This week, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, led a US delegation with representatives from the White House National Security Council, Department of Defense, and Department of State to a high-level international conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to promote security, prosperity, and regional connectivity between Central and South Asia and to strengthen cooperation with the United States.
Dr. Sherwood-Randall delivered opening remarks recognizing 30 years of partnership between the United States and the countries of Central Asia, as well as the U.S. Government’s commitment to realizing the region’s potential as a transit, trade, and energy hub. Dr. Sherwood-Randall emphasized the importance of infrastructure development that safeguards the environment and meets the highest international standards, consistent with the aims of the new G7-led Build Back Better World initiative.
She participated in a roundtable meeting of the C5+1 diplomatic platform for Central Asia, where member countries had the opportunity to discuss the significant challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and instability in Afghanistan, as well as the need to enhance regional cooperation on economic and security matters of shared interest. Members of the C5+1 issued a Joint Statement outlining their goals for further collaboration.
Dr. Sherwood-Randall had the opportunity to meet with the conference host, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and also held bilateral meetings with officials from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan to identify concrete opportunities to enhance security in the region, address humanitarian concerns, and increase vaccinations in order to stem the spread of Covid-19. She was joined by U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and US Ambassador to Uzbekistan Daniel Rosenblum. The delegation met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Foreign Minister Haneef Atmar to discuss the evolving security situation in Afghanistan, U.S. support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and U.S. diplomatic support for a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. The delegation also met with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to discuss regional security for Afghanistan and counterterrorism cooperation.