President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov: Mr President, members of the Russian delegation, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Tashkent and in your person pay my respects to the people of Russia.
Mr President, we see this visit as continuing the political dialogue that is so particularly important today, and also as a good opportunity to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues, make decisions on areas where adjustments are needed, and, especially important in today’s context, set priorities and define our common positions and objectives so as to ensure that we put concrete substance into the Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Agreement on Alliance.
We all see that the world is in a state of great tension at the moment and we see the confrontation taking place and the conflicts that continue in various parts of the world. In this situation, there is no need to explain that your official visit to Uzbekistan is particularly important because we need to not just respond to these challenges but above all to compare our positions and settle the areas in which we have common goals and common views.
I thus see this as a chance to exchange views with you on key issues, above all the matters on our bilateral agenda, but also issues of great importance in terms of ensuring peace and stability in the complicated Central Asian region.
This is all the more important when the Afghanistan issue is still far from resolved. Russia has interests here too and has always had a stabilising presence in Central Asia, and so I think that in this context an exchange of views on what will happen following the withdrawal of the international forces there is of interest for all countries in this region. Of course nothing can be settled here without Russia’s involvement too. These are the most important and topical issues that I would like to discuss with you today.
The main thing I want to say once again though is that Uzbekistan has always been open to Russia and this remains the case today. We have always taken pride in the thousands of ties and threads that bind our peoples together. I think it would be futile on the part of anyone to try to or seek to ignore these common ties we share.
I say this all the more so as the guesses and talk that come up with all sorts of scenarios are for people who have nothing better to do. I think that there is clearly no point in wasting much energy over this, for these are futile undertakings.
Thank you for finding the time to come to Tashkent. I am sure that your visit will make a visible contribution to our bilateral relations.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, thank you very much for the invitation. It is always a great pleasure to visit Tashkent and enjoy the warm atmosphere that you always create during our contacts. Uzbekistan will soon start preparing for its next big rounds of elections, first the parliamentary election, and then the presidential election, and so I want to start our talks today by wishing you all the best of luck in organising these big events.
As for our relations, I agree with you of course that they are of great importance for both countries. In developing our relations, we follow the principles set out in our basic agreements.
The Agreement on Alliance is one of these basic agreements. We place great significance on this word. Our political contacts are growing all the time at every level – at parliamentary level, at the government level, and between you and I too.
Russia is indisputably Uzbekistan’s biggest trade and economic partner and we will try to maintain this high level. Uzbekistan is one of Russia’s priority partners in the region of course. This is only natural given that Uzbekistan is one of the region’s biggest countries.
Neither you nor we are indifferent to developments in the region in general. I am therefore very pleased to have this chance to meet with you and discuss the broad range of issues before us. Thank you very much for the invitation.