BRUSSELS -- European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called on Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to assure his country's November presidential election advances democracy.
Speaking after meeting Rahmon in Brussels on April 10, Van Rompuy said they also discussed human rights.
"We spoke about the human rights situation in the country and the need to ensure that these rights are guaranteed, and I also raised in particular freedom of association and freedom of religion," Van Rompuy said.
Rahmon told journalists he had not yet decided whether to run in the election.
"However, as the president of the country and the major guarantor of the constitution of the country, I will assure that the next presidential election that will take place in 2013 will be conducted in a free, transparent, and democratic manner," Rahmon said.
Rahmon also spoke with European Parliament President Martin Schulz about tensions between Dushanbe and Tashkent over construction of the Rogun Dam in southern Tajikistan, which Uzbekistan says will reduce water flow to its cotton fields.
And the Tajik president also met with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at NATO headquarters.
Rasmussen told Rahmon that NATO wants to strengthen ties with Dushanbe.
"We look to deepen our dialogue with you on Afghanistan. NATO and Tajikistan share a common interest in a stable and secure Afghanistan," Rasmussen said. "We are grateful for Tajikistan's political and practical support to our ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] mission."
Talks focused on how Tajikistan can help the alliance as it concludes its combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Rasmussen told Rahmon that NATO appreciated Tajikistan's support "in granting overflight rights and the use of Dushanbe airport."