Check against delivery




Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me, first of all, to join others in congratulating Honorable Julian Robert Hunte, the Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, on his election as the Chairman of the General Assembly and wish him success in this important position. I would also like to extend our words of appreciation to Mr. Jan Kavan for efficient organization of the 57th session of the UN General Assembly.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to outline the position of Uzbekistan on the key issues on the agenda of our forum.

It is well known that after the events of September 11, 2001, the contemporary world has been on the verge of fundamental transformation caused by new challenges and threats to security in many regions of the planet. This harsh reality unequivocally increases the responsibility of the United Nations as a unique international institution whose role cannot be substituted by anyone or anything. It also increases the responsibility of each and every nation to preserve peace and stability in countering the threats to modern civilization like international terrorism, extremism, and the ever-growing scale of drug trafficking.

Being in immediate proximity to Afghanistan, we - the nations of Central Asia - know firsthand what these threats are and what they can bring to the world, if timely steps are not taken to prevent and eliminate such threats at their very core. In this context, it is difficult to overestimate the significance of actions of the international antiterrorist coalition led by the United States of America and of the International Security Assistance Force, which are doing so much to revive and restore peace and stability in long-suffering Afghanistan.

In the meantime, despite the presence of pre-requisites for a full-scale peace process in Afghanistan and sustained development of the region, the peace in the country is still fragile. We believe that the resources of international community, major international organizations, and donor-nations as well as the capabilities of neighboring countries should be engaged on a greater level, as they are essential in the post-conflict reconstruction.

Afghanistan should become a harmoniously integrated part of Central Asia and this will positively contribute to the enhancement of stability and security in the country and region.

In view of the exceptional importance of socioeconomic rehabilitation of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan is rendering assistance to the Afghan people in reconstruction of damaged roads and construction of new ones, as well as supplying electricity to the northern provinces of Afghanistan. Uzbek specialists have built eight large bridges on Mazari-Sharif - Kabul road.

Uzbekistan is also providing assistance in delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Over one million tons of humanitarian cargo has been shipped through our country’s territory. We will continue to cooperate with international organizations, first of all with the UN, in this regard.

Lessons learned in recent years have confirmed that overcoming the consequences of terrorism and extremism is more difficult than their timely prevention. Moreover, an aggressive drive of terrorists to acquire weapons of mass destruction has become a new reality. International community should confront these far-reaching plans by an effective and streamlined system of measures to prevent access by terrorists to arms, new technologies, and dual use materiel.

Uzbekistan welcomes the progress made in the development of legal instruments aimed at combating international terrorism. Tangible results, however, can be achieved only by creating a global system of comprehensive cooperation. That is why we support the work of the Counter Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council. We are confident that Regional Antiterrorism Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, opened for collaboration with other similar centers, is an important component of global antiterrorist system.

To prevent emergence of threats of international terrorism and extremism, it is important to confront international centers of extremism and dissemination of the ideology of fanaticism. These centers, despite current measures to isolate them, still possess substantial financial resources and capacity to influence the hearts and minds of the youth, and to mobilize the youth for their far-reaching objectives.

In addition to the measures being implemented today, it is desirable to establish a special UN Program that would promote education and awareness in the youth while developing its strong immunity to extremist ideology.

Mr. President,

Uzbekistan maintains that the United Nations can and must play a more significant role in resolving the most urgent issues of today’s world. For this purpose, first and foremost, the UN programs must become more concrete and effective so that they can target better the real needs of regions. In this regard, I would like to voice the following views.

First. Uzbekistan unequivocally supports further development of regional integration, and considers the Organization of Central Asian Cooperation (OCAC) as a crucial mechanism of multilateral collaboration of this region’s states. We consider its economic component, as well as the establishment of water, energy, transport, and communication consortia within OCAC’s framework, as a priority.

The need to overcome the isolation of the region in terms of transport and communication is of foremost importance among the objectives vital for sustainable development of the Central Asian states. In this context, I would particularly like to draw your attention to the multilateral initiative to establish a Trans-Afghan transport corridor, which would provide landlocked nations that encounter difficulties in accessing world markets with new access to seaports. Undoubtedly, the implementation of this project would boost trade and economic ties, and fundamentally change geopolitical and economic realities in the region.

We believe it is a high time for relevant UN agencies, first of all, UNDP, UNIDO and ESCAP, to develop programs aimed at increasing the volume of aid to the region’s states and Afghanistan for the purpose of developing transport infrastructure and providing real support in communications projects.

Second. Uzbekistan advocates for strict compliance with global nuclear non-proliferation regime by all nations. Today, in our view, the significance of the initiative of Uzbekistan and other countries of the region to establish a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia has become paramount. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General and the UN Department for Disarmament in supporting the Expert Group, which is currently working on the draft treaty.

The process of establishment of the Zone is nearly complete, and to legitimize it, Uzbekistan calls on all permanent UN Security Council members to develop a consolidated position with the region’s states on the provisions of the draft treaty and its protocol.

Third. Central Asia is facing a wide-scale assault by international drug cartels, which are using the destructive power of international terrorism to protect drug routes. Under these conditions, there is a need for concerted efforts and effective international programs under the auspices of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

We believe that the establishment in Tashkent of a Regional Information and Coordination Center to Combat Transboundary Crime proposed by President Islam Karimov during the visit of UN Secretary-General to Uzbekistan in October 2002, could become a tangible contribution by the UN. We count on the support of the UN and donor countries in making this initiative a reality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, UN faces the need to adapt its mechanisms to the realities of the new world, which, we think, is dependent upon prompt completion of the process of reform of the Organization.

Reorganization of the Security Council so that it would reflect current realities, is of primary expedience. The expanded Security Council should include both developed as well as developing nations. We reiterate our call for inclusion of Germany and Japan in the Security Council as its permanent members.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would like to note that the principally new approaches taken by the UN to the realities and prospects of Central Asia will ultimately meet the fundamental interests of entire world community.

I am confident that this session will provide a new momentum to the joint efforts of the UN member-states in countering the threats and challenges of global and regional security.

Thank you for your attention.