President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev: Mr President, I sincerely welcome you to Uzbekistan. I want to express my sincere respect for you and the entire Russian nation that you represent.
Russia is Uzbekistan’s strategic partner, and in the past two years, our strategic partnership and alliance have entered a completely new qualitative level. Our relations and collaboration are developing in all areas.
Before starting this restricted attendance meeting, I would like to thank you, personally and on behalf of the people of Uzbekistan, for eternalising the memory of the first president of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov in a monument that was unveiled yesterday in Moscow.
Citizens of Uzbekistan have been expressing their gratitude in the media since yesterday. This is your personal recognition of the fact that during those difficult, hard years Islam Karimov accomplished a great deal for the recovery of Uzbekistan. Thank you very much.
Of course, speaking about our strategic areas of cooperation, we cooperate across all industries. Our new strategic area is the construction of a nuclear power station. Today we will take part in the launch of its construction.
I would like to note that we have approved roadmaps across all industries and they are being consistently implemented. There is great progress in military and technical cooperation. In collaboration with you, we approved a roadmap on military and technical cooperation and it is being implemented in its entirety.
There are many cultural and humanitarian issues being addressed. For the first time Uzbekistan hosted a media forum. An education forum opened in Uzbekistan yesterday, attended by more than 80 university presidents from Russia. This indicates our serious intentions in scientific, educational and cultural links.
Today we will attend the first interregional forum that brings together heads of regions.
Trade between Russia and Uzbekistan grew by 30 percent over the nine months of this year. We expect the turnover to reach $6 billion by the end of the year. This is unprecedented. The estimate in our trade plan was $5 billion, while the current statistics show $6 billion. This means that our regions enjoy a higher level of trust and cooperation, which has brought these results. The first interregional forum will also give a strong impetus to our trade relations. I think the outcome will be very significant.
Overall, we have many things to discuss. I think that this state visit will serve as a powerful stimulus to our cooperation.
Once again, welcome to Uzbekistan.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.
First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation.
I would like to add something about the installation of the monument to the First President of Uzbekistan in Moscow. Islam Karimov made a great contribution to the development of Russian-Uzbekistani relations. We all know that the first leaders faced very difficult times during the establishment of their states. It is therefore natural that we want to eternalise the memory of Mr Karimov. I had a good personal relationship with him. Therefore, it is an absolutely natural decision, a very natural move.
As for the development of our relations today, I would like to say that Uzbekistan is our reliable ally and strategic partner. Your visit in April gave a serious boost to our contacts in many different areas.
First of all, I am talking about the economy. We see that the situation in Uzbekistan is changing rapidly; reforms are being adopted and implemented. They are long overdue and the Uzbekistani economy and people need them urgently.
We understand that the first steps are always difficult. We can relate, for we have gone through this process ourselves. But we are also sure that these times will bring positive results both in the long and medium term, and Uzbekistan’s economy and the lives of its people will change for the better.
It gives us opportunity to develop relations on a new foundation. Due to the changes you are making now in Uzbekistan, we have managed to significantly expand our trade and economic relations. In fact, in 2017, the growth was 34 percent, and in the first eight months of 2018, it was 30.3 percent.
We intend to maintain this trend and will do everything to expand our interaction, including through regional cooperation.
The first regional forum was created at your initiative. I am confident that it will give a strong new impetus to our interaction, because many things happen at the regional level that cannot be seen from the capitals. All this will become part of the foundation for our relations and for the future.
I do not doubt that the consultations and talks that have been on for the past two days will bring very good results.
Once again, let me thank you for your invitation.