In an interview with SOCIETY Magazine, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Sirojiddin Muhriddin spoke about the achievements of Tajikistan’s foreign policy, global initiatives and the security situation in Central Asia.
Looking back at more than 30 years of independence – what were the main achievements of Tajikistan’s foreign policy in this period of time?
From the first days of independence, Tajikistan has taken a course towards protecting and strengthening state sovereignty, ensuring its national security, developing relations of trust, friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world based on mutual consideration of interests. The foreign policy of Tajikistan is based on the principle of a multi-vector approach and an open doors policy. In his recent message to the Parliament (Majlisi Oli) of the Republic of Tajikistan, the President of the country H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon noted that “the main principle of the open door policy, which we adhere to and implement in our foreign policy, is aimed at establishing and developing relations of friendship, good neighborliness, partnership, fruitful cooperation with foreign countries, international and regional organizations and international financial structures”.
Today, the Republic of Tajikistan has its special place in the international arena, interacts with many countries of the world, and takes an active part in solving global problems. Most of the political initiatives put forward by the leadership of Tajikistan were accepted and supported by the international community. These initiatives include: resolving the internal conflict through negotiations, promoting the solution of the political and economic problems of Afghanistan, developing regional cooperation, a number of initiatives on the rational use of water resources, cooperation in the field of energy, the fight against terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, close cooperation with UNESCO for the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage.
To date, Tajikistan has established diplomatic relations with 180 countries and is a full and active member of the UN, the OSCE, the SCO, the CSTO, the OIC and many other authoritative international and regional structures.
A pragmatic and far-sighted foreign policy has opened up new opportunities for achieving strategic goals within the country: ensuring energy independence, overcoming the communication impasse, food security and accelerating industrialization of the country.
I would like to emphasize the consistent efforts and the leading role of Tajikistan in finding effective ways to solve global problems related to water resources and climate change, the fight against terrorism, extremism and transnational organized crime, including drug trafficking.
What can you say about the global initiatives of Tajikistan?
Today we are witnessing how the initiatives of the political leadership of the Republic of Tajikistan in the water area, supported by the UN, have moved from the level of theory to practical implementation by the international community. Together, these initiatives are aimed at creating a new strategy for humanity and ensuring a decent life for the inhabitants of the planet.
The concept of water diplomacy was raised to a more effective level, filled with real content. Among the water initiatives, “International Year of Fresh Water 2003”, “International Decade “Water for Life”, 2005-2015″, “International Year of Water Cooperation, 2013” should be noted. Currently, the fourth initiative of Tajikistan is being implemented at the national, regional and global levels – the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, 2018-2028.
To date, the Republic of Tajikistan is on the verge of a historical event. In March 2023, the International Conference on the Comprehensive Midterm Review of the implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028” will be held in New York, in accordance with UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/73/226. Tajikistan co-chairs this event together with the Netherlands.
The issue of global climate change is also in the focus of our country’s attention. We call on the international community to jointly coordinate our efforts to slow down this process and combat its consequences. Unfortunately, almost a third of the total volume of our country’s glaciers, which form 60 percent of the water resources of the Central Asian region, has disappeared. Taking this into account, our country, together with its international partners, works on the initiative to declare 2025 the International Year for the Protection of Glaciers and establish the International Glacier Protection Fund.
The security of the countries of Central Asia is directly related to the situation in Afghanistan. What are the challenges coming from Afghanistan and what measures are being taken to ensure security and stability in the region?
The unstable situation in Afghanistan poses a serious threat not only to Tajikistan, but to the entire region and the world as a whole. Among the countries of Central Asia, Tajikistan has the longest border with Afghanistan – 1344 km, the biggest part of which runs along the Pyanj River, and the other runs along the mountainous terrain.
Given the common language and history, our country cannot remain indifferent to the fate of the Afghan people.
We stand for the early establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan, which is an important factor in ensuring security in the region, and we call on the international community to contribute to this process. We believe that the creation of a comprehensive and inclusive government that meets the interests of all political, social and ethnic groups living in Afghanistan, including Tajiks, is a key factor in establishing lasting peace and stability in this country.
(c) MFA Tajikistan