Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Mr President, allow me to again express gratitude to you from myself and on behalf of the people of Uzbekistan for helping us in this difficult time, including for dispatching a team of doctors led by two academicians to us, for your message of condolences, and to Prime Minister [Dmitry Medvedev] for attending the mourning ceremonies. All of this is very important for us. Your visit today conveys a great deal to us, and we are grateful to you for this. You are standing by us as a real friend. This is a difficult time for the republic. We are mourning the loss of our first President, Islam Karimov. We are grateful to you for your help.
Yesterday we watched the interview you gave in China and noted the kind words you said about our esteemed President, Islam Karimov. As you rightly said, a reliable structure of relations has developed between Uzbekistan and Russia over the past years. We can say now that Uzbekistan has always considered and will always consider its relationship with Russia as a strategic partnership and Russia as an allied country.
Islam Karimov used to say – and we will carry this on – that we have strategic relations with Russia, that we are strategic partners in our foreign policies. Mr President, we will continue working in the same manner, so as to keep secure and strengthen the bridge, which you and Islam Karimov worked for years to build.
I believe that your visit to Uzbekistan today is evidence of your personal attitude to our esteemed President, Islam Karimov, and also to the people of Uzbekistan. As I told you today, people in Tashkent, Samarkand and everywhere else in the country are saying today that your decision to come here speaks volumes. I want to express my gratitude to you once again.
As I said, we will continue to build on the considerable potential, which you and Islam Karimov have created.
Thank you very much.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Mirziyoyev, thank you for this opportunity to visit Uzbekistan today, to pay respects to the grave of Islam Karimov, the first President of Uzbekistan, who did so much for his country and for his people.
I am not talking about stability alone, although stability is certainly the basis for prosperity of any country, any nation, and he did succeed in achieving it at a most difficult time. But, for me, personally – I already said this yesterday, while I was in China: Islam Karimov and I have established a very good personal relationship, a trusting relationship, especially in recent years – so I deeply grieve this great loss.
Indeed, Islam Karimov has laid a very solid foundation for relations between our countries, and built a strategic partnership.
I told you earlier what he said about the future development of our relations, and how he said it. He clearly implied he saw developing relations with Russia as the best course of action for Uzbekistan and its people to achieve their full potential, an attitude we have always appreciated.
You have just recalled that during my last visit to Tashkent, he invited me to see the monument to Alexander Pushkin, to lay flowers. He spoke in detail about when and how he made the decision to move that monument, and why it should be there – so that people could come and sense the bond between our cultures, our peoples, our common history. We cherish it, and we certainly hope that all that was started by President Islam Karimov will be continued.
For our part, we will make every effort to continue along the path of our mutual development, to support the people of Uzbekistan, the Uzbek leadership; you can count on us in full measure as the most reliable friends.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Thank you very much.