation. We need to work based on the principle, from instability and destruction to peace and creation.
“Therefore, we need to establish at the UN a Permanent Committee that will listen to the hopes and aspirations of the Afghan people. The main aim of the committee should be to assist in the economic and social development of Afghanistan.”
President Mirziyoyev said that there is still no clear international strategy for dealing with the aftermath of four decades of strife within the country and that he was proposing a "new format" through which a consensus in support of the peace process could be achieved.
Diplomats in the region fear that once NATO troops leave, international interest in Afghanistan will fade. An authoritative international structure is needed to ensure Afghanistan is not now overlooked.
Experts believe a UN Permanent Committee could:
- Coordinate international efforts to assist the peace process in Afghanistan and its economic recovery.
- Keep the Afghanistan issue as a priority topic within the UN, ensuring that international assistance is systematic and efficient.
- Act as a platform to discuss relevant issues among global powers and regional states to avoid geopolitical rivalry in Afghanistan and find common interests.
- Serve as a channel for information exchange on terrorism and security threats.
- Mobilise international efforts to implement infrastructure and socio-economic development projects in Afghanistan, strengthening its connectivity with other states in the region.
President Mirziyoyev also proposed convening an International Conference dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Joint Plan of Action of the Central Asian Countries on the Implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He suggested Tashkent as the site for the conference.