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President of the Republic of Uzbekistan: SCO manifests a profound viability

06-15-2006 10:08 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Germany

/ PR Agency: Pressesevice of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Berlin
President Islam Karimov

President Islam Karimov

On the eve of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov met with the representatives of mass media of the People’s Republic of China.

The interview of the leader of Uzbekistan has been broadly covered by PRC Central television channel CCTV-1, leading news agency “Xinxua”, influential newspaper “Ren Min Ri Bao”, and China Radio. Below we propose this interview for your attention.

Question: Dear Mr. President, above all, we would like to thank You for having found the time and agreed to meet with us. Allow us to ask you the first question: How do you assess the course of the SCO development for over the five years after its establishment?

Answer: Availing myself of this opportunity and meeting with the representatives of the largest Chinese mass media outlets, I want to express the feelings of high respect to Your country, great Chinese people.

It is profoundly symbolic that in the very city of Shanghai, which is a bright embodiment of the dynamically developing modern China, five years ago the documents o­n establishing the SCO were signed.

For over the five years, which have passed since creation of the SCO, it achieved a significant progress practically in all spheres of cooperation, gained the status of the universally recognized international structure, whose significance and influence reach beyond the limits of the region.

For over the past historically short period the SCO was not o­nly able to prove its viability, but also became consolidated in the world politics as an international forum o­n resolving the entire complex of regional problems: ranging from politics and security to the issues of economic and humanitarian cooperation.

I would like to draw your attention, in my view, to the most important moment. Development of situation and global changes in the world, growing threats to security and stability, lasting "hot spots", ascending danger of international terrorism, extremism, separatism, and drug trafficking in various regions, and firstly, in the close to all of us the region of Central Asia, time and again confirm the timeliness and imminence of establishing and forming such international organization as the SCO.

The very security, stability, and consistent development o­n the whole SCO space is o­ne of the main conditions to intensify cooperation in the trade, economic, social, and humanitarian spheres.

I am convinced that in the future the economic vector of cooperation within the SCO framework will grow. Successful start of activities of such new structures of the Organization as Business council, Manufacturers and entrepreneurs forum, and Banking union, witnesses about that. The Development fund, which is currently being established, is able to make a profound contribution.

Question: What measures does Uzbekistan take as the SCO member-state to deepen and extend cooperation within the framework of the Organization?

Answer: As a whole, our country highly assesses the current level of interaction of the SCO member-states and Organization's activity. At the moment, the participating countries enjoy broad opportunities to implement the largest projects in the sphere of economy, exploit the rich mineral resources of the region.

As an important priority in enhancing the investment cooperation we regard the development of transport communications, use of the rich water and energy resources of the region, the priority development of those directions of economy, which can and must resolve the outstanding problems of the region, such as population employment, and available social problems.

Uzbekistan puts forward initiatives and takes specific measures o­n countering manifestations of terrorism, separatism, and extremism. In early March this year the first joint antiterrorist exercises within the SCO framework were held o­n the territory of Uzbekistan. Exercises were held at high professional level and demonstrated good coordination of the special services activities, their resoluteness and ability to jointly counter terrorism.

In this context, it is necessary to note the ever more significant role, which the SCO Regional Antiterrorist Structure is gaining in this field by confidently setting o­n the path of concrete acts and practical return.

In the humanitarian sphere we attach priority significance to the development of interaction in the sphere of education. As we know, the level of education defines the destiny of the country, as much as its future. While based o­n this postulate, we welcome the forthcoming signing of the Agreement o­n cooperation in the sphere of education within the framework of the SCO Summit.

Question: In what does Uzbekistan see the prospects of development of the SCO? What do you expect of the next meeting of heads of the SCO member-states, which will take place in Shanghai?

Answer: While speaking about prospects of the SCO, we cannot but remember that our Organization is just five years old. We consider it very important that for over these years the SCO has been formed, institutionally strengthened, and turned into a high-profile international structure.

At the same time, we understand that we now stand at the start of the path. Yet, we have to do quite a lot – both in the aspect of economy and sphere of security, and many other directions. Uzbeks say: "Yol-yolchiniki". Or: "The traveler can handle the road".

As life shows, when the friends are o­n the road and they have similar goals and objectives, then even a long travel won’t seem an excessively tiresome. Assessing results of the traversed path it can be bravely said that much has been achieved. The main thing is that the solid foundation for an effective and fruitful joint move forward has been laid.

Speaking about the forthcoming Summit, I would like to underscore the importance of the very fact that it will be held in Shanghai, the city and center, where the organization was established, in China where so much has been accomplished and currently being done to strengthen the profile and significance of the SCO.

Summarizing the interim results, it can be stated that: the political authority of the Organization is strengthening, a number of countries willing to participate in its work in o­ne way or another is o­n the rise. We consider this fact as a vivid evidence of perspectives of the Shanghai organization, its attractiveness to other countries.Exactly two years ago at the Tashkent meeting of heads of the SCO member-states we signed a declaration, which stated: “It is important to envisage such systemic steps, the realization of which supposes engaging in modern forms of trade and economic cooperation and raising the trade turnover between our countries, harmonizing the legal basis, gradually creating favorable conditions for the free flow of goods, services and technologies”.

We don’t have euphoria. Objectives, standing before the forthcoming Summit, are in accord with the course of gradual, the step-by-step deepening of multidimensional cooperation based o­n fundamental interests of our states and nations. At the same time we have prepared for this high-level meeting especially carefully, while understanding that the whole world will attentively observe its progress. It must not be forgotten that the heads of a number of countries in the region, which is becoming an ever more significant factor in the o­ngoing political, economic and cultural processes in international arena, will meet in Shanghai.

In this regard, I would like to note that given dynamic development of geopolitical processes, economic and information globalization it will be quite natural to take the SCO mechanisms up to a higher level of cooperation. This is a behest of the time, and the jubilee Summit, in our view, can and must give a start to the process of more effective mutual exploit of opening opportunities and countering the modern threats and challenges.

Question: The Republic of Uzbekistan is located at the center of Central Asia, where the stability in politics, economy and society is of profound significance for this region. Please, tell about Your view of developing situation.

Answer: Figuratively speaking, Uzbekistan is the center of Central Asia, borders o­n all five states of the region, including such restless state for over the last thirty years, as Afghanistan. Not o­nly a geographic location of the country, but also its enormous human, economic, cultural-civilization and intellectual potential, the richest natural resources play a special role.

Allow me remind that Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991 – the historically quite uneasy period. The years-long armed conflict was going o­n in Afghanistan, the unpredictability in development of political situation in an entire region prevailed, economic and social state remained extremely tough, almost all of the sectors of economy faced crisis. In those conditions it was of utmost importance to preserve peace and stability in our country, international and civil accord in Uzbekistan and entire region.These very aspects the state policy abided by in the process of reforming the society and its economic basis. Reforms in Uzbekistan were of gradual and step-by-step nature, considered specific historic conditions and mentality of local people, and had a clearly expressed social directivity. Along with that, we did not neglect the issues of strengthening the Armed forces and law enforcement agencies, able to truly defend the frontiers of the country, provide the safety for its citizens. All of this was fully supported by the Uzbek nation and eventually worked towards strengthening peace and stability in the regional scale.

Realizing the indivisibility of regional security, commonality of historic destinies of nations residing in Central Asia, along with neighbors we make purposeful efforts to create conditions to deepen cooperation with the countries of the region both o­n bilateral and multilateral levels. Uzbekistan’s many proposals o­n development of integration processes are aimed at it. Also the activity of regional associations and international organizations is directed to this purpose. Among them the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which maintains enormous opportunities for the development of interaction of our countries almost in all spheres, is starting to play an ever more profound role.

Events of the last years have brought the faces of true and alleged friends of the region’s countries out to the light. Uzbek nation, as much as brotherly nations of other states of Central Asia, perfectly realizes the importance of preserving peace and stability in its own house and in the o­ne of neighbor’s. And this is the guarantee of that we can effectively join efforts in the struggle for the right to independently decide our destiny, for the right to build our own future in a stable, developing and prosperous region.

Question: How do you assess the current state of the relations and further prospects of cooperation between China and Uzbekistan?

Answer: Today it can be stated with full responsibility that for over the last years a significant breakthrough has been made almost in all directions of cooperation between our countries.

I would like to note with satisfaction the intensity of bilateral contacts at various levels, which contribute to furthering the trustworthy political dialog and mutually beneficial cooperation founded o­n mutual aspirations of the peoples of Uzbekistan and China for even closer relationship based o­n the principles of openness, trust, mutual understanding and non-interference into internal affairs.

Uzbekistan considers China as a reliable, great neighbor and partner that has been rendering support to us from initial days of the independence of our country. A decisive role in the process of dynamic development of friendly relations between Uzbekistan and China plays the Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintao, in whose person we have found a wise and reliable friend, thinker of wide scope and farsighted leader, who is confidently leading his country towards prosperity.

The signing of an Agreement o­n Friendship and Cooperation last year has become a landmark event in the history of our bilateral relations, which, we firmly believe, created favorable conditions for their considerable promoting and deepening for many years to come. Uzbekistan and China as the countries, which directly faced the reality of threats of forces of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, are united in their approaches towards maintaining the regional stability and security. We also share the common stand in resolutely opposing the outside attempts of imposing o­n our countries the Western standards of ways of democratization and social development.

Economic cooperation is developing dynamically and with high pace. Thus, in comparison with the year 2000 the trade turnover between Uzbekistan and China grew more than fivefold and in the last year, according to our information, reached almost half billion USD.

At the same time, we are strongly convinced that both countries enjoy profound unexploited resources and powerful potential for taking the trade, economic, financial, and investment cooperation up to a higher level.

Our country is interested in investments and latest high technology, which are at the disposal of our Chinese partners. Chinese experience is interesting to Uzbekistan in the spheres, in which your country came out o­nto the leading positions in the world, such as the sphere of telecommunications, manufacturing of computers and accessories, household technology, machine building, chemical and petrochemical branches.

We see the growing financial and technological opportunities of the Chinese companies and stand ready to cooperate with them to establish the joint ventures in our country for the manufacturing of products, oriented not o­nly to domestic market, but also to exports to the third countries.

In this, in my opinion, is our common objective at the modern stage – to look for the ways and opportunities to extend and deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation in the trade, economic, and investment spheres.

There is a profound potential of cooperation in the field of science and technology, education, culture, and tourism. In order to intensify the interaction in these directions we need to strengthen the information exchange between the two countries. It is no secret, that still both in China and Uzbekistan there is a lack of information o­n economic potential, opportunities for cooperation, about culture and history of our countries.

I am convinced that staying mutually informed and respecting the cultural-historical heritage of o­ne another will promote the strengthening of trust and bringing our peoples closer, as well as reinforce the humanitarian basis of partnership relations.

Question: Regional Antiterrorist Organization, which was officially opened in June 2004 in Tashkent, now operates as o­ne of the two permanently functioning SCO bodies. What role does it play in the struggle against terrorism, separatism, and extremism, and protection of regional security?

Answer: Two years, which passed since the SCO RATS was established, have confirmed the timeliness and imminence of its creation. Currently in maintaining the security in the SCO space the RATS plays an ever more significant role as an effective instrument and platform for combining the efforts, as well as practical interaction of experts in the law-enforcement system.

At the moment, the objectives of RATS are not o­nly combating manifestations of terrorism, separatism, and extremism, but also countering the active ideological work of numerous radical and extremist centers, which, by administering the minds and zombiing the youth, are establishing the so-called "conveyer" o­n manufacturing the blind executors of terrorist acts.

Despite comparatively not long period since it was established, we have been observing the strengthening of the practical vector of work in the RATS activities. Designing the single database o­n terrorist, separatist and extremist organizations and persons, involved in such activities, is now being concluded.

We consider it justified that special place in the RATS activities is being reserved to systematizing the information – analytical activity, elaboration of recommendations o­n not o­nly immediate struggle against terrorism, but also o­n preventing its possible manifestations.

If we are to briefly summarize: today the RATS is turning into the structure, able to firmly and consistently counter the manifestations of "three evils", becomes a true and effective mechanism of cooperation in neutralizing the challenges and threats of the 21st century.

I am convinced that maintaining the regional security and stability, in its turn, creates a solid foundation to strengthen the multilateral cooperation within the SCO framework, much fuller and effective use of the available profound economic and human potential, the richest natural resources for the welfare of our nations.

Availing myself of this opportunity, I would like to wish your readers, viewers, and listeners, as well as entire Chinese people peace, wellbeing, and prosperity.

The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Berlin
Presservice
Perleberger Str. 62
10559 Berlin
Tel.: 030 39 40 98 -0; - 13
Fax: 030 39 40 98 62
www.uzbekistan.de

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The Information Agency Jahon (http://jahon.mfa.uz)
The National Information Agency UzA (www.uza.uz)

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