58th SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
S T A T E M E N T
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TAJIKISTAN
H.E. MR. EMOMALI RAKHMONOV
30 SEPTEMBER 2003
Distinguished Mr. President,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, exactly ten years ago the Head of the Republic
of Tajikistan for the first time addressed world leaders
from the high rostrum of the General Assembly of the United
At that moment, after the collapse of
the Soviet Union, our country was making first steps as
an equal member of the community of nations.
The establishment of Tajikistan as a
modern democratic secular state coincided with the necessity
to search for our own ways of efficient interaction in
the rapidly changing world. Against the background of
the inter-Tajik conflict we, within a short period of
time, had to find effective methods of dealing with the
huge political, social and economic problems of the transitional
Today, full with pride in the peace
loving, industrious and talented people of Tajikistan
I am reporting to you, distinguished representatives of
the world’s countries, that we have emerged from
the toughest trial that befell our country, with dignity.
It stands to reason that Tajikistan,
its people and its statehood, managed to withstand the
trial largely due to support of the international community.
The USA and Russia, China and Japan, India and Iran, the
European Union and the Central Asia states, alongside
with many other large and small countries, rendered support
to the young Tajik state during that dramatic period of
A special role in this process was played
by the United Nations.
Tajikistan highly appreciates this support
and in its turn is striving to be a responsible member
of the international community.
In terms of a world or national history
ten years may not be sufficient time for summing up the
accomplishments. However, the comprehension of multi-faceted
and dramatic events that took place at the end of the
20th century and of those that happened early in this
century, as well as the lessons that can be drawn from
them, could be very instructional for all of us, as we
are driven by a common aspiration to permanently improve
the world’s structure.
It is quite obvious for Tajikistan that
the principle conclusion to be drawn can be reduced to
the following: in the future there should prevail a democracy
within the state sovereign boundaries and international
political and economic relations should be democraticized.
The lesson drawn is that the process
of establishing a democratic society has certain features
that are common for many countries, but that in each nation
this process takes on a unique character. Our own experience
confirms that today there are no countries or peoples
who do not accept democracy or who are not prepared for
it. The peoples of Asia cherish the same values as the
peoples of Europe, America or Africa.
It is also obvious that specific conditions,
as well as each nation’s historical heritage and
cultural traditions, surely will influence the speed and
forms of the democratic process in each country. This
very subject became an issue for a substantial discussion
at the 5th Conference of New and Restored Democracies
that was recently held in Mongolia. We believe that the
results of this discussion will give a new impetus to
the democratic processes everywhere, including Asia.
Establishing a democracy should not
be regarded as a simple process, but rather as a most
complicated evolutionary one. In this sense the experience
gained by the developed democracies is really priceless.
However, even they are still trying
to optimally balance the interests of a state and an individual,
to find an answer to the question of how to meet the primary
needs of their citizens while accepting the primacy of
the right to private property in a market economy.
The people of Tajikistan won their independence
and democracy through enormous suffering and deprivation.
Peace prevailed in our country only after we realized
that a national accord, as the primary goal of society,
should take precedence over political ambitions and military
confrontation, and that our society should not only be
united by a strong desire to survive, but be also driven
by a strong belief in its creative capacity.
It would be more prudent to see a future
Tajikistan as a developed democracy and a prospering secular
state backed up by a solid civil society. During his visit
to Tajikistan Mr. Kofi Annan could see the tangible results
of UN peacekeeping activities and the striking change
in the mood of the Tajik people, who now look with confidence
to the future of their children and their country.
We are convinced that the democratic
processes in Tajikistan will gain momentum. We have all
of the prerequisites for this. The restoration of peace
in Tajikistan in 1997 laid down a solid foundation for
a secular democratic state. The constitution was adopted
by a national referendum, the bodies of power have been
performing efficiently at all levels, reflecting the whole
spectrum of a busy political life of the country.
It does not imply that our young democracy
is not vulnerable, or that nothing threatens it. Being
a President who knows the aspirations and difficulties
of the people who entrusted me with such a high office,
I will be sincere and share with you some of my considerations.
They concern both our internal and external affairs, including
the United Nations.
First of all, we have no right to discredit
the idea of a democracy, with which the Tajik society
still associates its hope for a better life.
However, experience shows that no simple formulas are
available for translating a political process into a developed
economy. Moreover, the experience gained by Tajikistan,
convincingly demonstrates the need for a comprehensive
post-conflict rehabilitation. Improvement of practical
results in the area of a post-conflict rehabilitation
should be regarded by the UN agencies and the international
community as an issue of top priority. Areas of conflict
should be transformed into areas of stability, and should
be used as examples for preventing new tragedies.
The word given by the donors should be not only promising
but rather responsible. The central coordinating role
in this respect should, undoubtedly, be played by the
We are deeply grateful to the numerous friends of Tajikistan,
including the international finance institutions, for
their support. We attach special significance to our cooperation
with the UNDP and other UN agencies. We regard as important
the work done by the UN Office on Peace Building, which
assists the international community in a better understanding
of the positive processes in our country, its interests
Now, at the new level of development that Tajikistan has
embarked on we especially appreciate that kind of assistance
that will help us achieve our priority goals. Today, as
never before, Tajikistan needs assistance and practical
support that could be instrumental in getting our extensive
human and nature resources employed in the most efficient
manner. We are committed to making our economy up-to-date
and competitive, so that in the future, along with other
accomplishments, we can eradicate poverty.
It’s regretful to note that in
spite of numerous positive achievements in international
affairs in recent years, the international community still
is incapable of dealing with poverty to the fullest possible
extent. Though poverty was on the agenda of numerous conferences
and forums, no specific actions towards eliminating poverty
have followed. The ever increasing gap between the poor
and wealthy countries is becoming a challenge of global
dimensions and is threatening to become a major obstacle
to a harmonic development both of individual countries
and the community of nations as a whole.
Surely, the burden of addressing social
and economic problems rests primarily on our own shoulders.
However, it is quite fair for developing
countries to expect that they can be relieved from external
difficulties associated with integration into the world
economy. In our case these expectations are related to
the opportunity to have access to investments, markets
and high technologies. Many of the problems that became
issues at the international conference on land locked
countries are relevant to ours, particularly, closed borders
which create barriers to a free transfer of goods, services,
capital and labor.
Let me refer to one of those issues,
to the issue of freshwater. We are happy that the initiative
of the Republic of Tajikistan to proclaim the International
Year of Freshwater, 2003 was enthusiastically supported
by the international community. Experience has shown that
it was a timely decision that met the expectations of
all of us.
Shortage of freshwater is one of the
most urgent concerns of the new millennium. The need in
water for producing sufficient food has been increasing
year by year.
To support the above statement I will
cite the following numbers: 1. 2 billion people do not
have access to freshwater. Annually, more than five million
people die from water-related diseases. According to the
estimates made by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
meeting the food needs of the growing world population
in thirty years will require an increase in food production
by 60% from today’s level. By 2030 one out of five
developing countries will be experiencing enormous difficulties
due to current and future water shortage.
In order to support economic growth and lessen the poverty
burden, one needs significant investments for both updating
technologies and improving water resources management.
Guided by the Water Appeal adopted on 1st September 2003
by the participants of the International Freshwater Forum
in Dushanbe, I propose that the years of 2005 through
2015 be proclaimed as the International Decade of Freshwater.
The adoption by the General Assembly
of a resolution on this vital matter will logically extend
the idea of the International Year of Freshwater and will
be in accord with the provisions of the Millennium Declaration,
which set a goal of halving by 2015 the number of people
that lack access to freshwater and sanitation.
A Freshwater decade will allow the international
community to keep focusing on the issue of shortage of
water, this common heritage of the mankind which is of
fundamental importance for preserving life on Earth and
ensuring sustainable development.
It is known that terrorism also poses
a threat to democracy. Being for ten years sort of “a
buffer zone” for expanding terror in Central Asia
and other countries, Tajikistan has first hand experience
with this issue. Just for this reason, Tajikistan has
been an active participant in all of the measures and
efforts aimed at uprooting this evil.
We are equally resolute in condemning
and counteracting all types of terrorism, no matter what
motives could be behind the violence and frightening of
innocent people. This battle can be won only through united
efforts. We should not allow any selectiveness or double
However, it is known that one can not curb terrorism only
by military methods. It would be equally wrong to believe
that this phenomenon is rooted in a single religion or
culture. Terrorism does not only accept a democracy. It
takes advantage of injustices and people’s hurt
feelings, of arrogance of some and a feeling of humiliation
Terrorism shows up in a place where one “absolute
truth”, in quotation marks, is confronted by another
one. And though terrorism has nothing to do with the conflict
of civilizations, the extension of a dialogue among civilizations
that was begun by the General Assembly in 1998 would contribute
to a better mutual understanding, the shortage of which
is quite obvious.
Dialogue is always more constructive
than war. Dialogue conducted in all directions will liberate
international relations from fear and mistrust. Dialogue
will allow to make international cooperation constructive
Due to consolidated efforts, a severe
blow was struck at terrorism as an organized phenomenon,
but it has not been uprooted as yet. One of the lessons
drawn in the course of this battle, in which Tajikistan
is an active participant, is that international terrorism
does not have an ideology, nor a nation, nor a homeland.
Yet another thing has become known:
terrorism can not exist without financial and logistical
support. It is in this venue that a democracy, besides
terror, is faced with another threat, which is no less
frightening, that is the threat of narcotics aggression.
The illicit trade of drugs has become one of the major
sources of financing for international terrorism. The
urgency and magnitude of the problems related to drugs
and their illicit trafficking is vivid proof of a global
menace that endangers international stability and security
as a whole.
Tajikistan has an extensive border with
Afghanistan, and finds itself in a position between the
world’s major producer of opium and heroin and drug
consuming countries, to which international organized
crime is smuggling its “white death”.
As President of the country, I set as
an objective resolutely curbing drug trafficking via Tajikistan,
and I regard this issue as one of the nation’s top
The UN Secretary -Genera, Mr. Kofi Annan visited Tajikistan
last year, and had an opportunity to personally witness
the high professional skills and dedication of staff members
of the Agency for Drug Control that had been established
with the support of the International community. According
the UN data, Tajikistan ranks forth in the world, and
first in the CIS, in terms of drugs withdrawn from trade.
Due to our efforts over the last four years more than
one billion Am. dollars worth of drugs have been confiscated
from drug traders.
But the struggle against narcotic aggression that generates
multibillion profits in countries located far from Tajikistan
can become a success only with a consolidation of collective
Given the increased narcotic threat,
and in order to expand multilateral cooperation in fighting
it, Tajikistan proposes that a global partnership for
counteracting the narcotic threat be established. This
unique broad antinarcotic coalition could become a reliable
barrier to the expansion of this evil.
The UN Secretary-General could become
coordinator of such a partnership, and the UN Office on
Drug control could become its central executive body.
Such a global partnership must coordinate
all efforts in the field at all levels, including regional.
I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to draw
your attention to another issue, that could not but give
rise to our concern.
Recently certain circles of people,
using the world mass media, have been attempting to equate
such grave threats to the mankind as terrorism and extremism
with the holy religion of Islam. Such an interpretation
distorts the peaceful essence of Islam and presents this
religion to the international community as a source of
evil and violence, giving rise to hostility towards the
whole Muslim world and, unwillingly, encouraging neo-fascist
and chauvinistic trends.
Once again, we must emphasize that the acts of terror
that are taking place in various countries, are the crimes
committed by cruel, merciless people, driven by lust for
power and personal gains, who essentially have nothing
to do with the holy religion of the world’s Muslims.
Humanity should understand that Islam
is not a religion of violence, but like the world’s
other religions calls people for mercy and compassion,
for peace and accord.
Tajikistan is in favor of an increased regional cooperation
in all areas. Our goal is to create in Central Asia a
belt of peace and stability, harmony and prosperity.
Turning Central Asia into a zone free
of weapons of mass destruction is a matter of principle
for Tajikistan, and that is why my country approved of
the idea of establishing a nuclear free zone in the region.
Meanwhile, I would like to join the
common concern over increased difficulties related to
non-proliferation of such types of weapon in the world,
including South Asia. I am convinced that the time has
come not to weaken but rather intensify collective efforts
and expand disarmament mechanisms.
Another issue has become a challenge
of the 21st century. That is the increasing number of
the territories aspiring to the status of states, but
not recognized as such by the international community.
These territories become criminalized
from inside, establish external ties that are not quite
legal and become catalysts for regional conflicts.
For this reason it is in the interests
of the international community to start, in the short
term, developing universal criteria for international
acknowledgment of states.
By doing so it would be possible to
prevent kindling of separatist moods in some regions that
are fraught with negative consequences for the destinies
of many peoples and states.
It is with satisfaction that Tajikistan notes considerable
progress in the revival of Afghanistan.
We are enthusiastic about how the international
community is resolute in supporting the processes of national
accord and peace building in our neighboring country.
Tajikistan is deeply aware of the necessity of rendering
international support to Afghanistan, and will increase
its assistance to the efforts undertaken by the Afghanistan
Government headed by Mr. Khamid Karzai.
Meanwhile, we are persistent in calling on the international
community not to lessen attention towards the needs of
this country, to renew its energetic commitment to rendering
support to positive changes, to give a new impetus to
the peace process, making it irreversible, and to dramatically
increase efforts to uproot drug production in Afghanistan.
Given the global danger of the drug
problem I once again call on the international community
and relevant international organizations to develop a
unified program for actions aimed at uprooting the growth,
manufacture and dissemination of drugs in this country.
The situation in Iraq continues to give
rise to our pain and concern. Conditions there are still
far from normal. It’s not only a matter of the post-
military environment, lost lives of military personnel,
and, even more sadly, of peaceful citizens. It’s
a matter of a lack of acceptable living conditions for
many Iraqi people.
Though positive changes are quite obvious,
most important is to restore the sovereignty of Iraq.
We share the opinion of the majority with regard to the
fact that the Iraqi people itself should determine its
future and that the international community embodied by
the UN should be called to render assistance in the implementation
of this goal.
Each people follows its own road to
democracy. However, only together can we deal with challenges
and threats that we face on this road.
The UN still remains an ultimate, indeed
a unique mechanism for collective actions to address global
issues. The noble goals for humanity development set in
the Millennium Declaration, which was signed by Tajikistan,
among others, is convincing proof to this.
The UN has united practically all countries
of the world. Each of us, both the UN founders and those
who joined it quite recently, gave a pledge to observe
its Charter. And this is the way it should be.
Our Organization is currently going
through another trial, a search for efficient answers
under new circumstances and new needs of world development.
The point is that the Organization and
its major bodies should keep up with the processes undergoing
in the permanently changing world. Though reform of the
UN is going on, the time has come to channel practical
activities of all its bodies towards issues of real priority.
In the field of international peace
and security the focus should be on prevention of military
conflicts, both intergovernmental and internal.
The General Assembly, the ECOSOC and
all other components of the UN system are faced with the
necessity to find convincing answers to the globalization
process, to bridging the gap between the industrial and
We expect improved professional skills
from the Secretariat staff members, increased practical
outcome of their work and the work of all UN agencies,
for the benefit of all member states.
The feeling that the UN is going through
a crises, that appeared at some point, is already fading.
It is substituted by the awareness of the need to strengthen
the Organization, as well as collective interaction within
Preservation and development of the
Organization is our common goal, since the international
community does not have any other similar universal mechanism.
The UN is the heritage of all humanity.
Tajikistan will be resolute in doing everything possible
for the successful implementation of the UN’s noble
mission for the benefit of all mankind.
Thank you for attention.