Welcoming the participants of the meeting, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that the second Consultative meeting once again clearly confirms the commonality of interests, readiness for an open dialogue and adoption of agreed decisions on the most pressing issues of regional development.
It was emphasized that Central Asia, with its rich cultural and historical heritage, has always served as a unique bridge connecting Europe, the Middle East, South and East Asia. Today, colossal natural resources, huge human potential are concentrated here, the competing interests of the leading world powers intersect.
These and other issues, as well as close proximity of major hotbeds of instability pose difficult questions for the countries of the region regarding stability, the probability of new challenges and risks, further development of cooperation in such conditions.
“Thanks to the political will and practical steps, we are reaching a higher level of interaction, – the President of Uzbekistan said. – Our solidarity and active efforts have opened up great opportunities for multifaceted regional cooperation. In a short time, we were able to achieve real progress together”.
In particular, the trade turnover between Uzbekistan and the Central Asian countries has more than doubled in recent years, and the number of joint ventures has quadrupled. Through joint efforts, borders are being legalized, full-fledged activities of about sixty checkpoints are being provided, and visas are canceled. Business and interregional contacts, transport links, cultural and humanitarian exchange is expanding.
Therefore, in 2018, Uzbekistan hosted the first Central Asian Economic Forum and the first meeting of the Working Group at the level of deputy prime ministers of the region’s countries.
In all of this, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said, a steady trend is emerging – the strengthening of the independent role and responsibility of our states for a common future. He noted with satisfaction that the Central Asian countries are increasingly acting from consolidated positions on regional and global issues.
“Our rapprochement and expansion of cooperation in the region is a demanded and irreversible process. It is based on a firm political choice, has deep historical background and is not directed against anyone’s interests. At the same time, strengthening unity and cohesion, we contribute to the establishment of a stable and sustainable region, which means a promising and predictable international partner”.
The President of Uzbekistan urged the meeting participants to focus on the practical implementation of tasks in trade-economic, investment, transport-communication and energy sectors.
In this regard, it was proposed to hold the Central Asian Investment Forum and the first meeting of the chambers of commerce and industry of the countries, to expedite the creation of a regional Council for Transport Communications, to organize an International Tourism Conference to promote joint programs on the principle of “one tour – the whole region”.
In addition, according to the leader of Uzbekistan, the establishment of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group meets the interests of all people, as well as the creation of a cultural-humanitarian exchange platform “Central Asia – one past, a common future”.
The President of Uzbekistan proposed the establishment of a Central Asia Award for outstanding achievements in science, culture and art, as well as holding University Forums and Regional Sports Games.
“We consider it important to organize annually on the eve of Navruz holiday of the Days of Culture of Central Asia – in turn in each of our countries. All of this will make our fraternal people even closer”, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The search for mutually acceptable solutions to pressing issues of joint water use, complex regional water and environmental problems requires coordinated approaches. In order to attract innovative technologies, introduce the principles of a green economy, prevent desertification and take other comprehensive measures, the President of Uzbekistan proposed to effectively use the capabilities of the Trust Fund created under the auspices of the UN for the Aral Sea region.
Taking into account the need for ensuring regional stability and security as a top priority, the President of Uzbekistan advocated for the creation of working mechanisms for the operational interaction of the law enforcement agencies and special services of our countries to fully counter current challenges and threats.
“An integral part of our region is Afghanistan. Moreover, helping this country to firmly embark on the path of peace and development is in our common interests. We believe that it is necessary to adhere to the key principles of a political settlement. First of all, it is a renunciation of violence, a ceasefire, a demonstration of readiness for dialogue and compromise”, Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized.
In addition, as the leader of Uzbekistan noted, it is extremely important to develop coordinated approaches to the implementation of popular infrastructure and social projects in Afghanistan, as well as to the active involvement of this country in regional trade and economic relations.
Uzbekistan’s President expressed his conviction that these priorities will be reflected in the Common Vision for further development of cooperation in Central Asia.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev urged the meeting participants to agree on key principles and goals of interaction, create favorable conditions for the movement of people, capital, goods and services, as well as a broad cultural-humanitarian exchange, to promote the formation and launch of effective mechanisms to strengthen friendship, good-neighborliness and partnership in Central Asia.
At the proposal of the President of Turkmenistan, the leaders of the countries unanimously elected the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Elbasy Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, Honorary Chairman of the Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia.