New York, 18 September 2002

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

It is my great pleasure to join in the heart-felt congratulations addressed to you in connection with your election to the high post of President of the General Assembly. Undoubtedly, you will apply your extensive life and professional experience to benefit this General Assembly session, so that it will give a new impetus to the efforts of our universal Organization. Year by year, the issues that the United Nations must address become more and more challenging. The need for a universal organization has become especially urgent over the last decade. It is understandable. The "cold war" has ended and humanity has entered a new stage of development.

Addressing global issues and challenges through common efforts has become one essential dimension of this new stage. Another distinctive feature is the constructive nature of such efforts. The third one is a common understanding that all these efforts, coupled with democratization of both internal societies and international relations, should bring about higher living standards to the UN member states. The United Nations can and must play a significant role in the coordination of national, regional and international efforts in the age of globalization.

Tajikistan has been a UN member state for the ten years of its new history. As the Tajik state was being established, a fratricidal conflict was sweeping the country. However, over the last five years peace and stability have prevailed in Tajikistan. Respect for Tajik history and traditions, for human rights, an atmosphere of tolerance toward diverse opinions and views and focus on major concerns of the nation - all these are the fundamental components of the peace process in Tajikistan, whose lessons could be applied for resolving conflicts in other "hotbeds" of the world.

Tajikistan, which has suffered to achieve its democracy, today is creating a secular society, has a substantial foundation for its development and looks into the future with optimism. This optimistic outlook is determined by President Emomali Rakhmonov's rational and carefully considered policy of establishing good-natured relations with Tajikistan's neighbors, and by the assistance and support that is received from the international community.

The Tajik people extend special appreciation to the United Nations, which during the time of our hard trials demonstrated, in the most effective manner, its peacemaking and humanitarian capacity. It is in Tajikistan that the UN, in close cooperation with the Tajik Government, is practicing its capacity to strengthen peace and stability. We are satisfied with the performance of the UN Office on Peace Building in our country and believe that the experience it gained in Tajikistan can be used for the benefit of other states.

Rehabilitation of the economy, eradication of poverty, increasing the living standard and job creation - these are the issues that still are referred to as the most urgent problems faced by our country. Tajikistan is one of those states whose social and economic development depends, to a great extend, on a common and comprehensive approach of the international community toward the issues of combating poverty, financing development, ensuring an equitable international trade system, eliminating ecological threats and resolving demographic problems. In this context we invariably favor further enhanccment of the role of the UN as the core international forum for developing such a common approach.

Over the last few months the UN member states have achieved some progress in this area. Overall, we favorably assess the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development held in Monterrey, Mexico, and have been looking forward to the implementation of its resolutions.

The environmental issues and issues of sustainable development rank among the top items on the UN agenda and are deservedly becoming a significant component of multilateral diplomacy. The World Summit on Sustainable Development, recently held in Johannesburg, South Africa, became one of the major events in this area. At the Summit the world top policy makers analyzed the progress in the implementation of the "Agenda 21" over the last ten years. The concept of sustainable development that emerged as a result of the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio-de-Janeiro in 1992 was further elaborated and acquired a new meaningful content. The international community is faced by the task of meeting the challenges set up at the forum in Johannesburg. The accomplishment of this task could give us hope that problems of poverty eradication, environmental protection and ensuring social equity can be resolved in a comprehensive manner.

Our intention is to make a feasible contribution to the implementation of the World Summit resolutions. We do hope that international cooperation in this area will fully account for the specific conditions and economic capacities of the countries from different groups, particularly, of the developing countries with economies-in-transition.

Over recent years we have witnessed a dynamic process in connection with the UN Framwork Convention on Climate Change, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention on Desertification. The number of UN member states that ratified the Kyoto Protocol and Cartagena Protocol is ever increasing. The interaction of the countries in addressing the issues on desertification and degradation of land is gaining in momentum.

Tajikistan has been an active participant in these important processes. We believe it is essential to consistently continue coordination of the Conventions' implementation in order to avoid duplication and ensure effective allocation of limited international resources.

One of the most valuable assets on our planet is water resources: they are at the core of both ecological balance and economic prosperity. They are an indispensable prerequisite for food production, improvement of society welfare and growth of economies. However, even today many regions of the world are faced with a lack of freshwater. According to the UN Secretary General, if the current practices of water usage persist, in the short-term perspective every third citizen on Earth will be living in a country experiencing so called «water stress».

The urgency of the problem encouraged Tajikistan to propose the initiative of proclaiming the year 2003 as the International Year of Freshwater. We do believe that the preparation for this year and various events planned within its framework, in particular, the 3`d World Water Forum in Japan in March 2003, will give the UN member states a good opportunity to exchange the experiences they gained while applying successful patterns of water resources management and searching for needed finances and resources.

While advancing the initiative for the International Year of Fresh Water we expected that the ultimate and major impact of the events to be held in 2003 would be the focus on the issues of everybody's access to freshwater and diminishing the possibility of conflicts related to water shortage. In its turn, this will make a specific and substantial contribution to achieving the goals of sustainable development.

Mr. President,

It is impossible to achieve the goals of sustainable development unless the economic component of globalization is given due attention and discrimination in economic relations is eliminated. In an environment where wealthy countries benefit from globalization and get even richer, while the poor counties get even poorer, social tension increases and causes political extremism, including its most extreme form - terrorism. Counteracting the threat of terror is a long-term endeavor, since this phenomenon, alien to human civilization, has a multi dimensional nature and deep roots. Other than uniting the will, applying military resources and strengthening the international legal framework, the anti-terrorist coalition established after 11 September 2001, must direct its efforts towards elimination of the primary reasons for terrorism that can be traced to unsettled conflicts and outrageous social and economic inequities.

Tajikistan actively participates in the common efforts to ensure a unified international legal framework for combating terrorism. Our country has become a participant to the most universal antiterrorist conventions. We totally support the activities of the Security Council in this area. We highly appreciate the role of the Antiterrorist Committee that was set up in compliance with Resolution 1373 (2001), and that under the leadership of ??? Sir Jeremy Grystock, has become a core item for establishing an unprecedented global system for counteracting international terrorism. The Security Council, according to the authorities conferred to it by the UN Charter, shall continue to play an active role in preventing the threat to international peace and security, emanating from terrorism.

It is essential to continue using all kinds of political, economic, financial and humanitarian measures in order to develop a comprehensive approach towards eradication of international terrorism. It is important that the development of fundamental principles of combating terrorism be enhanced at the international legal level. In this connection we expect the General Assembly to adopt shortly a Comprehensive Convention on Combating International Terrorism, as well as to complete negotiating and adopt a Comprehensive International Convention on Combating Acts of Nuclear Terrorism.

We believe the time has come to convene in 2003 a Special General Assembly session for discussing all aspects of combating terrorism and adopting consolidated decisions.

At the same session we could also discuss the progress made over five years on the implementation of the decisions of the 20th special session dedicated to illicit production, sales and trafficking of narcotics. In view of an ever increasing drug threat we regard a creation of an antinarcotics coalition of states as an issue of critical importance. The war against the international terrorist underground will not be effective until the international community makes substantial progress in its struggle against drug cartels and narcotics barons.

Future global system of counteracting the terrorist and narcotics threats can not be created without support from regional and subregional structures and institutions that have been active in this and other areas of international cooperation.

The increase in number of regional organizations and mechanisms, as well as their strengthening, not only reflects an objective need for filling in "the niches" in the interaction of neighboring states, but rather an urgent necessity to establish additional channels for conducting
a dialogue and exchanging views on most burning issues. The large-scale operations on liberating the Afghan people from the repressive Taliban regime and measures aimed at restoration of peace and stability in a ravaged-by-war Afghanistan, have demonstrated what can be accomplished when the United Nations and regional organizations combine their efforts.

Today, Afghanistan, our friendly neighbor, continues to go through a complicated process of achieving a national accord, establishing stable institutions of government and a stable political regime. The revival of an independent and peaceful Afghanistan is taking place under hard conditions. There still exists an urgent problem of providing security. The humanitarian situation also remains alarming. However, what has been accomplished by the Government of Hamid Karzai, is very impressive.

It is important that the UN continue to coordinate common efforts of the international community in reinforcing the course of restoration and rehabilitation of post-war Afghanistan, toward complete elimination of the hotbeds of international terrorism on its territory and toward eradication of religious extremism and the narcotics threat. In this context the UN Mission in Afghanistan faces serious challenges. We believe it is necessary to continue increasing the economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, and not stop at what has already been accomplished. The Government of Tajikistan will continue to contribute to the revival of Afghanistan thorough building its relations with the friendly Afghan people on the basis of friendship, mutual respect and multi faceted cooperation for the benefit of our countries and regional security.

Mr. President,

As for the reform of the United Nations, we are firmly convinced that it should be focused on improving the efficiency of special UN institutions and on the implementation of development projects. We think it important that the UN reconsider the allocation of its resources, that it stop implementing programs and projects of low effectiveness and instead commit the freed funds to new priorities.

Neither global challenges nor most urgent regional issues can be successfully dealt with unless the whole UN system is strengthened and its core role in international affairs is reinforced. To achieve this in practice one has to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to reform the UN internal system and to recruit personnel with high professional skills. The UN member states should assist the Secretary-General in his efforts to expand the capacity of the Secretariat in performing peace-keeping operations, preventing and resolving conflicts and contributing to post-conflict peace building. The reform also implies further efforts toward democratization of the UN system as a whole, so that the capacity and support of small countries, no matter how numerous their problems are, can be united with those of large states.

The year that has past since the 56`h session of the General Assembly has convincingly demonstrated that the UN, with its 190 member states, is irreplaceable in dealing with international affairs. As never before the UN has proved its ability to meet the most complicated challenges faced by humanity. It is our conviction that by cooperating with the UN we will be able to create in the twenty first century a world without destructive wars, a world that will become secure and prosperous.