On 3-4 May, a high-level EU delegation participated in the International Conference on Countering Terrorism and Preventing Violent Extremism in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, organised on the initiative of the Tajik Government, in collaboration with the United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the EU. The conference offered the opportunity to discuss current challenges and to strengthen international cooperation in this important field. The EU continues to promote and practice a comprehensive approach to counter violent extremism, including full respect for the rule of law and human rights in view of the full implementation of related policies and standards set by the United Nations.
This Conference is particularly timely in the current context of strengthening regional cooperation in Central Asia and beyond, which is key to address difficult challenges, and to jointly find sustainable solutions. The recent Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan is another positive example for the joint attempt to achieve progress in the region together. We hope that the fruitful dialogue with our Central Asian partners on countering terrorism will continue and serve for the mutual benefit of our societies.
The EU stands ready to support this dialogue both politically and practically. We are strengthening our engagement with Central Asia and the region, also in light of our common security interests. Our regular political dialogue and technical cooperation have created solid bases on which we can build on, for example through new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreements, new forms of cooperation and stronger people-to-people exchanges.
The EU hosted a side-event to the Conference to discuss the EU's Perspective on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Central Asia and beyond, which was opened by Mr Gilles de Kerchove. The EU's implementing partner, the Hedayah Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, presented the programme STRIVE-Strengthening Resilience to Violent Extremism. The overall objective of this programme with a global reach is to build the capacity of state and non-state actors to effectively challenge radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism, while fully respecting human rights and international law. Work is conducted with local partners to design, implement and develop approaches that have a demonstrable impact on the threat posed by radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism. One of the targeted geographic areas of the STRIVE Global Programme is Central Asia.
The delegation of the European Union was led by Ambassador Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service. EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, and EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Ambassador Peter Burian, also spoke at the conference and had meetings with the local authorities.
The EU delegation further held a number of bilateral meetings with the Tajik authorities, in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Sirodjidin Aslov, the Border Troops and the State Committee on National Security. Bilateral meetings also included informal exchanges with representatives of civil society in Tajikistan.
Ambassador Belliard also met with the Secretary General of the OSCE, Ambassador Thomas Greminger, and reiterated the EU's interest in closer cooperation with the OSCE.