Vladimir Putin: Dear ladies and gentlemen! I am sincerely glad to meet Islam Abduganievich Karimov once again in Moscow. Without undue exaggeration, the President of Uzbekistan's visit has become one of the most significant and major events in the recent history of Russian-Uzbekistani relations.
Today we signed an alliance agreement between Russia and the Republic of Uzbekistan. This agreement represents more than just a new page in the agreements that bind the two countries. Let me emphasize that an alliance relationship represents the highest degree of trust in relations between sovereign states.
The agreement gives relations between the two countries a completely new quality and takes them to a maximum level of closeness. Russia and Uzbekistan are uniting their strength and resources and their immense human and cultural potential in the name of stability and progress in the region.
Uzbekistan is one of Russia's major economic partners in Central Asia and therefore we talked in detail about the prospects for developing business cooperation.
Over the last few years the volume of trade has been growing constantly. In 2004 it increased by more than a third and attained almost one and a half billion dollars. According to the predictions, this year it can exceed two billion dollars.
We will cooperate in priority areas such as energy, light industry and the food and agricultural industries. In our opinion, significant potential exists for cooperation between regions, between small and medium-sized businesses, regarding investments and in industrial cooperation. I shall especially emphasize that our business cooperation is getting a boost due to the decision made by Uzbekistan regharding integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Community.
During the meeting a great deal of attention was given to increasing cooperation in the educational and cultural spheres. I am confident that this will allow our citizens, especially youth, to develop academic, cultural and sports contacts.
I will point out that cooperation in these spheres became noticeably more active. For example, in August the cooperation agreement on vocational training was signed. And in November an agreement on creating a Tashkent branch of Moscow State University was signed and already in the new academic year the first students will start studying there.
Very recently our countries signed a two-year programme for cultural cooperation and in 2006, the Days of Uzbekistani Culture in Russia are planned. The cream of the Russian and Uzbekistani intelligentsia will take part in these events.
We also consider important expanding the means to exchange information on present-day life in our countries and more actively using the media's potential. Our people naturally aspire to know more about culture, economy and each other's lives. Our cooperation in the spheres of education and culture will allow us to do more not only regarding bilateral ties, but to effectively use the multiple possibilities offered by the recent agreements on cultural and educational cooperation signed within the CIS.
During the meeting we exchanged opinions on security issues in Central Asia. We intend to further develop cooperation in antiterrorism, first of all within the CIS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. I am convinced that closely coordinating our foreign policy decisions will strengthen the safety of Russia and Uzbekistan, as well as the stability of all of Central Asia.
We analysed in detail the ways our countries could assist in establishing a peaceful and independent Afghanistan. We consider it necessary to do the utmost to neutralize drug trafficking and the terrorist threat on the Afghani territory. And certainly we shall continue to help our neighbours develop economic and social infrastructure.
In conclusion I wish to thank Islam Abduganievich Karimov for this constructive and detailed conversation. I am confident that Russian-Uzbekistani relations will accelerate in the future and be enriched thanks to new and interesting projects and initiatives. And I would especially like to note the particularly positive and open atmosphere that prevailed during today's talks. I am very grateful to my partner, the President of Uzbekistan, for this.
Islam Karimov: Thank you Vladimir Vladimirovich.
Dear media representatives!
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the President of Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, for his invitation for an official visit to Russia, as well as my great satisfaction with the talks that took place and the documents that were signed today.
I consider the alliance agreement we signed today the most important and historic result of the Russian-Uzbekistani summit. I am convinced that this document is a natural continuation of previous bilateral decisions and the agreement that was signed last year on the strategic partnership. It takes Russian-Uzbekistani relations to an absolutely new level with a long-term perspective.
The agreement should play a major role in protecting Russia's and Uzbekistan's strategic interests in defence and in other areas, as well as offer huge possibilities for cooperation and integration in economics, communications, science, technology, culture and education.
Thus we recognize that strengthening Russia and Central Asia's positions acts as a reliable guarantee for peace and stability in our region and in the interests of our countries and those of the international community.
By signing the alliance agreement, Uzbekistan once again precisely showed whose interests coincide with ours and with whom we wish to build our future. And what is especially important is recognizing a very important truth: Russia was and remains Uzbekistan's most important bulwark and ally.
Today relations between our countries are developing dynamically in all spheres of our bilateral and multilateral cooperation. This year bilateral trade has already reached and will exceed two billion USD. This is the best indicator for all the years of our relations.
There are ample opportunities for cooperation in areas such as oil, gas, mining, non-ferrous metallurgy, telecommunications, engineering, energy, the chemical industry and in processing agricultural products.
We recognize that cooperation in the spheres of culture and education should develop more dynamically. We greatly value the fact that programmes recently signed in Tashkent on prospects in the fields of cultural and educational cooperation, and on opening a branch of Moscow State University in Uzbekistan, are already being implemented.
We have agreed to actively coordinate our countries' cooperation within international organizations such as the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. New possibilities for cooperation are in the interests of both Russia and Uzbekistan and open the way for our country's accession to the Eurasian Economic Community and for cooperation within the Central Asian Cooperation Organization.
I am convinced that these meetings, talks and signed documents are a major landmark in the history of our relations and a blessing for the people of Russia and Uzbekistan.
In conclusion I wish sincerely to thank the President of Russia, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, and all the Russian leaders who contributed to the signing of this document. This document, I shall repeat once again, means a great deal for Uzbekistan and, I hope, will serve Russia's strategic interests in a similar way.
Thank you for your attention.