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Tajikistan, EU to prepare enhanced cooperation agreement

DUSHANBE/BRUSSEL - Tajikistan and the European Union have agreed to prepare an enhance partnership and cooperation agreement, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said after his meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk.

The sides are broadening their relations, and new economic and political trends are appearing inside and outside Central Asia, Rahmon said at a press conference in Dushanbe.

"The reality necessitates a greater variety of cooperation forms and an update of their legal foundation," Rahmon said.

The talks focused on economic dimension of Tajikistan-EU cooperation, he added.

"In this light, we have discussed Tajikistan's accession to the EU's Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus, which gives customs privileges to imported commodities and our goods exported to the EU territory. At the same time, we have stressed the need for bolstering the EU's role of a strategic partner in the implementation of socioeconomic projects of our country," Rahmon said.

He thanked the European Union for 250-million-euro projects assisting Tajikistan in territorial development, healthcare, and education within the framework of the EU's new strategy.

For his part, Tusk highlighted the issue of human rights.

"The highest goal of every politician is to ensure security but also human rights and freedoms. To achieve that, strength, courage and good will are needed. You have it all, Mr President. I would also like to underline the importance of your personal role and the role of your country in the political stabilization not only in Tajikistan but in the whole region," the EU press service quoted Tusk's words in its statement.

"In fact today your efforts, your activities, your impact also in a global context. And in these efforts for stabilization and security, you can always count on Europe, and me personally," Tusk said.

"The EU is ready to improve Tajikistan's access to Europe's markets, as soon as the necessary conditions are met. And you know, Mr President, what I am talking about. We also discussed the prospect of negotiating a new bilateral agreement. That would be a positive development in our relations," he said.

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