DUSHANBE, October 1, 2012, Asia-Plus -- The need for reform of the United Nations, illicit drug trafficking and the situation in Afghanistan were among major topics covered in a statement delivered by Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi at the General Debate of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in New York Saturday.

Tajik minister, in particular, noted that the recent developments in the world proved once again that it is impossible to address global and regional issues without strengthening the central role of the United Nations in the international affairs and without collective initiatives in world politics, with due respect of the norms of international law.

“In this regard, it is becoming obvious that it is necessary to carry out a rational reform of the Organization, as a result of which the renewed United Nations will emerge capable to respond to the developments in the world in a quick and adequate manner, and to effectively meet numerous global challenges and threats of a new generation,” Zarifi said.

“The UN efforts at strengthening peace building activities of the United Nations deserve further comprehensive support.  In this regard, it is my pleasure to note that Tajikistan continues to make a considerable contribution to this area by participating in the UN peacekeeping operations.”

“Tajikistan is convinced that respect for cultural and religious diversity, as well as dialogue among civilizations is essential for global peace and understanding. In this regard, we are deeply concerned at the increase in many parts of the world, of efforts to denigrate religions, in particular Islam, by misusing freedom of expression. We strongly condemn these acts,” Tajik minister added.

Turning to Afghanistan -- which he said will acquire “an exclusive importance not only for the region but for the entire world” with the withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force in 2014 -- Zarifi said that its social and economic development will be “the key” for ensuring its stable peace.

“For this reason, the international assistance rendered to Afghanistan should be aimed, first and foremost, at its utmost economic rehabilitation, further strengthening of its social sphere, job creation, etc,” he said.

“In this regard, realization of projects on construction of railroads, motorways, power transmission lines, gas pipelines and etc. that connect Afghanistan with Tajikistan and other countries of the region is of utmost importance,” he said.

“Last March Tajikistan hosted the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA V), which submitted specific proposals and projects in various areas that contribute to regional cooperation with the participation of Afghanistan.  As a close neighbor of Afghanistan, Tajikistan has actively participated in the rehabilitation of the Afghan economy and its social infrastructure.  We are convinced that the processes of multidimensional regional cooperation should involve Afghanistan in full.”

Tajik foreign minister noted that the prevention of illicit drug trafficking demands cooperation from the international community.

“It is essential that the international community unite the measures aimed at reducing both the demand and supply of drugs, and integrate the efforts undertaken at the national level into the international strategy for drug control,” Zarifi said, adding that Tajikistan has started developing a new anti-narcotics strategy for the 2013-2020 period.