TASHKENT (TCA) — Kicking off his tour of three Central Asian countries at its very heart, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovakia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Miroslav Lajčák, on May 20 opened the new OSCE premises in Uzbekistan.
Calling it “not just an office, but a hub of partnership,” the Chairperson underlined the benefits of enhanced regional and international co-operation: “Often, we are working towards the same goals – and we can actually get there faster, if we do it in tandem.” And he thanked Uzbekistan for calling for more from the OSCE, in times when multilateral organizations are often put into question.
Acknowledging Uzbekistan’s role in regional stability and its continuous support to Afghanistan, Lajčák handed over a Slovak Aid donation to the Termez Center for Education in Afghanistan after his meeting with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Deputy-Speaker of the Senate Sadiq Safoev.
“Education is a simple but powerful tool that gives us the chance to create the future we want. It helps us to accumulate knowledge, to change mindsets, to re-think attitudes and to alter behavior. By training young Afghans with the skills they need, the country can thrive economically. And if we are serious about building a safe future, our young people are key,” the Chairperson stressed.
He added that the Termez Center embodies the spirit of regional co-operation. “It opens the door to unlimited possibilities. It helps them to dream and to bridge the gap between the reality Afghanistan faces today and the modern, stable and prosperous future it chooses to create,” he continued.
Speaking about the OSCE’s 24 year-long presence on the ground, Lajčák emphasized the solid Uzbek-OSCE partnership and close collaboration led by an annual Roadmap spanning all three dimensions of comprehensive security. The Uzbekistan-OSCE co-operation covers a wide range of issue areas from combatting transnational threats, supporting Uzbekistan’s reform agenda and strengthening good governance, to promoting green economy and building business integrity standards.
He particularly commended the joint initiatives to promote the empowerment of women and the support to female entrepreneurs. And he stressed that “the OSCE and the Slovak Chairmanship stand ready to support Uzbekistan in consolidating stability, and furthering reform efforts.”
The Chairperson-in-Office also met with representatives of civil society.