27 Nov 2023 16:22

Tajikistan to hold presidency of UN's SPECA in 2024

DUSHANBE. Nov 27 (Interfax) - Tajikistan will take over the presidency of the United Nations Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) in 2024.

"Tajikistan stands ready to make a worthy contribution together with the other member countries to the fulfillment of certain tasks as part of the program," Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said at a SPECA summit in Baku.

There have been at least two breakthroughs in SPECA's activities during Azerbaijan's presidency of the program, Rahmon said.

"The first one is that you elevated it to the level of the heads of participating states for the first time over SPECA's 25-year history. The second one is that, despite a long delay in the establishment of the SPECA Trust Fund, you successfully resolved this issue during the year of your presidency at SPECA," he said.

SPECA's member countries have huge labor and natural resources, as well as vast energy and transport and communication capabilities, he said. Therefore, a task for the upcoming period should be steps to use this unique platform more effectively to promote regional integration in all of these areas.

"[...] Tajikistan considers it important to increase trade and economic cooperation with the countries of the region, which is also one of the priorities of SPECA's activities," Rahmon said.

SPECA member countries account for around 26% of Tajikistan's foreign trade, Rahmon said. Expanding transport links undoubtedly contributes to the growth of mutual trade, he said. Helping the SPECA countries develop their transport infrastructure would be a timely measure. In this context, their inclusion in international transport corridors and steps to simplify transit and diversify transit routes are essential.

Rahmon also propose considering the possibility of integrating the operations of the region's wholesale distribution centers, which are meant to ensure uninterrupted supplies of agricultural products between member countries, increase their exports to third countries and promote mutual trade within the region as a whole.

Another priority of SPECA is the rational and effective use of Central Asia's water and energy resources, Rahmon sad.

Rahmon reaffirmed Tajikistan's readiness to engage in constructive and mutually beneficial cooperation in this field with all parties concerned.