OSCE encourages more regional cooperation to tackle security challenges in Central Asia

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 17 / Trend , E.Ostapenko/

President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Joao Soares encouraged more regional co-operation in tackling the security challenges in Central Asia, the OSCE press release said.

"Increased co-operation between Central Asian states on the many security challenges they face can produce real improvements for the people here. Migration, increasing trade and tackling organized crime and drug trafficking all require common approaches. The OSCE's challenges do not stop here at the Afghan border," Soares said at a border checkpoint in the southern Khatlon region.

Soares's weekly regional visit to Tajikistan ended on June 14. Prior to this, the president visited Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The purpose of the visit was to support the work of OSCE missions on the ground in Central Asia, as well as meetings with officials in the region.

Soares encouraged further democratic reforms in the country, including increasing political pluralism. Tajikistan is preparing for parliamentary elections in 2010 and the OSCE is working to support the country in meeting its international commitments in this regard.

Welcoming the active work of the delegation of Tajikistan to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the President said: "I look forward to discussing common concerns, including labour migration, with my Tajik colleagues during the upcoming OSCE PA Annual Session in Vilnius on June 29- July 3."

In Tajikistan, the President of the OSCE PA met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Hamrokhon Zarifi; the Chairmen of the Parliament, Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev and Saidullo Hairulloev; as well as representatives of political parties and civil society.

In Tajikistan, Soares took the opportunity to visit several OSCE projects and offices throughout the country, including in Kurgan-Tyube and Khorog.

"Having seen projects such as a Women Resource Centre and a Labour Migration Centre run by the OSCE Office in Tajikistan, I can personally attest to the practical solutions the OSCE is implementing here," he said.

President Soares welcomed co-operation between the OSCE and the Aga Khan Development Network in Tajikistan.

The regional visit by President Soares was intended to support the work of the OSCE field missions in Central Asia and to meet with officials in the region.

"Such long-term assistance is crucial to developing a secure and prosperous region," he said.

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