Marking the fifth anniversary of the signing of the General Peace Agreement in Tajikistan, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the parties for their determination to foster a secure environment in the formerly war-wracked country.
In a message to an international conference held in Dushanbe to commemorate the milestone, the Secretary-General congratulated the people and Government of Tajikistan, and all participants at the event, for their commitment to peace. "Let us apply the lessons learned in Tajikistan in other countries and regions facing the formidable challenge of restoring peace and harmony to their societies," he added in the message, which was delivered on his behalf by Ivo Petrov, the Secretary-General's Representative for Tajikistan.
Mr. Annan pointed out that Tajikistan's independence had coincided with one of the most tragic chapters in its history - "a civil war in which more than 50,000 people perished, hundreds of thousands were displaced, and enormous material damage was inflicted on the country." He hailed the political commitment of President Rakhmonov and the leaders of the United Tajik Opposition to stop the devastation and begin a process of national reconciliation.
The Secretary-General stressed that the UN's commitment to Tajikistan did not end with the signing and implementation of the peace agreement. The UN Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP) has worked closely with the Government for the past two years in addressing a range of post-conflict challenges. "I hope the United Nations and all international actors present in Tajikistan will be able to count on the continued support of the donor community and former guarantor countries," he said.