A joint statement on strengthening friendship and neighborliness that was signed by Tajik resident Emomali Rahmon and his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev here on March 9, in particular, notes that the “Parties welcome conducting an International High-Level Conference on Afghanistan “Peace Process, Cooperation in the Sphere of Security and the Regional Cooperation” (Tashkent, March 26-27, 2018) and a High-Level International Conference on Combating Terrorism and Radicalism (Dushanbe, May 3-4, 2018).”

Foreign Minister Siorjiddin Aslov will represent Tajikistan in the Afghan peace conference in Tashkent.

The Tajik side supported the initiative of the Uzbek side on the development and promotion of the UN General Assembly resolutions «Strengthening regional and international cooperation for peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian region” and “Education and religious tolerance”, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of Youth, according to the joint statement by the presidents of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. .  

Meanwhile, Saidmurod Fattohzoda, the deputy head of the People’s Democratic Party of Tajikistan, says that not only Tajikistan but also many countries of the world including Russia, China and the United States stated their readiness to participate in the Afghan peace conference in Tashkent. 

“We realize that peace in Afghanistan will give a powerful impulse to development of the Central Asian region, speed up implementation of the CASA 1000 Project and provide security in the region,” Fattohzoda told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan’s foreign ministry said yesterday that the Taliban is likely to miss an Afghan peace conference at which participants are set to call for direct talks between the militant group and the government of President Ashraf Ghani.

Representatives of the group have made no application to attend the March 26-27 meeting in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, suggesting they will not attend, the Uzbek foreign ministry statement said.

According to Reuters, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is set to attend along with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Also set to attend are the foreign ministers of India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Turkey and U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto.

Conference participants will call for an urgent start of direct talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban, the press office of Uzbekistan's foreign ministry said in a written reply to questions from Reuters.

The conference will be the first such event to be hosted by Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who came to power in 2016.