The development of friendly relations with CIS countries and the further strengthening of all-round ties with Russia are Tajikistan's foreign policy priorities and meet the republic's national interests. According to a RIA Novosti correspondent, a statement to this effect was made Monday by Emomali Rakhmonov, Tajikistan's president, when addressing the joint session of the parliament's upper and lower chambers with a message on the guidelines of the republic's internal and external policies. As the president pointed out, Tajikistan adheres to the principle of openness of its economy. Therefore, it will continue to reduce import duties within the framework of the agreement between members of the Customs Union. The solution of the problem of the country's foreign debt is also one of the government's priorities, Rakhmonov said. At present, Tajikistan's foreign debt amounts to 850 million dollars. Touching on the issue of economic reform, Rakhmonov noted that the reform aimed, above all, at reducing poverty in the country through economic growth. In his message, the Tajik president gave much attention to the fight against organised crime which, in his words, "threatens the country's economy, policy, culture and gene pool like plague, and also causes a damage to Tajikistan's international prestige." The president demanded that all law-enforcement agencies should enhance their responsibility when tackling the tasks set to ensure citizens' rights and freedoms and the country's security.
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