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Distinguished Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This UN General Assembly session is confronting a crucial task of checking and coordinating the positions held by members of the international community on the most urgent issues. Those issues embrace ensuring strategic stability and equal security for all states, strengthening the UN coordination role in the maintenance of international peace and security and settlement of regional conflicts, the struggle against poverty and diseases, creating conditions for sustainable development and prosperity of all peoples on our planet. It's clear that the search for a collective response to an unprecedented challenge thrown down to humanity by international terrorism has become the key subject of this session.

The 20th century has convincingly proved that the United Nations Organization has become the actual "center for concerted actions of nations " in maintaining peace, ensuring collective security, human rights and fundamental freedoms, and development of international cooperation.

Due to joint efforts of its member states our Organization for 55 years has been a universal forum capable of developing joint political approaches of the community of nations towards resolving the most burning and complicated problems of world development.

The UN role as the most representative international forum for discussing the whole range of problems faced by mankind, and developing approaches for the international community to deal with such problems, is becoming more significant year by year. Under the circumstances, according to President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rakhmonov, the task of strengthening the role of the UN as a center of international affairs has not lost its importance but rather has become more urgent.

During the 56th session of the UN General Assembly the Republic of Tajikistan will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of its UN membership. Since the first days of its international acknowledgment Tajikistan has been an active member of the United Nations. Cooperation with the United Nations in the first years of its independence helped Tajikistan to stop a civil conflict, to find an effective formula for peace and national accord and to start post-conflict peace building.

We will never forget that dramatic period and the selfless assistance and support that were rendered to us by UN member states and UN specialized agencies. Our special gratitude goes to Secretary-General Mr.Kofi Annan, whose contribution to the settlement of inter-Tajik conflict deserves greatest appreciation. In our view, the Nobel Prize awarded to the United Nations reflects, in particular, the success achieved under its leadership by the international community in the peaceful settlement of the inter-Tajik conflict and overcoming its consequences.

We are convinced that the unique experience of peacemaking gained by Tajikistan during the settlement of one of the most complicated military conflicts of modern times requires profound consideration and study. Practical usage of lessons learned from the settlement of the inter-Tajik conflict and the UN peacemaking activities will enable the international community to find new approaches towards resolving crises in other "hot spots" of the planet.

The variety of problems the United Nations deals with highlights the unique and universal role played by our Organization in regulating international affairs. Especially unique is its role in the field of international security. The Republic of Tajikistan calls for ensuring a strategic stability in the world based on maintaining the existing system of agreements and treaties on disarmament and a continued process of restricting armaments, both on a unilateral and multilateral basis.

Tajikistan, for its part, is prepared to make its contribution to this process. In cooperation with our neighboring states we actively work at the implementation of the initiative of establishing a Nuclear-Free Zone in Central Asia. We hope that a corresponding treaty will be ready shortly to be signed by Heads of our states, and expect all nuclear powers to become its guarantors.

Mr. President,

The appalling acts of terror perpetrated on 11 September forced the whole world to confront the issue of international terrorism and take a look at it from a different perspective. To deal with this problem it is necessary to analyze the whole set of new challenges and threats and to develop approaches towards creating a credible system of counteracting such challenges and threats.

May I remind you that immediately after the terrorist acts, President Emomali Rakhmonov conveyed, on behalf of the Tajik people, sincere condolences and sympathy to all those affected and to the families of the diseased, and expressed full solidarity with the people of the United states and readiness to closely cooperate with the US Government and governments of other states in uprooting international terrorism.

Tajikistan has always condemned terrorism in all of its manifestations and under no circumstances does it accept the use of terrorist acts as a means of achieving political and other goals. We reject any attempts to justify acts of terror by political, religious, philosophical, ethical or racial reasons.

International cooperation in combating terrorism and extremism are not abstract notions for our country. The Tajik people are very well aware of the methods and practices of international terrorism. In recent years Tajikistan more than once has been an object of terrorist activities performed from the outside. In addition to huge material losses such actions always entail lost lives and enormous human suffering. Importantly, terrorism attempts not only to derail the peace process in Tajikistan, it also attempts to destabilize the situation in a vast Asian region.

Acts of international terrorism constitute a serious threat to international peace and security. While combating terrorism in any region of our planet the international community should be guided by similar criteria and act in a resolute, sincere and consistent manner. All states must unconditionally and fully implement the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1373, including those which provide that terrorists and their sponsors should be deprived of financial or any other support and shelter.

We believe that one of the primary objectives this GA session should pursue is to consolidate the legal framework for interaction of states in the struggle against international terrorism under UN auspices. From our viewpoint, adoption, within the shortest possible time, of the Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism and the Convention on Combating Acts of Nuclear Terrorism could be of great significance, in this regard.

The President of Tajikistan on various occasions, in particular from this rostrum of the UN General Assembly, called for united efforts of the community of nations to combat "the international terrorist underground organization". Our country effectively interacts with other states in combating international terrorism, both on a bilateral- and a multilateral basis, in particular, within the CIN, "The Shanghai Organization for Cooperation", etc.

The United Nations, due to the unparallel experience it gained and the authority it enjoys in coordinating efforts of its member-states, is called upon to play a key role in establishing a global system of counteracting the threat of such a magnitude as international terrorism. It will be a time- and efforts-consuming process. However, the lofty and vitally important goal pursued during this struggle, putting an end to this dreadful phenomenon, is worthy of this endeavour.

Mr. President,

The five weeks that elapsed since the beginning of military operations in Afghanistan have proved that the Afghan problem can not be resolved by means of force alone. There is simply no military solution to it, and history has provided convincing evidence of this.

At the high-level meeting of 6+2 that was held yesterday and at today's meeting of the Security Council on Afghanistan the Tajikistan delegation emphasized that under the circumstances the Afghan people have acquired a unique chance of returning to peaceful and stable development. This is a chance for Afghanistan to become a full-fledged member of the international community and change its image of an accomplice of international terrorism and other criminal destructive destabilizing forces, an image that the country, regrettably, has acquired in recent years.

The Afghan nation is on the threshold of fundamental change. And the most crucial task the international community faces at the moment is to assist the Afghan people in using this opportunity. One can say this is a matter of honor for the international community. Everything must be done so that in the future Afghanistan will cease to be a threat to the Afghans themselves, to neighboring countries and to overall international security. Everything must be done in order to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms in Afghanistan, to stop a shameful discrimination against women and girls and to revive among the Afghan people hopes for a peaceful future and prosperity.

Tajikistan is prepared, in cooperation with other states concerned, and with UN coordination, to assist Afghanistan, a country with a great history, to acquire a dignified future and to restore its former attractive image in the eyes of the international community.

It is our belief that the future of Afghanistan must be determined exclusively by the Afghan people themselves. One of the indispensable conditions for returning Afghanistan to a peaceful life is ending interference from the outside and uniting, under UN auspices, efforts of the international community to accelerate the political settlement of the Afghan problem and rehabilitation of the country. Furthermore, it's essential that all hotbeds of terror, elements of organized crime and the structures and production potential of the narcotic business be eliminated.

It goes without saying that the territorial integrity of Afghanistan must be ensured. Only the establishment of a freely-chosen, efficient, broad-based, politically-balanced and multiethnic Afghan administration can achieve success in securing peace and stability in the country. It stands to reason that the Taliban movement as a political faction should not get a seat in a future Afghan administration, since it could be fraught with a danger of new metastasis of terror and narco business on the Afghan land.

We are profoundly concerned with the grave humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The refusal of the Taliban movement to meet the demand of the antiterrorist coalition to hand over the masterminds and organizers of the acts of terror in the US brought new sufferings to the Afghan people and increased the number of refuges and displaces persons. According to the UN Department of the High Commissioner on Refugees, among 22 million refugees the world over at least one out of six is a citizen of Afghanistan. According to the estimates by the humanitarian organizations, drought five years in a row has resulted in an incredible impoverishment of the total population, and the military operations and approaching winter have placed millions of Afghan people on the edge of extinction. The actual reality is such that the coming winter threatens millions of Afghan people with a death from starvation.

Right after the beginning of the US antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan the Tajikistan Government issued a special resolution expressing the readiness of Tajikistan to provide its airspace and related infrastructure for rendering humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan who have been suffering from the Taliban tyranny for a long time.

We call all member states and humanitarian institutions and organizations to render the Afghan people all the assistance they need, without delay. If this is not done the Afghan land will face a horrendous humanitarian tragedy. We should not allow this to happen.

Mr. President,

The policy of drug production and export pursued by the Taliban can be characterized as a policy against humanity. It is sad that Afghanistan, one of the cradles of world civilization and culture, one of the initiators of the UN establishment, has now become the world's largest producer of "white death".

According to the UN Department of Drug Control and Crime Prevention, a considerable decrease in the poppy crop in Afghanistan this year has not brought about a reduction of illicit heroin trafficking, either to neighboring countries or Europe. Huge amount of opium precursor stored in the Taliban controlled territory was used for heroin production. The amount of smuggled heroin that has been destroyed in Tajikistan alone this year is three times as much as it was last year, and accounts for tons of this deadly product.

As a result of the tragic events of 11 September a new situation has emerged in Afghanistan. The UN proved incapable of providing continued assistance to the Afghan farmers and exercising control over drug trafficking. The Taliban movement, for whom under the circumstances trading of narcotics has become one of the major source of income, took advantage of the situation. As a result, neighboring countries, Tajikistan among them, which are trying to block the drug trafficking from Afghanistan, experienced extra difficulties.

We understand that the narcotics threat emitting from Afghanistan can be eliminated only through a peaceful stable settlement of the situation in this country and through establishing a new coalition government that would ensure fulfillment of all of its international commitments. However, it will require time. For this reason, we extend our appreciation to the UN Department of Drug Control and Crime Prevention and to all those donor states who funded the anti-drug programs implemented by this Department and call on them to increase assistance to Tajikistan in its noble struggle against illicit trafficking of deadly substances from Afghanistan, a struggle that benefits the interests of millions of people in various countries. We, in Tajikistan, attach great importance to this struggle and view it as a considerable contribution to combating terrorism, since it helps to deprive the international terrorism of one of its major sources of financial support.

Mr. President,

The Millennium Summit and Millennium Assembly that became milestones in the international dialogue identified globalization as the major challenge to the international community. Unquestionably, being an objective economic process, globalization provides unprecedented opportunities for accelerated development. However, it is obvious that globalization's advantages are not enjoyed equally by all countries, and the balance of profits and losses definitely is in favor of the developed nations. The conclusion is obvious: for various reasons many developing countries and economies in transition run the risk of finding themselves "on the outskirts" of the major development of civilization.

Only by applying all available mechanisms of multilateral international institutions can one stop the widening of the gap in development and incomes between the rich and poor countries that was caused by globalization, and prevent an increase in poverty, unequal access to advanced technologies, cross-border crime and the spread of hidden forms of discrimination in int'l trade.

As for Tajikistan, it faces a long-term problem of recovering from the damage caused by the civil conflict. The Government is undertaking all feasible measures to strengthen civil society, to encourage economy rehabilitation and to create favorable conditions for a healthy and sustainable social and economic development. Our hope is that the participants in the Consultative Meeting of Donor States and International Organizations, held in Tokyo in May 2001, will fulfill their commitments to Tajikistan, which will channel additional resources to rehabilitation projects. This will increase employment and considerably reduce poverty.

The problem of combating poverty will remain one of the priority items for the Tajikistan Government in the short term. The targeted comprehensive program that is currently being implemented in the country envisages, in particular, measures to create new jobs, to improve primary education, to ease access to loans and micro-credits, to enhance development of rural regions. We carefully study the experience of other countries in their struggle against poverty. The progress made by some states in this area, particularly, by China, makes us optimistic.

However, a considerable external debt prevents Tajikistan from resolving the poverty problem. The debt also hampers the post-conflict peace building process and poses a serious threat to social and economic stability. We are convinced that in order to support the developing countries and economies in transit in their struggle against poverty it is important for the international community to be more dynamic and flexible in easing the debt burden.

Mr. President,

In recent years we have witnessed an increasing number of large-scale natural disasters, among them, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and forest fires. Human casualties and material losses caused by them have become a serious destabilizing factor. For two years in a row Tajikistan has suffered a large-scale drought, unprecedented in the 20-th century. One third of our cotton and grains crops were destroyed by drought on huge sown areas. Cattle-raising and animal husbandry products have sharply declined. Shortages of water, including fresh water, have increased.

We express our gratitude to the Secretary-General, UN specialized agencies and donor states for their immediate and generous response to the Appeal made by Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmonov in connection with the unprecedented drought in the spring and summer of this year.

The concerned collective response by the international community to natural disasters is evidence of the increasing effectiveness of available international instruments in the area that, for the most part, have been formulated by the UN. Meanwhile, the outcome of the UN International Decade of Reducing Natural Disasters has shown the need to increasingly use national opportunities and enhance international cooperation in the field.

Under globalization natural and technical disasters demand an adequate global response. It is essential that the community of nations unite its efforts in preventing natural disasters and eliminating their consequences, in training personnel, exchanging experience and results of scientific and applied research. This will allow coordinated approaches to develop with respect to issues of global concern such as the green house effect, depletion of the ozone layer, endangered bio-diversity and desertification. All these issues are directly linked with environmental protection that is global by its nature.

Among the ecological challenges of the 21-st century the problem of maintaining water balance and providing access to fresh water have been identified as one of the most urgent issues. The population of Earth is increasing day by day, the need for fresh water is also increasing, while natural water resources are not. One of six people on Earth does not have access to fresh water today. The danger of diminishing world fresh water resources is quite obvious, and constitutes a threat to the environment and all living creatures on Earth.

Tajikistan, which possesses considerable water resources in Central Asia, greatly appreciates all efforts to deal with the fresh water problem at all levels the world over. We express our satisfaction with the fact that the initiative of Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmonov to proclaim the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater received a wide-scale support from the community of nations. We do believe that preparation and holding of events dedicated to the International Year of Freshwater, both at the international and national levels, will help us all to find answers to the global challenges faced by human beings and environment, to come closer to the solution of the strategic need to provide access to freshwater to every person on Earth.

Distinguished Mr. President,

With the beginning of a new century the number of problems we face has not diminished. The whole history of United Nations' activities has shown that the best way to deal with difficulties is to take collective actions based on an agreed upon platform. We do have such a platform. This is the Millennium Declaration approved by the Heads of our states by global consensus in autumn of 2000. The task that lies before us, the United Nations, is to mobilize energy and resources to achieve our common goals in meeting the challenges of globalization. The peoples of the planet believe our Organization to be efficient and effective We can not fail to meet their expectations.

Thank you for attention