SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN SHAVKAT MIRZIYOYEV AT THE ADVISORY MEETING OF THE HEADS OF CENTRAL ASIAN STATES
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Dear heads of delegations!
Dear meeting participants!
I cordially greet my esteemed friends - the leaders of the countries of Central Asia - and the members of the delegations.
The Consultative Meeting once again clearly confirms the commonality of our interests, our readiness for an open dialogue and the adoption of agreed decisions on the most pressing issues of regional development.
Just in a narrow format, we have thoroughly discussed the current state and prospects of interaction and have come to a common opinion on the need to further strengthen the relations of trust, good neighborliness and partnership of our countries.
It is known that Central Asia, due to its geostrategic position for thousands of years, was at the center of world processes.
Our region with a rich cultural and historical heritage has always served as a unique bridge connecting Europe, the Middle East, South and East Asia. On this fertile land, outstanding humanists, scientists, thinkers and poets, who made an invaluable contribution to the development of world civilization, lived and worked on. Colossal natural resources, huge human potential are concentrated here.
And today in Central Asia the competing interests of the leading world powers intersect.
In the immediate vicinity of us there are large pockets of instability that affect international and regional security.
We are facing difficult questions: how stable and predictable will Central Asia develop? What new challenges and risks can our countries face? How can we further build regional cooperation based on our common interests?
Today we have to jointly find answers to these vital questions.
Dear meeting participants!
Each state in the region makes a worthy contribution to the stability and prosperity of Central Asia. Thanks to political will and practical steps, we are reaching a higher level of interaction.
Our solidarity and active efforts have opened up great opportunities for multifaceted regional cooperation. In a short time, together we were able to achieve real progress.
In particular, the commodity circulation of Uzbekistan with the countries of Central Asia has grown more than 2 times in recent years, the number of joint ventures - 4 times.
Together with our partners, we are on the way to completing the legal registration of borders. About sixty checkpoints were ensured full-fledged activities, and visas were canceled.
Business and interregional contacts, transport links, and cultural and humanitarian exchanges are expanding.
Last year, Uzbekistan hosted the first Central Asian Economic Forum and the first meeting of the Working Group at the level of deputy prime ministers of our countries.
In 2018, after a ten-year break, a meeting of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea was held in Turkmenistan.
The international initiatives of our countries are widely recognized - holding debates in the UN Security Council on Afghanistan, ensuring radiation safety in Central Asia, the International Decade for Action “Water for Sustainable Development”, adoption of the Ashgabat Energy Charter Declaration and United Nations General Assembly resolutions on Central Asia as well as many others.
In all this, a steady trend is manifested - the strengthening of the independent role and responsibility of our states for a common future.
I would like to note with satisfaction that the Central Asian states are increasingly coming out from consolidated positions on regional and global issues.
I emphasize that our rapprochement and expansion of cooperation in the region is a demanded and irreversible process. It is based on a firm political choice, has deep historical background and is not directed against anyone’s interests.
At the same time, strengthening unity and cohesion, we contribute to the establishment of a stable and sustainable developing region, which means a promising and predictable international partner.
As a result, the world’s attention to Central Asia is steadily growing, the interest of leading states and international financial institutions in supporting our joint initiatives is increasing.
In this regard, I consider it important to continue the practice of close and systemic dialogue of the countries of the region in various formats with foreign partners, as well as interaction within the framework of the United Nations and other international and regional structures.
Dear heads and members of delegations!
Speaking about the priorities of the expanding regional partnership, I would like to emphasize the following.
The first one. It is important to focus on the practical implementation of tasks in the trade, economic, investment, transport, communications and energy sectors. These are the priorities of dynamic development and ensuring the competitiveness of the entire region.
In this regard, we propose to hold the Central Asian Investment Forum and the first meeting of the chambers of commerce and industry of our countries, to expedite the creation of a regional council for transport communications.
We are proposing the organization of an international tourism conference to promote joint programs on the principle of “one tour - the whole region”.
The second one. Along with the regular holding of multilateral meetings of deputy prime ministers and foreign ministers, we propose the establishment of an inter-parliamentary friendship group of Central Asian countries.
The third. I think that the creation of a cultural and humanitarian exchange platform called “Central Asia - one past, a common future” meets the interests of all our peoples.
With your support, it is proposed to establish a Central Asian Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of science, culture and art, as well as hold university forums and regional sports games.
We consider it important to organize annually on the eve of the Navruz holiday the Days of Culture of Central Asia - in turn in each of our countries. All this will make our fraternal peoples even closer.
Fourth. Solving difficult regional water-ecological problems requires coordinated approaches.
In order to attract innovative technologies, introduce the principles of a green economy, prevent desertification and take other comprehensive measures, we consider it important to effectively use the capabilities of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund created under the auspices of the United Nations for the Aral Sea region.
It is necessary to continue the search for mutually acceptable solutions to pressing issues of joint water use.
Fifth. The most important priority is ensuring regional stability and security.
We advocate the creation of working mechanisms for the operational interaction of law enforcement agencies and special services of our countries to fully counter modern challenges and threats.
An integral part of our region is Afghanistan.
And in our common interests is to help this country firmly embark on the path of peace and development.
We believe that it is necessary to adhere to the key principles of a political settlement. First of all, this is a renunciation of violence, a ceasefire, a demonstration of readiness for dialogue and compromise.
In addition, it is extremely important to develop coordinated approaches to the implementation of the most important infrastructure and social projects in Afghanistan, as well as to the active involvement of this country in regional trade and economic relations.
Today we can say with confidence that a new system of bilateral and multilateral relations is being built between our countries in almost all key areas.
The basis of this positive and dynamic process is the mutual desire and common interests of our peoples.
I am sure that all the priorities identified today should be reflected in our common vision for the further development of cooperation in Central Asia.
We need to agree on the key principles and goals of cooperation, create favorable conditions for the movement of people, capital, goods and services, as well as a broad cultural and humanitarian exchange.
I hope that the current Consultative Meeting in Tashkent will open a new page in our relations, will contribute to the formation and launch of effective mechanisms to strengthen friendship, good neighborliness and partnership in Central Asia.
Thank you for attention.