Central and South Asian regional security conferees release statement

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany -- Officials of the governments of Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan met January 11-13, 2005 at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany to exchange views on enhancing regional cooperation in addressing common transnational security issues, including terrorism, production and trafficking of illicit narcotics and border security. The conference was co-hosted by U.S. Central Command and the Marshall Center. Officials of a number of other governments and organizations, including the United States Government, also participated in these discussions.

At the end of the conference the participants issued the following:

STATEMENT OF DELEGATIONS ATTENDING THE CENTRAL AND SOUTH ASIAN REGIONAL SECURITY CONFERENCE

Participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity provided by the conference in creating a useful forum for discussion of broad-ranging regional security challenges. They also agreed that effectively addressing these challenges will require continued opportunities for interaction and increased cooperation among states in the region and others. Participants proposed a number of specific suggestions on concrete ways to enhance regional cooperation.

Participants believe effective regional cooperation in addressing the issues of counter narcotics, border security and counter terrorism mandates open dialog and regular and sustained communications among the nations represented during the conference at the appropriate functional levels. Accordingly, officials will report on the discussions at the conference to their respective governments, and seek means of implementing ideas to improve communications and information sharing across the region. The next conference to continue the dialog established on the key issues highlighted in this initial effort is tentatively planned for September 2005. In the meantime, participants will where applicable initiate preliminary communications with each other to determine where and how conference suggestions might be implemented.

"This has been a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with many of the nations that are linked by geography, as well as by the challenges they face," said Lt. Gen. David Barno, Commander of Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan. "This first conference is an incredibly progressive step forward in a cooperative process. The conference provided a unique and frank forum for discussion of regional security challenges. Similar follow-on discussions in the future can prove extremely useful in implementing specific measures to enhance regional cooperation. The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies co-hosted the conference with Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan. The Center brought a faculty with wide range of expertise in security issues and a staff of conference specialists skilled in hosting such meetings in its home base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and in countries throughout Europe and Central Asia.

"We're happy to have co-hosted the conference and to be part of the team that's helping these countries address their common concerns," said Marshall Center Director Dr. John P. Rose. "Security issues don't always align themselves along neat geographical lines, so being able to team with organizations such as Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan gives us all the ability to address issues of strategic importance to the nations involved, Germany and the United States."

"The Marshall Center is a renowned U.S. Department of Defense and German Ministry of Defense educational institution. More than 3,700 military and civilian officials from 51 nations have graduated from resident courses and over 12,300 have attended nearly 200 conferences discussing European and Central Asian security issues since the center was dedicated in 1993.

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