Exclusive interview of Dodojon Ruziev, Head of Jumhuriyat newspaper’s Legal Department with Sirojidin Aslov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan
– Dear Mr. Aslov, it is obvious that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a leading position and plays a key role in implementation of independent Tajikistan’s foreign policy. Nowadays, we are on the eve of celebration of our State Independence. What are the achievements of our foreign policy?
– Tajikistan’s foreign policy is the product of independence period in its full sense, the founder and designer of which is the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon. Establishment of relations with the foreign world and introduction of Tajikistan as an independent country in international arena was one of the most important and currently most challenging aspects of state building at the beginning of our independence.
The Tajik Leader Emomali Rahmon for the first time delivered a statement at the United Nations in September 1993, in which he introduced to the world community Tajikistan’s constructive plans and desires, peace-loving political objectives, its intention to achieve national unity as well as strengthening and expansioning of cooperation with all friendly and peace-loving countries of the world. The Republic of Tajikistan, by acknowledging documents regulating international relations, including the United Nation’s Charter, Helsinki Final Act, Paris Declaration and other documents, established the foundation of its domestic and foreign policies and declared that human being and protection of its rights and freedoms are high values regardless of their nationality, religion, race and sex.
Tajikistan, during 25 years of its independence, by reestablishing mutually rewarding cooperation with countries of the world, international and regional organizations, gradually strengthened its position in the international arena. Currently, Tajikistan has successful relations with countries in various regions, such as the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Central Asia, Asia, Middle East, Europe and America based on Open Doors policy.
It is gratifying that thanks to our successful efforts the Republic of Tajikistan was elected as a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) on the 14th of June of this year. This is another achievement of our foreign policy, indicator of reputation and prestige of our country and top leadership before the international organizations.
– I would like to continue our discussion on this fresh achievement of our country. Could you please, provide brief information about the UN ECOSOC and tell me what is the privilege of our membership in this reputable institution?
– The Economic and Social Council is one of the six main agencies of the United Nations, operating since 1945 on the basis of the UN Charter. ECOSOC is a UN real platform for designing and discussing innovative ideas for sustainable development. The Council is mandated to call on special sessions in case of manmade emergencies to discuss them. This Council has more than 70% of human and financial resources of all UN agencies at its disposal to implement its mandate.
Tajikistan considers the ECOSOC as a main international platform for discussion of socio- economic and environmental issues and wishes strengthening of this Agency’s role in coordination of activities aimed at settling urgent issues, as well as ensuring balanced linkage between three dimensions of sustainable development.
– As you outlined, after establishing peace and stability in the country and start of a new period in Tajikistan’s foreign policy, the country’s top leadership designed the Open Doors policy. I would like to ask you to tell me what is the outcome of this policy so far?
– Open Doors policy is the core of Tajikistan’s foreign policy. This policy was declared concurrently with the adoption of Tajikistan’s Foreign Policy Concept, which identified the principles of our country’s international relations in the new period after revival of peace and stability. Indeed, the first decade of Tajikistan’s independence was spent for mitigation of situation and strengthening of governance foundations. Having passed through this period, Tajikistan opened its doors to all countries of the world. The Tajik Leader Emomali Rahmon, as the person determining our foreign policy, by declaring Open Doors policy, started the process of international relations to introduce Tajikistan to the world and encourage foreign investments for reconstruction of the country and this policy has been successful so far. At the beginning, some politicians were of opinion that perhaps, the Open Doors policy would not be that suitable for Tajikistan in its post-war period, and it would be reasonable if the country could remain close for a certain period for the sake of stability and security and prevention of outsiders’ intervention. However, Emomali Rahmon, who knew the internal situation and the world’s status-quo better than any other person did, he remained firm in his position and continued the Open Doors policy.
The experience over several years proved that the Open Doors policy was the best option for Tajikistan in running its foreign policy activities due to its location in one of the difficult regions of the world. This policy declares readiness of Tajikistan for cooperation with all countries of the world, based on equality and mutual interests. Nowadays, we see the effect of these multidimensional relations in various areas. The region’s countries also acknowledge the logics of Open Doors policy and consider it worthwhile to follow. It was particularly this policy that our country managed not only to strengthen its position, but also by identifying its specific way of diplomacy, proactively participate in settling regional and global issues.
– Afghanistan is of particular importance in our foreign policy. Mr. President emphasized for several times that Afghanistan’s stability is the Region’s stability. In this regard, what can be predicted in terms of the settlement of Afghanistan’s case and in what case it would be possible to hope to this country’s sustainable future?
– The ties, we have reestablished between our countries, are really unbreakable, like our joint values. The Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon constantly emphasizes the value of full-fledged security and stability in Afghanistan and also importance of expansion of regional and global efforts for socio-economic revival of this country from high tribunes both nationally and internationally.
In the current sensitive period, particularly, given the activation of terrorist and extremist groups like the Islamic State in Afghanistan, wider and practical cooperation of our countries is of utmost importance. We well understand the key role of this neighboring country in ensuring security of the whole Central Asian region, and support the world community’s initiatives to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. However, we should remember that this country’s future is in the hands of its people.
The process of negotiations in Afghanistan should be followed seriously, and at the same time, its law enforcement and security forces should be supported by the world community both financially and technically. Finally, countries of the world have to accept the reality that noble people of Afghanistan have been victims of the conflict of interests of superpowers over the last four decades and they have the right to the support of the international community in ensuring peace for them. This, first of all, is the task and responsibility of the contemporary world towards this country. Everybody of us should know that further continuation of instability in Afghanistan can cause a serious challenge for the whole region or even the world. We should not allow the extremist groups abuse the instability in this neighboring country and transfer some of its regions into the center of moral and physical training of extremist forces.
– My next question is related to your participation at the Session of the High-level Panel on Water (April 21, 2016, New York), which our President is also member to. What issues did this Session discuss?
– Tajikistan is recognized as the country leading global water issues over the recent decades. It is worthwhile noting that the important and milestone starting point to initiative of our country on international water resources management is the implementation of the initiative of the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, His Excellency Emomali Rahmon to declare “International Year of Fresh Water 2003” and adoption of the UNGA Resolution on this issue. Tajikistan’s further initiatives in this process, such as declaring International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015 and “International Year of Water Cooperation 2013” shows our country’s continued proactive participation in implementation of the United Nations’ Water Agenda. With a view to continuing the international community’s efforts in settling water and sanitation issues and overcoming shortcomings in the process of implementation of International Decade for Action “Water for Life”, during the 7th World Water Forum held in April 2015 in Taegu, Korea, our President drew the attention of the participants to Tajikistan’s new initiative – International Decade “Water for Sustainable Development”. In addition to this, the Tajik Leader, in his statement at the Opening Ceremony of the High-level International Conference on Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” held on 9-11 June 2015 in Dushanbe, reiterated this initiative and called on the international community to support it.
The Session, you referred to, was held on the 21st of April of this year in New York with participation of the UN Secretary General, President of the World Bank and special representatives of the countries – members of the High-level Panel-Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Mexico, Hungary, Netherlands, Senegal, Tajikistan and Jordan. The Session discussed the issues of water tariff, quality, price, water scarcity, as well as financing of projects and programs in this area. It also discussed the mechanisms of the future sessions and meetings of the High-level Panel and coordination with other agencies and initiatives on water and sanitation.
– My last question will be about the High-level International Symposium on SDG 6 and Targets, which will commence on 9 August in Dushanbe. What issues will be discussed at this Symposium? What is its main objective?
– This International Forum subtitled “Ensuring that No One is Left Behind in Access to Water and Sanitation” to be held on 9-11 August in the capital of our country – Dushanbe, is being arranged by the joint initiative of the Government of Tajikistan and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). Government officials and decision makers on water resources management issues, experts from regional and international organizations, academia, scholars and entrepreneurs, as well as civil society representatives will participate in it. The Symposium will discuss the issues related to the national and local governments’ capacity in governance of integrated water resources management, access to water, hygiene and sanitation and promotion of international cooperation and partnership on water.
The Forum’s main objective is to find out the ways of implementation of SDG 6 and Targets, as well as establishing framework for the new International Decade “Water for Sustainable Development” proposed by the honorable President of the Republic of Tajikistan. The ways of implementation of these goals will be discussed at eight (8) thematic sessions and will be reflected at the Symposium’s final document. This final document will be introduced to all UN member states during the brief presentation about the results of the Symposium at the UN Headquarters in September of this year.