Press-release on activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2020

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Undoubtedly, 2020 was marked as a difficult year for the world community, including our country. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on all areas, particularly the cultural, tourism and sports spheres as well as international relations.

However, in the context of global pandemic the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and our diplomatic missions and consular offices abroad have strived to protect and promote the country's national interests in the international arena. Communications with our foreign partners were mainly held in the form of virtual or video conferencing, telephone conversations and exchange of messages. Virtual meetings with foreign and international partners have become an integral part of the Ministry's activities.

In this period, the Ministry has pursued its principal activities congruent with the guidance and instructions of the President and the Government of the country on reduction of the socio-economic consequences of infectious disease, repatriation of our citizens from abroad, assistance to citizens residing abroad, delivery and attraction of international humanitarian aids as well as provision of administrative concessions to foreign nationals residing in Tajikistan.

During the reporting period, in accordance with the instructions of the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Emomali Rahmon we have implemented a plan for the gradual and stagewise repatriation of citizens stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic to our homeland by air and land transport.

By the end of the year, more than 150,000 citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan (including, unfortunately, 300 corpses) were repatriated from around the world to the motherland. Since March 20 until the end of the year, more than 600 chartered flights were operated by the “Tajik Air” and “Somon Air” with a view to return our citizens from the Russian Federation.

In cooperation with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the International Organization for Migration, more than 6,000 Tajik citizens have been repatriated from neighboring countries through the "land transport corridor".

In terms of facilitation and provision of benefits to foreign nationals and stateless persons during the pandemic in 2020, it is noteworthy that the Republican Task Force on Prevention of the Covid-19 Outbreak in Tajikistan has endorsed the automatic extension of the stay of foreign citizens and stateless persons until 1 July 2020, based on proposal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Moreover, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan "On prevention of the impact of Covid-19 infectious disease on the socio-economic spheres of the Republic of Tajikistan" was adopted on 5 June 2020, according to which the following criteria have been provided: visas for foreign citizens and stateless persons should be extended, and no fines shall be applied for non-compliance with the rules of stay until the stabilization of epidemiological situation.

In such complicated circumstances, Tajikistan has delivered humanitarian aids to neighboring countries, while many foreign countries and development partners have done so to the Republic of Tajikistan.

Last year, Tajikistan held the parliamentary and presidential elections, which are of great significance for the future of our country, maintenance of peace and further socio-economic development. In order to ensure the suffrage of citizens, polling stations were organized at 39 diplomatic and consular missions of the country abroad, where the elections of the Majlisi Namoyandagon of the Majlisi Oli of the Republic of Tajikistan were held on 1 March 2020 and the elections of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan on October 11, 2020. International observers from foreign countries and international and regional organizations, as well as diplomatic missions based in Dushanbe, were invited to participate in the parliamentary and presidential elections.

During the reporting period, the Republic of Tajikistan has steadily expanded its bilateral and multilateral cooperation with partner countries, as well as international and regional organizations despite the difficult epidemiological situation.

In 2020, the working visit of the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon to Moscow to attend the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Victory Day, the first official visit of the Speaker of the Majlisi Milli of the Majlisi Oli of Tajikistan Mr. Rustam Emomali to Moscow, the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan to Russia and the visit of a Russian delegation headed by the Deputy Prime Minister to Dushanbe were important political events in relations between the two countries.

At a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and a meeting of the Collective Security Council of the Collective Security Treaty Organization that were held in a virtual form on 10 November and 2 December 2020, respectively, the presidency of these two organizations was entrusted to Tajikistan. Speaking at these meetings, the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon introduced the priorities of the presidency of our country in these two prominent regional organizations.

The Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan attended and delivered a speech at the virtual session of the CIS Council of Heads of State on December 18 last year. Dushanbe has been declared as the Cultural Capital of this Organization in 2021.

The President of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon addressed the General Debates of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, which was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic in September. In his speech, the Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan stated that over the years the United Nations has been developed as an authoritative and unique international structure and has been able to become a significant and comprehensive platform for solving relevant global problems.

It was emphasized that Tajikistan intends to strengthen its efforts to implement constructive initiatives on water resources and climate change together with other countries.

At the General Debates of this Session, the Leader of the Nation His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon touched upon the status quo in the modern world amid an escalation of geopolitical and geoeconomic competition, the expansion of extremism, wars and armed conflicts, organized transnational crime such as illicit drug transactions and other modern threats and challenges, particularly the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as the unstable, complex and sensitive situation of the planet.

During his speech, the President, Leader of the Nation has announced our decision to take part in the election for a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for 2028-2029. A meaningful pre-election campaign has begun in this context.

At the reporting period, the high-level contacts were continued with partner countries as the Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan held the telephone conversations with the President of Afghanistan, President of Belarus, President of Kazakhstan, the first President of Kazakhstan, Emir of Qatar, President of Kyrgyzstan, President of Azerbaijan, President of Russia, President of Turkey, President of Uzbekistan, President of China and President of Iran. The issues of strengthening and expanding relations between Tajikistan and these countries, the epidemiological situation in the region and the world, cooperation in overcoming the negative consequences of infectious disease were discussed during the talks.

Similarly, the Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan and heads of foreign countries exchanged telegrams on the development of cooperation in various fields.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Qohir Rasulzoda had the telephone conversations with his counterparts from partner countries, as well as attended and delivered a speech at two meetings of the CIS Council of Heads of Government, the SCO Meeting of Heads of Government and the High-Level Summit on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and Beyond that were taken place online last year.

Identically, under the co-chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Tajikistan, meetings of intergovernmental commissions on trade and economic cooperation between Tajikistan and Russia and Tajikistan and Uzbekistan were held in August and September 2020, respectively, in the capital of our country.

On 21-22 December 2020, the Chairman of the Supreme Council for the National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah paid a visit to Dushanbe. On 22 December 2020, the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan His Excellency Mr. Emomali Rahmon received the Chairman of the Supreme Council for the National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr. Abdullah Abdullah. The current state and prospects of cooperation between Tajikistan and Afghanistan have been discussed during the meetings. He also met with the Speaker of the Majlisi Namoyandagon, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

During the reporting period, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan has visited Brunei Darussalam, South Korea, Qatar, Malaysia, Germany, Russia, Serbia and Uzbekistan. The Tajik Foreign Minister met with his counterparts from other countries, including the United States of America, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, India and China. The priority areas of bilateral cooperation in economic, trade, investment and infrastructure spheres have been considered at the meetings.

On 17-18 September 2020, a meeting of Tajikistan and Afghanistan delegations at the level of foreign ministers was held in Dushanbe. The issues of bilateral cooperation and the situation in the region were discussed at the meeting.

On 19 November 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic paid a visit to Dushanbe. During the working visit, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries discussed the current state of bilateral political dialogue and reached an agreement to take the urgent measures to create favorable conditions for further development of trade, joint investment activities and thorough use of transit capacity. During the talks, particular attention was paid to the issue of delimitation and demarcation of the state borders.

Furthermore, in 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan held the telephone conversations and online bilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts and heads of international organizations, including:

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus,

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of the United Kingdom,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia,

Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation of Spain,

Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey,

State Councilor, Minister of Foreign Affairs of China,

Minister of External Affairs of India,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland,

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan,

Secretary General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization,

Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross,

UN Under-Secretary-General / Head of the Office of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT),

and the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization. The current state and prospects of development of bilateral relations of Tajikistan with these countries and international organizations in various fields, as well as collaboration in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic have been discussed at the talks.

The Foreign Minister took part and delivered speeches in the virtual irregular SCO Meeting of Foreign Ministers on May 13, the meetings of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers on May 12 and December 10, the meetings of the CSTO Council of Foreign Ministers on May 26 and December 1. During his performance, proposals were introduced on further development of these organizations, the joint fight against coronavirus pandemic and our country's position on topical regional issues.

Last year, political and diplomatic ties expanded within the multilateral platform of Central Asia + partner countries such as Russia, China, the United States, the European Union, South Korea, Japan, and India. The Tajik Foreign Minister attended and delivered speeches at the next meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Central Asia and the United States of America held in Tashkent on February 3, and the 13th Forum of Cooperation between Central Asia and the Republic of Korea in Seoul on November 25, 2020. Likewise, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has virtually addressed and exchanged views on topical issues of cooperation during the meeting of the Central Asian and European Union Foreign Ministers on June 12, the Central Asia + US High-Level Virtual Conference on June 30, the First Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Central Asian and China on July 16, the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Central Asia + Japan Dialogue on August 11, the Third Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Central Asian and Russia on October 15 and the Second Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Central Asia + India Dialogue on October 28.

In addition, the virtual participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs was organized at the High-Level Forum “Accelerating implementation of the 2030 Agenda through water, sanitation and climate action” on May 29, the International Conference of Foreign Ministers within the “Belt and Road Initiative” on June 18, the Annual Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) on September 23, the Special Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on September 24 and the 27th Session of Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on December 3. In his speeches, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated on reinforcement of multilateral cooperation, the major challenges of the modern world, and recalled the global initiatives of our country. At the meeting of the Conference on Cooperation and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, the detailed information was presented on the priorities, two-year activity of Tajikistan’s presidency as well as achievements gained within this Organization.

On 21 December 2020, the UN General Assembly, in its 75th Session, unanimously adopted a draft resolution entitled “United Nations Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action ‘Water for Sustainable Development’, 2018-2028”, proposed by Tajikistan and the Netherlands with the co-sponsorship of the absolute majority of 190 UN member states.

This resolution reaffirms Dushanbe to host the International High-Level Conference “Water for Sustainable Development” in 2022, which is of particular importance for preparation of the midterm comprehensive review of the implementation of the objectives of the mentioned Decade and conduct of the UN Conference in 2023 at the UN Headquarters in New York to be co-hosted by Tajikistan and the Netherlands.

Undoubtedly, the adoption of the aforementioned resolution of the UN General Assembly is evidence of the recognition of the global importance of water-related initiatives of the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Emomali Rahmon by the international community.

On 25 August 2020, the Senior Officials Meeting of the “Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process” was held in the form of a videoconference under the co-chairmanship of the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan.

In light of the instructions of the Leader of the Nation, the President of Tajikistan on repatriation of Tajik women and children from war-torn countries in the Middle East, Tajik diplomats paid a working visit to Syria, including the al-Hol and al-Roj camps in December. Works are underway in this direction.

During the reporting period, political consultations were conducted between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and Italy, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and China. The current state and prospects of development of friendly relations and comprehensive partnership with these countries were discussed and the exchange of views took place on important regional and international issues at these meetings.

Tajikistan has accepted the presidency of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea for 2020-2023. The relevant resolution of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan dated 31 March 2020 was approved to ensure the proper operation of this Fund’s presidency. Since October 2020, the Executive Committee of the Fund has started to function. In accordance with the Decree of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan and in coordination with the Fund’s member states, the representative of our country Mr. Sulton Rahimzoda has been appointed as the Chairman of the Executive Committee.

During the reporting period, more than 60 multilevel delegations from various foreign countries as well as international and regional organizations paid visits to the Republic of Tajikistan.

Last year, organization of various events within the scope of selection of Dushanbe as the Tourist Capital of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) for 2020-2021 was postponed due to the pandemic. We hope to hold the planned forums this year whenever the epidemiological situation stabilizes.

Our cooperation has continued and expanded in the framework of UNESCO. The 5500th Anniversary of the establishment of the ancient city of Sarazm and the 700th Anniversary of the poet Kamal Khujandi that were included in the UNESCO Anniversaries List, have been celebrated with the participation of the Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan as well as the video addresses by the UNESCO and ISESCO Director-Generals in Panjakent and Khujand last year.

In 2020, the efforts to include the nominations of “Hulbuk”, “Falak” and several joint nominations with partner countries, including “Sada” with Iran, “Rubab” with Iran and Uzbekistan, “Tradition of Khoja Nasriddin Afandi’s anecdotes” with Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, and “Embroidery Arts” with Uzbekistan continued to be included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

In September last year, a nomination case of the "Silk Road: Zarafshan - Karakum Corridor" was developed and submitted for inclusion in the UNESCO Preliminary List. Besides, in December, a document on the celebration of the 2500th Anniversary of the Takht-i Sangin ancient site was developed and put forward to this Organization for inclusion in the UNESCO Anniversaries List for 2022-2023.

To strengthen the legal framework of Tajikistan's relations with international partners, 10 bilateral documents have been signed and 14 international treaties adopted by Tajikistan have entered into force.

During the reporting period, Tajikistan has established diplomatic relations with two other countries - the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Angola. Thus, the number of countries with which the Republic of Tajikistan has diplomatic relations has reached 178.

Over this period, Dushanbe has appointed its new ambassadors to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Palestine, India and China.

In 2020, a major diplomatic development took place in Tajikistan's relations with Palestine. The Embassy of Palestine has been opened in Dushanbe and that country's ambassador has been appointed to Tajikistan. Thus, Palestine became the third Arab country to open an embassy in Dushanbe.

Foreign relations at various levels between the authorities of Tajikistan and foreign countries and international organizations in 2020 have continued in the virtual and presence forms, and contributed to the improvement and expansion of cooperation in various fields. During the reporting period, essential events have taken place in the field of cooperation between our country and international organizations.

In general, the events of 2020 testify to the fact that despite the existing challenges, cooperation with partner countries has not only preserved but also accelerated the positive process of bilateral relations.

Information is a significant area of the Ministry’s activity. During the reporting period, important information and news were provided to representatives of domestic and foreign media at press conferences, interviews and responses given by the Ministry’s officials. The official website of the Ministry and its pages on social networks regularly provided readers with up-to-date information on important events in the field of foreign policy. The websites of all diplomatic missions of Tajikistan abroad are active as they constantly update their news and data. In addition, most of our diplomatic missions and consular representative offices abroad have a page on social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and so on.

Tajikistan's presidency has begun in two major trans-regional organizations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. This year, the capital of our country will host the Jubilee Session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State on the occassion of its 20th Anniversary and the meeting of the CSTO Collective Security Council.

Moreover, on September 9, we will celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Tajikistan. These important events require the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tajik diplomats to make thorough preparations for the worthy fulfillment of the presidency in these two organizations and the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Independence Day of our beloved country.

In his recent Address to the Majlisi Oli, the Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon identified the main directions of domestic and foreign policies for the upcoming period and set specific tasks for effective foreign policy promotion and improvement of various sectors of the country. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is pleased to make a valuable contribution to the notable accomplishment of the tasks set forth in the Address of the President.

Source: Ministry of foreign affairs of the Republic Tajikistan