While on his annual mission to Dushanbe, Ambassador Peter Burian, the European Union (EU) Special Representative for Central Asia, held constructive meetings with a series of Ministers, representatives of development partners and international organizations, as well as the EU Heads of Mission and other residing Ambassadors, members of diplomatic community and the local civil society, according to the EU Delegation to Tajikistan.

Discussions with the First Deputy Prime Minister Davlatali Said and the Minister for Economic Development and Trade Zavqi Zavqizoda, reportedly focused on priorities of bilateral and regional cooperation in the key sectors of green economy, human development, education, healthcare and management of natural resources.  The parties also discussed ongoing reforms and further opportunities for strengthening of trade and economic cooperation, including through GSP+ and the development of sustainable tourism.

Regional cooperation, and connectivity as well as water and energy issues were discussed at great length with Deputy Prime Minister Usmonali Usmonzoda.

The economic situation and cooperation with the international financing institutions was discussed with the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Head of National Bank of Tajikistan.

Moreover, Ambassador Burian also held a joint meeting with the visiting Vice President of the World Bank Ms. Anna Bjerde, where the parties discussed synergies between the EU and WB in supporting sustainable green development, resilience and prosperity in Tajikistan and the wider Central Asian region.

Regional cooperation, stability and security were at the forefront of discussions also with Ambassadors and representatives of international organizations, including with UNESCO Regional Representative Krista Pikkat, UNHCHR Regional Representative Indrika Ratwatte, and UNODC Regional Representative Ashita Mittal.

During his talks with Tajik Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin, discussion reportedly focused on bilateral cooperation as well as latest developments in the region, with focus on security and stability, including in Afghanistan.  Ambassador Burian appreciated the efforts of the Tajik and Kyrgyz leaderships to instantly de-escalate tensions and continue diplomatic negotiations for political settlement of the border issues, and confirmed the EU’s readiness to provide support.  Foreign Minister Muhriddin also reiterated Tajikistan's readiness to host the next EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting in Dushanbe later this year.

Ambassador Burian noted the positive role that the civil society had played in Tajikistan during the outbreak of the pandemic by contributing to mitigate the negative impacts on the most vulnerable groups in society.  With civil society representatives he exchanged views on ongoing EU-funded projects addressing challenges of sustainable development, including gender based violence. He underlined the great potential of CSOs working as partners of the government in advancing sectoral reforms and in providing help and essential services to most vulnerable.  A regional meeting of the Civil Society Forum will take place in Almaty later this year and will be a good opportunity for exchanging experience at the regional level.