President Vladimir Putin:
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Uzbekistan President has just given his assessment of the treaty we have signed – the Treaty on Strategic Partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Uzbekistan. I fully agree with this assessment. It truly is a new stage in building our intergovernmental ties. And this is the natural result of our joint work in recent years, during which important steps have been made in all areas of our cooperation and at all levels. I want to stress that Islam Karimov was directly involved in developing the main statutes of the treaty, and we are certain that this will create a good basis for the further development of ties between Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation.
We had a serious and thorough exchange of opinions on our cooperation in the sphere of international relations. Of course, we cannot help but be concerned about everything that is happening, above all in Central Asia. We talked in detail about joint steps on neutralizing such threats as terrorism and the circulation of drugs. Of course, significant attention was given to interaction between Uzbekistan and the Russian Federation in the area of economic ties. The treaty signed today between companies can only draw approval. We hope that other of our major investors that are already working in Uzbekistan, such as Gazprom, will carry out plans to invest in the economy of Uzbekistan. Gazprom alone intends to invest over one billion dollars.
There are other areas which are actively developing: transport cooperation, cooperation in aircraft construction and the high technology sphere. All these were topics in our talks.
And in conclusion, I would like to thank the Uzbekistan President both for the invitation and for the constructive nature of our cooperation, and also for the atmosphere of trust that was created.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Question: How do envisage further ways of attracting Russian business to the Uzbek market? And a second question. Tomorrow the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit begins in Tashkent. What concrete results do you expect from this summit?
Vladimir Putin: In this case, Russian business is investing in Uzbekistan, and it would be best to ask business representatives why they are investing hundreds of millions – and in fact the sum has reached billions of U.S. dollars. Mr. Alekperov is present here, and I think that after our meeting ends, representatives of the press can ask him these questions. Why he and the shareholders of his company have decided to invest a billion dollars in the Uzbekistan economy – he will be able to tell you this even better than I can.
As for the second question, the main event is the opening of the Regional anti-terrorist centre, and of course we will talk on the entire range of relations of all member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Among other things, we will discuss the development of our cooperation in the economic sphere. Of course, we will also devote attention to other regional problems of a humanitarian nature.
We intend to build relations which will allow us to overcome the threats of the present day, which unfortunately still exist in the region, and despite all these problems, to enable the economic and social development of these countries. I am certain that everything planned will be carried out, and act as an excellent, serious stimulus to cooperation between member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Question: Are any joint actions between Uzbekistan and Russia planned on further regulation of the situation in Afghanistan, and ensuring security in our region?
Vladimir Putin: I think that it goes without saying that the influence of both Russia and Uzbekistan on the situation in our friendly neighbour Afghanistan has always been serious. We know that Uzbekistan is not just ethnically close to a certain section of the population that lives in Afghanistan, but also close because of historical cooperation, historical ties, cooperation on fighting terrorism, and in possibilities for developing economic ties with our country. I think that we should thank the President of the country for inviting Mr. Karzai to attend the forum of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
We will all discuss how to help the leadership of Afghanistan to strengthen the internal political situation in the country, how to assist in organizing the elections which are planned in Afghanistan, how to crush anti-governmental acts and the centres of terrorist activity that exist there, and how to help the Afghan people to boost their economy. In any case, we intend to work with Afghanistan, and I do not doubt that this will benefit both our neighbours and our own nations – the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan.