UPDATE : 2018.11.20 TUE 14:38
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‘Political dialogue is the only way to resolving the Afghan conflict’Says Director Vladimir Norov Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies of Uzbekistan

The following article was provided by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media outlets established 33 years in 1985.—Ed.

Today, the fact that the conflict in Afghanistan remains one of the main issues of ensuring regional and international security does not require additional allegations. The results of the efforts of the world community undertaken over more than three decades and the existing set of problems in the sphere of politics, economy and security have convincingly shown that there are no alternatives to the solution of the Afghan problem without peaceful political means.
Given the fact that Afghanistan historically and geopolitically is an integral part of the Central Asian region, Uzbekistan is extremely interested in the early establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan. In this case, since the first years of independence, Uzbekistan has consistently remained committed to holding a friendly, constructive and pragmatic policy towards Afghanistan.

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, underlining the strategic importance of establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan in ensuring regional and international security, repeatedly stressed the world community's attention to the importance of resolving the Afghan conflict on the highest tribunes. During his speeches at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in September 2017, the meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the CIS in October 2017, the international conference “Central Asia: Shared Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity” in November 2017 the head of Uzbekistan stressed that “the only way in resolving the conflict in Afghanistan is a direct dialogue, without preconditions, between the central government and the main internal political forces.
The current dynamics of Uzbek-Afghan relations unequivocally demonstrates Uzbekistan's determination not only to participate in the implementation of economic and infrastructure projects, but also to take concrete political and diplomatic measures to resolve the situation in Afghanistan. This is evidenced by the forthcoming High-Level International Conference on Afghanistan on the theme “Peace process, cooperation in the field of security and regional cooperation”, which will be held on March 26-27, 2018 in Tashkent.
In this context, it should be emphasized that the initiative of Shavkat Mirziyoyev to hold this event is an integral part of the overall strategy of the leadership of Uzbekistan to ensure regional security and stability.
In order to ensure the effectiveness and importance of the Tashkent Conference UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamamoto, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, as well as foreign ministers of Russia, China, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the heads of Foreign ministries of Central Asian countries of are invited.
To the above-mentioned event is now being paid high attention by the representatives of the politically-forming circles of foreign countries. That’s why I would like to draw attention to the following principal aspects of the upcoming “Tashkent meeting”.
Firstly, the initiative to hold the International Conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent was developed jointly with the Afghan side. As a result, during the meeting of the UN Security Council on January 19, 2018 in New-York, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan jointly organized the presentation of the upcoming Tashkent conference.
Secondly, the main objective of the international conference is to build consensus at the regional level, as well as understanding common approaches of extra-regional actors to achieve internal-Afghan consensus, in particular about the early start of direct talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban.
Thirdly, “Tashkent meeting” will be held after the second meeting of the “Kabul Process”, held on February 28, 2018 in Kabul and is a logical continuation of the efforts undertaken by the international community aimed at early stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan.
The fourthly, the conference in Tashkent, is aimed at integrating Afghanistan into the trade system of Central Asian countries, effective implementation of specific economic and infrastructure projects of region-wide scale. In this context, it should be noted that the first meeting of the new format of cooperation “Central Asia + Afghanistan” will also take place on the eve of the “Tashkent meeting”, in which specific areas of cooperation between the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan will be discussed.
According to the information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, upon completion of the conference, it is planned to adopt the Tashkent Declaration.
Commenting on the forthcoming conference in Tashkent, foreign experts note that back in 1999, at the initiative of the Uzbek side “6 + 2” Contact Group which was held in Tashkent at the level of the deputy foreign ministers of neighboring countries of Afghanistan, as well as Russia and the United States, with the participation of representatives opposing sides, including the Taliban. International observers, taking into account the successful experience of Uzbekistan in facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan, stressed that the planned event could not only become
a “starting point” for the raise of the inter-Afghan negotiation process to a new level, but also open an entirely new page in ensuring stability and sustainable development in Afghanistan, and its involvement in regional economic processes.

Won Hwi  edt@koeapost.com

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