DUSHANBE, February 24, 2012, Asia-Plus – On Wednesday February 22, high-ranking officials from the OSCE and the Tajik government, as well as representatives of civil society met in Dushanbe at an annual forum to identify priorities for national and regional cooperation in 2013.

According to press release issued by the OSCE Office in Tajikistan, the meeting explored opportunities to intensify the OSCE’s assistance to Tajikistan to foster comprehensive security in politico-military, economic and environmental, as well as in human dimension, with a particular focus on security challenges that may arise in view of the transition in Afghanistan in 2014 and beyond.

“In the past year, a lot of work has been done to implement the tasks which we have identified in the 2011 Task Force meeting; and our co-operation with the OSCE in all dimensions has a positive dynamic,” said Deputy Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Nizomiddin Zohidov.

The Head of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan Ivar Vikki said: “While maintaining an overall balance of activities in all three dimensions, we will focus on areas where the OSCE can make a tangible contribution to regional stability such as border security and police reform, energy security and economic development and also the facilitation of societal dialogue on human rights.”

“The Irish OSCE Chairmanship attaches high importance to the role and contribution of Central Asian participating States, including Tajikistan, to the work of the Organization, particularly in countering the shared challenge of tackling trans-national threats and protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said Gerard Keown, Deputy Director of the OSCE Task force in the Irish Foreign Ministry who took part in the meeting.

Adam Kobieracki, the Director of the Conflict Prevention Center of the OSCE Secretariat, stressed the important role of Tajikistan in supporting stability in the region and said that the joint OSCE – Tajikistan Task Force was an “innovative model” of co-operation between a field operation and a host State. “I am confident that the Task Force will continue to function as a useful forum for dialogue and joint work,” Kobieracki added.

The annual forum for consultation “OSCE – Tajikistan Task Force” has met in this format since 2007 to discuss the OSCE''s work with Tajikistan in helping the country implement its OSCE commitments.