Dmitry Medvedev and President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov discussed the prospects of trade and economic cooperation between their two countries and pressing problems in Central Asia, as well as the situation in Kyrgyzstan.
President Medvedev emphasised that deepening strategic partnership with Uzbekistan is in Russia’s long-term interests.
In turn, President Karimov noted that Russia is Uzbekistan’s reliable, trusted partner, and stressed the substantiveness and openness of the talks that just took place. The President of Uzbekistan also commended Russia’s role in ensuring peace and stability in Central Asia and globally.
The presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan issued a Joint Statement on the results of the consultations and witnessed the signature of various agreements on cooperation in the cultural, educational, and military technical spheres, as well as between customs authorities.
Following the talks, Dmitry Medvedev and Islam Karimov made press statements.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr President, I am very glad to see you.
Yesterday we began our conversation and discussed a range of topics. Our interaction was trusting and engaging with regards to all aspects of our bilateral relations, international and regional affairs. Today we will continue this conversation.
Naturally, from the outset and in the presence of the media, I would like to emphasise that Uzbekistan is Russia’s strategic partner. We have been developing and will continue to actively develop all possible ties with this friendly country. We want our links to become stronger, particularly in light of the various processes taking place in the world and our region. And these processes are complex ones.
If we look at the economic situation, then of course all countries and our relations were affected by the international financial crisis. Sadly enough, even our trade decreased, but fortunately, it was not radically reduced and we have every chance to reverse the situation if we take certain steps and implement the relevant programmes, projects and contracts.
On the other hand and in addition to the financial crisis (it seems as if the planet is beginning to overcome it), there are a whole set of difficulties and threats characteristic of our region. These include the situation in Afghanistan, which must be sensibly addressed, and a number of domestic problems.
Regretfully, the difficult situation in Kyrgyzstan has recently been added to this list and I think it is a separate topic for discussion, as we agreed yesterday.
Obviously both Russia and Uzbekistan are interested in having strong governmental authorities in Kyrgyzstan, in allowing the people of Kyrgyzstan to progress and prosper, and in seeing a modern state there that adequately reflects the ideas the people of Kyrgyzstan have about their future. This is just one issue, but nevertheless it is an important one in light of what has been taking place just recently.
We will have opportunities to exchange views on economic issues later at our talks in restricted and expanded formats.
Once again, I warmly welcome you to Moscow and look forward to productive, comprehensive negotiations, which already began yesterday evening.
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov: Mr President,
First of all allow me to express my gratitude for your invitation and for such a warm welcome. We regard our visit to Russia as the logical continuation of the negotiations, encounters and confidential conversations that took place last year during your visit to Uzbekistan.
We see our visit as a great opportunity to critically assess the dynamics of the relations between our two countries, which I think are very extensive but unfortunately – and obviously this is due to, among other factors, the crisis you spoke about – are far from having realized their full potential.
Of course there is also the issue of security in our turbulent Central Asian region, and you specifically mentioned both Central Asia and the events that took place yesterday and today in Kyrgyzstan.
I believe that the major aspect of our relations is a full-scale implementation of the treaties and agreements between Russia and Uzbekistan. Here I am referring to the agreements on our strategic partnership and alliance.
In Uzbekistan we attach great importance to ensuring that these documents become the cornerstone of our relations with Russia. In this respect I think that we have lots to talk about. We can also determine which priorities should be established in the difficult situation that exists today and that has enveloped the entire world.
Nevertheless, as you just said the current state of affairs gives us reason for considerable optimism and thinking about the opportunities that need to be seized upon in relations between Russia and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan sees Russia as a reliable, trusted partner, which shows that Russia plays a critical role in ensuring peace and stability throughout the world but in Central Asia in particular.
I therefore attach great importance to the exchanges that will be taking place between us, and I think that our conversation yesterday, which you mentioned – I would emphasise that it was very open – has already created a good foundation, a foundation that will enable us to continue to speak openly and, as partners must, to speak frankly about various shortcomings which currently present an obstacle to the interests of both Russia and Uzbekistan.