DUSAHNBE, October 9, Asia-Plus -- On Friday October 6, President Emomali Rahmonov met with visiting Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher.  Their talks focused on a broad range of issues related to bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and the United States in fields such as economy and energy.  The two discussed assistance to Tajikistan in fighting drug trafficking as well as the present situation in Afghanistan. 

Speaking to journalists after the meeting with President Rahmonov, Boucher said regional U.S. energy projects and the upcoming Tajik presidential election were major topics of the discussions. 

”Tajikistan has good potential to build practices and institutions that will serve it well for democratic stability in the future,” the senior diplomat said, noting that the upcoming presidential election is a good opportunity for the central electoral commission to show that it is able to organize and hold fair and free elections.  It is also a good opportunity for political parties to learn to participate in political campaigns, according to him. 

Boucher added that the United States expects the upcoming election to be a step forward in terms of meeting international standards. 

According to him, prospects for economic development of Tajikistan are good, but it must create the appropriate conditions for it.  He noted that the United States could provide assistance to Tajikistan in drumming up investments and supporting the development of its economy.

On Afghanistan, Richard Boucher noted that the situation in is becoming stable and that Afghanistan can play an important role in development of regional trade and transit electricity supplies in the future. 

Boucher said he briefed Rahmonov on the progress of an electric system for Afghanistan and a large energy conference planned for Dushanbe in late October. 

”I believe this conference will be an important step towards development of Tajik energy exports to Afghanistan and through it to other countries,” said Boucher.  “We appreciate Tajikistan’s support for Afghanistan.” 

Military cooperation and security issues, in particular the fight against drug trafficking, were also topics of the meeting. Evaluating the activities of the Tajik special services in countering drug trafficking, Boucher noted that the Tajik border troops are being strengthened and patrol the border well. 

During his stay in Dushanbe Richard Boucher also met with Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov and with representatives of political parties and non-governmental organizations at the American Embassy in Dushanbe. 

Richard A. Boucher was sworn in as the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs on February 21, 2006.  The Bureau of South Asian Affairs was expanded to include the nations of Central Asia shortly before his confirmation.  Over the course of his career, Ambassador Boucher served as the Department of State’s Spokesman or Deputy Spokesman under six Secretaries of State and has served as Chief of Mission twice overseas.