Dmitry Medvedev: Islam Abduganievich,
It gives me pleasure to welcome you to Russia, to St Petersburg.
We see Uzbekistan as a key strategic partner in Central Asia. Lately, we have seen growth in our trade and economic ties and an expansion in our work together on a whole range of different projects. We also have big plans for the future.
We also greatly value our cooperation in security and law enforcement in this region that is of such importance to us. I hope that in our talks today we will build on this area of our cooperation which, I think, so very important for our countries and peoples.
I would like therefore to wish you a warm welcome to Russia.
President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov: Thank you, Dmitry Anatolyevich, for your warm words about Uzbekistan.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you once more on taking office as President of Russia and to wish you good health, all the best and success in your difficult work for the good of Russia.
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you.
Islam Karimov: I want to say that relations with Russia have always been a priority for Uzbekistan. We value highly the relations that have developed between our countries today.
Uzbekistan not only values these relations but will do everything possible to develop and strengthen them. Diplomatic, economic, humanitarian and cultural issues are all very important to us in this work.
Rather than weighing down our talks with figures, I would just like to note that the pace at which our relations in all the different areas are developing makes us very optimistic. Our bilateral trade is on the rise and already comes to more than $4 billion. There was growth over the first quarter of this year too.
I am sure that there are still many reserves and opportunities we can draw on to develop our relations. I think therefore that today’s meeting is simply the first chance for us to discuss all of these issues. Today we can discuss the matters we consider important for the development of our relations and I am sure that this will provide new impetus and inject them with new strength.
Looking at our foreign policy cooperation, I want to say that Uzbekistan fully supports Russia’s foreign policy line. There are practically no areas in which we have differences. Our positions coincide on practically all key international issues. I am sure that there are no undercurrents that could change this state of affairs.
Regarding development of the CIS, this is something that will obviously be discussed at the informal summit today, but I think there can be no doubt that our countries share the view that we need to not only preserve the CIS but also strengthen and develop it.
As for some of the other international organisations – the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) – we also share the same position and the same vision for their development.
I will not raise serious issues today, but I have said in the past and have stated officially that in Uzbekistan’s view, the EurAsEC (Eurasian Economic Community) and the CSTO have very similar agendas and duplicate each other in many respects.
It is my personal view, and Uzbekistan’s view, that we should discuss this matter and find a solution that would enable us to transform the CSTO and EurAsEC into a single stronger organisation that would provide us with the resources and opportunities we need to develop our relations. I am sure that this merger would make it possible for us to achieve much more and produce much bigger results.
Dmitry Medvedev: What you say is absolutely right, Islam Abduganievich, in that these different forms of integration facilitate cooperation between our countries. We share the same view in this respect.
As for the actual forms our integration takes, this is something we will discuss of course. This is an important and serious matter for bilateral talks and for discussion with our CIS partners.