Continuing his official visit throughout Central Asia, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today arrived in Uzbekistan for talks with senior government officials and UN personnel.
Arriving at midday in the capital, Tashkent, the Secretary-General spoke briefly at the airport with Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov before meeting with the UN country team, according to a UN spokesperson in New York.
The Secretary-General then visited the Uzbek Parliament, where he met privately with committee chairs and other parliamentary leaders to discuss democratic and economic reforms, environmental issues and the protection of women. The talks also focused on ways the UN could assist in those areas, spokesperson Hua Jiang said.
After the talks at the Parliament, Mr. Annan met with President Islam Karimov and with Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov. At a press encounter afterwards, Mr. Annan said he and the President had discussed the international fight against terrorism, water management, regional environmental issues, good governance, and cooperation between the Government and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Of UN-Uzbek relations, the Secretary-General said, “They’re good, and we would want to strengthen it further.”
In the evening, the President hosted a dinner in honour of the Secretary-General and his wife, Nane.
Before travelling to Uzbekistan, the Secretary-General concluded his visit to Kazakhstan this morning, meeting with the UN country team to discuss the Kazakh Government’s progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
After that, Mr. Annan addressed both houses of the Kazakh Parliament, noting the challenges of globalization, which in some areas has led to a reaction where communities turn inward – increasing the dangers of intolerance and xenophobia.
By contrast, the Secretary-General said, the people and Parliament of Kazakhstan “are living examples of the dialogue among civilizations.”