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Uzbekistan, Russia to cement strategic partnership

11 December 2014

Invited by the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov, Russia's President Vladimir Putin paid Thursday, December 10, an official visit to Uzbekistan.

Following an official ceremony of welcoming the high-ranking guest at the Kuksaroy country residence, the two leaders held talks in a contracted format.

Islam Karimov said Uzbekistan considers the visit by the President of Russia as a necessary and logical extension of the Uzbek-Russian political dialogue and bilateral meetings at various levels, as a bright manifestation of the willingness of the two sides to undertake steadfast and fruitful efforts for the consolidation and enhancement of the bilateral cooperation.

In his turn, Vladimir Putin pointed out that Uzbekistan, as the biggest country in Central Asia, is one of Russia's priority partners in the region.

It was stressed that the urgency and necessity of the negotiations is coupled with the speedily changing situation in the world, the mounting scales of conflicts, tension and geopolitical competition at the global and regional realms, the inflating threats of terrorism, extremism and radicalism, which have been manifesting themselves - directly or indirectly - in Central Asia, as well.

The cooperation between Uzbekistan and Russia has a robust normative base built on the Strategic Partnership Treaty signed 16 June 2004 and the Allied Relations Treaty inked 14 November 2005. The Strategic Partnership Enhancement Declaration penned 4 June 2012 has helped enlarge the scope of interaction.

The mutually advantageous relations between our two nations have been advancing consistently across all areas of cooperation. Important in their expansion are the inter-parliamentary ties.

Regular have been the contacts at the intergovernmental and interagency levels. Foreign affairs ministries of the two countries hold constructive consultations.

The two sides cooperate within the frameworks of international institutions like the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, among others.

Presidents exchanged views on pressing issues in regional and international affairs, particularly concerning the situation in Afghanistan, along with those pertinent to combating terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, organized crime.

"We have attached a special significance to the developments unfolding in the neighboring Afghanistan that has for as long as 35 years suffered from a fratricidal war," President Islam Karimov said. He suggested that the parties to today's talks came to a conclusion that the nations adjacent to Afghanistan and those further nearby are going to face a serious test as regards the withdrawal of ISAF peacekeeping forces from that country and the ensuing challenges and threats to regional security and stability.

"We agreed that our countries need to continue with joint preemptive actions directed at timely neutralization of those perilous threats, at the creation of an atmosphere of rejection of terrorism and the ideology of extremism in any forms and manifestations, at the revelation and elimination of causes and conditions of their emergence and dissemination," the head of our state put it speaking before journalists.

Issues related to boosting the bilateral cooperation in trade-economic, investment, financial and humanitarian spheres received a special consideration during the negotiations in an extended format with the participation of all members of official delegations.

Russia has been Uzbekistan's important trading partner who accounts for a fifth of our country's external commerce, and whose share in our trade with CIS countries has been more than half. The bilateral turnover in 2013 exceeded 7 billion dollars. Around 900 Uzbek-Russian joint ventures operate in Uzbekistan, including 150 with full Russian capital. Russian transnational companies like Vympelcom and MTS have been successfully working in Uzbekistan. The overall volume of Russian investments into the Uzbek economy for the last 15 years has amounted to 8 billion dollars.

Uzbekistan and Russia wield an enormous potential in the fuel and energy sector. This opens up extensive opportunities to further the cooperation on this front. Russia's oil and gas corporations such as Lukoil and Gazprom are engaged in prospecting and development of hydrocarbon deposits in our country. Long-term and mutually rewarding projects are underway also in information and communication technologies, construction materials production, agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals.

The negotiations helped also to discuss issues pertaining to the further expansion and diversification of trade, advancement of investment interaction, and consolidation of cooperation in transport and transit sector. It was underscored that there are loads of opportunities hitherto unemployed to a full extent, whose bringing into play would facilitate the further development of cooperation between our two countries.

The interaction in the cultural-humanitarian sphere and education sector has been growing progressively. Tashkent houses branches of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Plekhanov Russian Economic University, the Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas.

The two sides swapped views on the enhancement of cooperation among ministries and government agencies dealing with science, education, sports and tourism, and on the consolidation of bonds between research institutions.

A range of documents have been signed following the negotiations. They included intergovernmental agreements on principal dimensions of the development and enhancement of economic cooperation for 2015-2019, on the settlement of mutual financial requirements and commitments.

At a meeting with representatives of mass media, Presidents Islam Karimov and Vladimir Putin noted that the talks passed in an atmosphere of openness and mutual trust and facilitated the exchange of views on pressing issues in regional security and international development. That has helped assess, according to two leaders, the current state of the bilateral relations, identify prospective aspects in the expansion of multifaceted cooperation.

It was stressed that the positions of the two sides on all issues considered are close or fully concur.

Itself a logical continuation of the dialogue at the highest level, the official visit by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to the Republic of Uzbekistan has helped identify the most critical aspects and long-term prospects of the strategic partnership our two countries have venerated to serve the interests of the peoples of Uzbekistan and Russia.