Washington, DC (STL.News) The following statement was released by the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the United States of America on the occasion of a trilateral discussion among Afghanistan – Tajikistan – and the United States.
Representatives of the Governments of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the United States of America convened via video conference on March 17 to discuss issues of mutual importance, including the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations and regional security. The meeting was co-chaired by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar, and Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin.
Participants reaffirmed their shared commitment to partnership, cooperation, and collaboration to promote prosperity, security, and peace in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, as well as prosperity across and throughout Central Asia. The participants:
- Call on countries of the Central Asian region and the international community to support the Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace negotiations for a united, sovereign, stable, democratic, secure, inclusive, and self-reliant Afghanistan; at peace with itself and its neighbors;
- Seek to preserve the economic, social, political, and development achievements of the last two decades, and intend to build upon those gains with regards to human rights, especially women’s rights;
- Express their concerns over the increased level of violence and targeted killings and highlight the urgent need for a reduction in violence leading to a ceasefire to end the violence;
- Seek greater trilateral cooperation in the security, political, people-to-people, energy, and economic realms;
- Intend to increase regional cooperation, information sharing and border security, and coordination to counter terrorist threats;
- Plan to improve mutual efforts to combat cross-border threats and address issues of drug trafficking and the movement of illicit materials, including through strengthened cooperation between Tajik and Afghan authorities at border crossing points;
- Recognize the United States intends to continue providing assistance in capacity building of the border security and counter-narcotics forces of the two countries. Also, the United States intends to provide training and technical assistance in risk management for Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
- Plan to expand the reach of cultural and educational exchanges and network building efforts;
- Support increasing English-language proficiency to expand access to English-based information sources, counter disinformation, and provide greater economic opportunity throughout the region and internationally;
- Aim to enhance participation in people-to-people programs, such as the C5+1 Youth Council, to build on the linkages between the peoples of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and the United States and encourage the countries’ future leaders to come together to create solutions to shared challenges;
- Support the continuation of regional energy infrastructure projects, such as CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia Electricity
- Transmission and Trade Project) and electricity transmission projects. These projects should prioritize increasing electrical connectivity, regional cooperation, provide transit revenues, and clean, reliable energy to Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia;
- Will discuss how to enhance connectivity between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, including through the construction of new transportation routes, such as railways, and through the improvement of international transportation mechanisms, including expanded usage of the TIR system;
- Promote trade by supporting efforts to implement international agreements that ease nontariff barriers to trade, such as the WTO
- Trade Facilitation Agreement;
- Seek opportunities to expand business-to-business connections between Afghan and Tajik enterprises that open new markets and promote greater prosperity on both sides of the border;
- Intend to participate in environmental protection programs that target climate change, wildlife conservation, and water and air quality; and
- Seek to explore organizing a Trilateral Business Forum to encourage partnership between the private sectors of the Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and the United States
The Participants noted their commitment to continued trilateral cooperation and partnership, including high-level, in-person consultations when public health conditions permit.