Central Asian security: time for action, not words

The quadrilateral meeting of heads of state of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Russia ended adopting a joint statement pledging to strengthen regional trade and to fight terrorism and narco trade.

Security in Central Asia is the sole responsibility of the countries of the region, President Dmitry Medvedev stated after talks with the leaders of Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe.

­He believes that help from other countries is important but not crucial. “In the end, responsibility for what is going on in the region will fall on our countries – Russia, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Medvedev stressed, adding that it is a view shared by “all participants of today’s summit.”

The Russian leader pointed out that currently a lot depends on partners “who help solve various tasks in the region.” However, these are non-regional powers, and in Dmitry Medvedev’s opinion it is necessary for the four states taking part in the Dushanbe summit to step up their efforts.

“Otherwise, we take the risk that the great efforts we are undertaking are in vain,” the president explained. In particular, he was at pains to point out that Moscow is willing to develop political dialogue with Afghanistan.

Energy was another topic discussed during the talks. President Medvedev said Russia was ready to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the construction of the CASA-1000 power transit system from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “But for this, some organizational decisions are needed. We need an invitation,” he commented.

Moscow is also interested in joining the Trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project (TAPI), Dmitry Medvedev went on to say. “And of course we are eager to take part in bilateral projects which have always existed between our countries,” he added.

He also announced that the four states are now working on a road map for the development of co-operation in the social and economic spheres. “It is high time to pass from words to deeds. There is a series of projects which have been on the table but there has been no progress in their implementation,” Medvedev concluded. These projects cover the transport, agriculture, chemical, construction and food industries.

During bilateral talks, President Dmitry Medvedev and Tajik leader Emomali Rakhmon agreed to prolong the stationing of a Russian military base in Tajikistan for another 49 years.

“We have agreed that we’ll instruct our defense ministries to complete all preparations required for the signing of this agreement,” Medvedev told journalists after talks.

The two leaders also signed an agreement for co-operation on border issues.

Summing up the results of the talks, Dmitry Medvedev underlined that Tajikistan has always been Russia’s “strategic ally” and a “partner in all issues”. Both Moscow and Dushanbe confirmed their commitment to strengthen co-operation in all spheres, both “in bilateral format and within the CIS, CSTO, EurAsEC, SCO and other international formats.”

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