|Uzbekistan Appreciates EAPC's New Approach on Central-Asia |
Uzbekistan Appreciates EAPC's New Approach on Central-Asia
Address by Kadir Gulanov, Defence Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Defence Ministers session. Brussels, December 19, 2001.
The nature of the current military and political situation in the Central-Asian region and the future of its development are closely related to the level of success of the antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan and post-conflict nation-building in that country.
The Republic of Uzbekistan fully supports the decision made by all antiterrorist coalition members, and particularly that of the United States and its NATO allies, to fight the extremist regime of Taliban in Afghanistan. It was this regime, which became a nurturing ground for training and proliferation of unprecedented inhumane activities of international terrorism directed against the entire world democracy.
Uzbekistan links the establishment of conditions that will foster the development of firm and effective security system for the whole Central-Asian region with the full extermination of this regime.
Much has already been done. Major groups of Taliban and international terrorists have been put out of business, and large part of their air assets, artillery, and armor has been eliminated. Command system and military infrastructure created by the Taliban regime have been destroyed.
But if the surviving terrorist groups are not completely exterminated the following threats will remain:
- First, evolution of open battles into long-term guerilla war against forces of Afghanistan government;
- Second, the execution of terrorist acts within the territory of Uzbekistan and other regional states that actively participate in the establishment of peace and order in Afghan soil;
- Third, increase in the export of religious and extremist ideas into these countries;
- Fourth, further expansion of drug trafficking, which is the major source of financing for terrorists.
With the end of the military phase of the antiterrorist operation economic and social problems will arise. Peaceful future and stable development of Afghanistan will, in many respects, depend on how effectively the international community coordinates its efforts in tackling these issues.
In our opinion, establishment of peace in Afghanistan and participation of population in its economic processes, are closely related to the necessity of significant reduction of the number of heavy armament and military equipment, which have been stockpiling in the country since the last decade. In this regard, Uzbekistan fully supports the commencement of collection and extermination of the weapons, deserted by the fleeing groups of Osama bin Laden's troops in southern regions of Afghanistan that is undertaken by the US Marine Corps.
However, the need for more effective measures emerges, among which we propose the following:
- to carry out a thorough international inspection in order to assess the real quantity of various types of weapons, remaining in the country;
- to establish the rigorous quantitative and qualitative parameters of the armed forces of Afghanistan based on the principle of appropriate sufficiency;
- to destroy or take out of the territory of Afghanistan weapons that exceed the established parameters, first of all - most powerful pieces of armor, multiple rocket launching systems, heavy artillery, and other types of collective weaponry.
Uzbekistan appreciates the new approach of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to the problems of the Central-Asian States, which are the most vulnerable to the potential threats, posed by international terrorism, and the recognition of the role of these states in the fight against terrorism.
It is with gratitude we thank NATO for its efforts on broadening the military and military and technical cooperation with the Central Asian states on long-term basis. We believe that realization of plans for this cooperation will give a powerful boost to maintenance of regional security, development of democratic institutions in Uzbekistan, and the process of its integration into the world community.
We all understand that it is only together in collaboration we can neutralize the threat of terrorism, which is already a global danger. In this aspect, I would like to mention that the interoperability of our armed forces will be the key factor in our mutual fight against the terrorism. With this in mind, we have decided to join the PARP (PfP Planning And Reviewing Process) program and to allocate one special battalion to train it for peacekeeping missions. We hope that in the nearest future a group of NATO experts will visit Uzbekistan in order to discuss these issues in more details.
Thank you for your attention.