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Beginning of talks with President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov
President of Uzbekistan ISLAM KARIMOV: Mr President, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Tashkent. I would like to take this opportunity to express my profound respect for you and the entire Russian nation.
I would like to thank you once again for accepting my invitation to pay a visit to Tashkent, Uzbekistan despite a very tight schedule. I am confident that your visit will be fruitful and beneficial to both parties.
We view your visit as an extension of Uzbekistani-Russian political consultations, which are held on a regular, systematic basis. Most importantly, we consider this to be a great opportunity to make a critical assessment of all aspects of bilateral relations and exchange views on a wide range of issues that are of mutual interest to both Russia and Uzbekistan. I am certain that this is an excellent opportunity not just to exchange views but also to develop common positions on key, sensitive issues both in our region and beyond it.
With regard to the dynamic of Russian-Uzbekistani relations, particularly in the economy, I can say with confidence that the trend has been positive, as evidenced by a 40% growth in trade in 2010. This in itself testifies to the fact that the on-going global economic and financial crisis has not affected the relations between Russia and Uzbekistan in recent years and the intensity of our cooperation remains stable, as confirmed by a critical analysis of the turnover and economic and investment relations.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that everything happening in Uzbekistan in terms of ensuring the region’s security and stability, the current events in North Africa and the Middle East and the emerging situation in Afghanistan are all issues that Russia and Uzbekistan cannot disregard, primarily from the perspective of synchronising our positions and conducting an open exchange of views on the situation and the issues to be addressed in the nearest future.
In conclusion, I would like to add that I consider your visit to be indispensable and I am confident that it will be of vital importance, primarily for Uzbekistan, and I hope for Russia as well.
President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Karimov, first of all, I would like to once again thank you for the invitation.
“The contacts between our two states are based on trust and close friendship, and we exchange views on a regular basis. Uzbekistan is our strategic partner. We are bound by very strong economic and historical relations.”
Indeed, it did not take us long to organise this visit, which shows that the contacts between our two states are based on trust and close friendship, and we exchange views on a regular basis. We often speak on the telephone on a wide range of subjects, both bilateral and multilateral, and when you extended an invitation to visit Uzbekistan on a short, but hopefully, productive working visit, I accepted it with pleasure.
Uzbekistan is our strategic partner and a very close neighbour. We are members of the same associations and participate in various international forums, but most importantly, we are bound by very strong economic and historical relations.
You have just mentioned the recent increase in trade between our states, which is a truly gratifying fact. I have also noted that, despite the crisis in the global economy, trade between us grew by 35 to 40% last year. We have somewhat different figures, but both Russian and Uzbekistani statistics show very strong growth. This means that our relationship is of great strategic importance for both sides. Russia remains Uzbekistan’s biggest trade partner, and we are very happy about that and would like to develop such contacts further.
With regard to current international issues, you are absolutely right: the world is facing very serious challenges. This year began with the so-called Arab Spring, which has created a completely new situation in the Middle East and North Africa. In all likelihood, the international consequences of what has happened there will persist over a considerable period of time. We are certainly interested in ensuring that these events follow a clear and predictable scenario, because we are bound by numerous invisible threads with these countries, not only economic relations and trade, but also extensive humanitarian and cultural ties. They can be very positive or they can become quite complicated, and sometimes even destructive.
Therefore, it is essential for us to discuss everything that relates to our closest neighbours, to ensure that we protect the national interests of our states and our nations. Russia has always held an open position in this area, we have discussed in detail nearly all key issues over the telephone, decided on the steps we will take and coordinated our foreign policy in many respects. I think this is extremely valuable, and it is a reflection of trust we have developed between our states. We intend to continue in this vein in the future, and I am very pleased that we are going to hold such consultations once again now, although they will be brief in terms of time but comprehensive in their content, so I once again want to thank you for the invitation. I hope that during my current working visit to Uzbekistan we will cover a wide range of issues of Russian-Uzbekistani cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral.
Thank you very much.
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Conversation with President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on the outcomes of the visit
Islam Karimov: Mr President, the less time one has, the more he or she becomes mobilised and organised to resolve outstanding issues in a short time. Moreover, I was very interested in learning Russia’s opinion regarding the rapidly changing situation in the world.
I am satisfied that we have been able to use this brief time to exchange views on virtually all sensitive issues, not only regional but also international.
Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Karimov, I want to thank you for the close exchange of views over the past four hours regarding ways to build bilateral relations between our states, to coordinate regional policy and communicate further on significant developments in the international arena. It was very productive, very friendly and very concentrated. I am very pleased with the talks. Thank you.