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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Virtual reception the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Visa of the Republic of Uzbekistan Consular Missions of Uzbekistan overseas

Topical issues

11 November 2017

Speech of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the international conference «Central Asia: one past and a common future, cooperation for sustainable development and mutual prosperity» in Samarkand

Dear Mr. Jenča!

Dear Mrs. Mogherini!

Distinguished Ministers of Foreign Affairs,

heads of international organizations and diplomatic missions, participants of the conference!

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I sincerely welcome on the blessed Uzbek land - in the ancient city of Samarkand all participants and guests of the international conference on security and sustainable development in the region of Central Asia.

I express special gratitude to the United Nations Organization and personally to the Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres for supporting the initiative on holding our forum.

I am glad to see in this hall the foreign ministers of Central Asian countries, high-level guests from Russia, China, USA, European states, Japan, Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the representatives of the CIS, SCO, OSCE and other partner organizations.

Dear participants of the conference!

Importance and relevance of our forum are vividly reflected in its name – «Central Asia: shared past and a common future, cooperation for sustainable development and mutual prosperity».

The peoples of our region are linked with each other by a several millennia-long bonds of fraternity and good-neighborliness.

We are united by acommon history, religion, culture and traditions.

Being in the «heart» of Eurasia, the region is the bridge connecting Europe and the Middle East, South and East Asia, shares borders with such major states, like Russia and China.

The region is rich in natural resources and a unique cultural and civilization potential is accumulated here which had decisive impact on the development of many countries and entire regions.

At the same time, the interests of world powers intersect in Central Asia, the region adjoins the hotspots of instability and conflicts, experiencing

the influence of all negative processes, taking place in the near and far abroad.

The natural question arises: how will the situation develop in the region?

Along the scenario of conflicts and confrontation - or along the way of cooperation and progress?

The future of our region with a total number of population of over 70 (seventy) million people is formed by each state of Central Asia.

We firmly believe that the solid foundation and guarantor of its sustainable development and prosperity are the readiness and sincere desire for cooperation, as well as responsibility of all Central Asian countries for a common future.

Uzbekistan is a supporter of the earliest resolution of existing disagreements and strengthening of mutual trust.

On the very basis of the principles of good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial partnership our countries will be able to more effectively implement their potential in trade-economic, transport-communication, cultural and humanitarian spheres, as well as in the issues of security and stability.

I am confident that all, both the states of Central Asia and other countries will benefit from this.

Our main goal is to transform Central Asia into a stable, economically developed and prosperous region by common efforst.

For this we need to jointly eliminate the conditions and causes, which feed and provoke the conflict potential, ensure the conjugation of national development with region-wide priorities.

While realizing our common development priorities, today we are seeking reasonable compromises on such pressing issues of the regional agenda, as borders, water use, transport and trade.

On the margins of today's conference Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan signed the Treaty on the Area of Junction Point of State Borders.

This document is unlimited and not subject to denunciation and it will further tighten the bonds of friendship among three neighboring states.

Recently, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan agreed 85 (eighty five) percent of their border. Thus in fact, one of the long overdue problems has been solved.

The cooperation in the sphere of transport has widened. We have resumed flights with Tajikistan. Trade volume are increasing, the links between border areas are strengthening, cultural and humanitarian exchange has intensified.

At the same time, I believe that the achieved initial results are not a reason for complacency. We are still at the beginning of the road.

What specific challenges are important and need to be met today in order to ensure a decent future?

First, it is the development of trade and economic ties and creation of favorable conditions for the growth of trade and strengthening of cooperation.

The creation of Regional Economic Forum may become a practical step in this direction.

I am talking about an open platform for a direct dialogue among business communities and substantive discussion of specific projects of trade-economic, investment and innovative interaction.

Our numerous meetings with the representatives of business circles and leading enterprises of the region’s countries allowed to significantly intensify economic ties, increase the volumes of mutual trade.

Thus, since the beginning of the year, Uzbkistan’s trade with the countries of the region grew on average by 20 (twenty) percent, and with certain states – almost by 70 (seventy) percent.

Priority should be given to interregional cooperation. In this regard, I propose to establish the Association of Heads (hokims) of regions and business communities of states of Central Asia.

According to the estimates of UN experts, effective cooperation of the countries of Central Asia could increase the regional GDP by at least two times in the next 10 (ten) years.

I am convinced that these mechanisms will allow to directly involve the industrial, investment and intellectual potential of our countries’ regions, ensuring sustainable development of the entire Central Asia.

Second, the transit and logistical potential of the region needs to be used more efficiently and ensure accelerated development of transport infrastructure.

I would like to note with satisfaction that countries of the region have taken practical steps in this regard.

Turkmen friends have opened new railway and automobile bridges Turkmenabad-Farab over the Amu Darya river. This is an important section of Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman transport and transit route.

An agreement has been reached on the earliest start of construction of Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China railroad, and a pilot car rally was held across this transport corridor.

In this connection, we believe it is necessary develop and adopt a region-wide Program of Development of Transport Communications.

In order to agree our common approaches, we are planning to hold the international conference «Central Asia in the system of international transport corridors: strategic prospects and untapped opportunities» in 2018 in Tashkent.

We hope for active participation of all our partners in the work of this conference.

Third, it is the deepening of practical cooperation for ensuring security and stability in Central Asia.

Today, all countries of the region equally face the threats of terrorism, religious extremism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.

An effective counteraction against these challenges may only be ensured through joint efforts, within the framework of practical cooperation of the countries of the region.

We are deeply convinced that we need to reject the division of security threats into «our own and someone else’s» and in practice adhere to the principle of «indivisibility of security».

An important role in addressing the problem of regional security, above all, in the context of using the instruments of preventive diplomacy must be played by the United Nations.

It is also necessary to strengthen interaction within the framework of mechanisms of CIS, SCO, OSCE and other high-profile international and regional structures.

Today, the prospects of stable and sustainable development in Central Asia are inextricably linked with the achievement of peace in neighboring Afghanistan.

One of the priority tasks is the comprehensive assistance in terms of Afghanistan’s integration into regional economic processes.

This will be the major contribution to the efforts of the international community to ensure peaceful development in Afghanistan.

I underline that Uzbekistan will continue to actively participate in the economic reconstruction of the neighboring country, development of its transport and energy infrastructure, training its human resources.

Priority direction in terms of ensuring stability and sustainable development in Central Asia is confronting the ideology of extremism, which most often exerts influence over young people who are just entering the adult life.

Central Asia is one of the «youngest» regions in terms of age of the population: young people make up about 60 per cent, which is significantly higher than the average world indicators.

Therefore, at the recent session of the UN General Assembly in New York Uzbekistan put forward the initiatives on developing the Convention on the Rights of the Youth and adopting the special resolution «Education and Tolerance».

Extending support to these initiatives by all countries of Central Asia will become a powerful signal of our readiness to preempt the radicalization of young people, ensure social rehabilitation of misdirected persons, and their return to a normal life.

As our experience shows, the most effective countermeasure against extremism is enlightenment, primarily of young people, communicating to them the humanistic essence of Islam, the true values of Islamic culture.

In this respect, we have made a decision on the establishment of Imam Bukhari Center International Research Center in Samarkand and the Center of Islamic Civilization in Tashkent.

Fourth, is the earliest final completion of the process of delimitation and demarcation of state borders.

Having solving border problems, we will lay a solid foundation for the expansion of trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian cooperation among our countries.

We believe it is necessary to continue coherent and scrupulous joint work to address difficult issues, arising at the talks on delimitation of state borders.

I am confident that by mutual consideration of interests, and on the basis of reasonable compromises and equivalent exchange we will soon be able to solve this crucial problem.

Fifth, is the earliest settlement of the issues of fair water use in the region.

I am convinced that in addressing these issues we need to be guided by international legal norms that would take into account the interests of all states of the region.

Uzbekistan supports draft conventions on the use of water resources of the Amudarya and the Syrdarya river basins, developed by the UN.

Addressing the most acute problems related to the ecological catastrophe of the Aral Sea requires joining of efforts. This is not only our common pain, but also our common task.

We can’t work out adequate response to these challenges without adequate consolidation both at regional and international level.

In this regard, we believe it is necessary to intensify the activities of all states of the Central Asian region in order to solve the urgent problems of the Aral Sea region, and to attract a donor assistance to implement socially significant projects and programs.

Sixth, it is necessary to strengthen cultural and humanitarian ties, relations of friendship and good neighborliness among our states and peoples.

This is one of the main conditions of intensification of regional cooperation in Central Asia.

From this point of view, we stand for the continuation of an active cultural and humanitarian dialogue, holding the Days of Culture creative activities in our countries on regular basis, development of educational and tourist exchanges as they are the most important tools of «people’s diplomacy».

In the end, a simple and open human communication is the most reliable way to strengthen the climate of mutual understanding and stability in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I believe you will agree that addressing topical issues in Central Asia is only possible through joining the efforts of our countries on the basis of the principle of shared responsibility.

Organization of regular consultative meetings of the heads of state of Central Asian countries could facilitate the implementation of the foregoing tasks.

We proceed from the understanding that today there is a real need for the joint search for ways of solving common regional problems.

This was also reflected in the statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the countries of Central Asia on the margins of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.

I would like to underline that we are not talking about the creation of a new international organization of Central Asia or some other integration structure with its own charter and supranational bodies.

Activities of the regional dialogue platform will be exclusively aimed at «comparing notes» on the key issues of regional development.

We also believe that upon the result of this conference it is important to make an appeal to the UN General Assembly to adopt a special resolution on strengthening regional and international cooperation for peace, security and sustainable socio-economic development in the Central Asian region.

Adoption of such a resolution would be significant support from the United Nations and the entire international community to the efforts of our states in terms of strengthening constructive dialogue, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation and developing coherent approaches to the solution of existing problems in the region.

Dear participants of the conference!

Central Asia is, in fact, the region of unique opportunities and huge untapped potential.

Ensuring sustainable development, stability and prosperity in the region is our common and quite achievable task.

There is no doubt that today's conference will be another step in the progress towards this noble goal, facilitate practical implementation of key tasks, new, put forward new and much-needed proposals aimed at strengthening our common «Central Asian Home».

I wish all participants and guests of the forum productive work and pleasant stay in Samarkand.

Thank you for your attention.

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