The Central Asia is a region of unique opportunities and huge untapped potential, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said in his opening remarks at "Central Asia: Shared Past and Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity conference, held in Samarkand under the auspices of the UN.
"Uzbekistan is a supporter of resolving existing differences and strengthening mutual trust. It is precisely on the basis of the principles of good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial partnership that the states of the region will be able to realize their potential in the trade-economic, transport-communication, cultural-humanitarian areas, security and stability issues," Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
The interests of world powers come cross in Central Asia, the region boarders the hearts of instability and conflicts, experiencing the influence of all the negative processes of the far and near abroad," he noted.
"The future of the region is formed by every single state in Central Asia," he added. "The willingness and desire for cooperation, as well as the responsibility of all the Central Asian countries for own future serve as the solid foundation and guarantor of the sustainable development."
The main goal is to turn by joint efforts the Central Asia into a stable, economically developed region, he said. "We must eliminate the causes that fuel the conflict potential. We are looking for reasonable compromises in resolving issues on border, water use, transport and trade," he said.
The President of Uzbekistan outlined a number of tasks that must be resolved today to ensure a decent future for the region.
- Development of trade and economic ties and creation of favorable conditions for the growth of trade turnover and strengthening cooperation. "Creation of a regional economic forum for direct dialogue between the businesses and discussion of trade, economic, investment and innovation cooperation projects may serve as a practical step," Shavkat Mirziyoyev suggested. He said that year-to-date the trade turnover between Uzbekistan and the other countries of the region has grown by 20%, and with some states - by 70%. The President also proposed to set up an association of regional governors and business executives: "When we conduct direct dialogue between regions and businesses, the result is obvious. Frankly speaking we just need not interfere in their affairs then the result will be better " He noted that, according to expert calculations, effective cooperation could increase regional GDP by half.
- More effective use of transport and logistics potential and development of transport infrastructure in the region. "I think we have to adopt a common regional transport communications development program". He said that in 2018 Tashkent is expected to host a conference "Central Asia within the System of International Transport Corridors: Strategic Perspectives and Unrealized Opportunities".
- Deepening practical cooperation in order to ensure the security and stability of the region. According to the President, all countries equally face the threats of terrorism, religious extremism, transnational crime and drug trafficking. " Efficiency can be ensured only through joint counteraction," Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized. - We must abandon the division of threats into "ours" and "others’", in fact adhere to the principle of indivisibility of security." Today, the stability of progress are inextricably linked to the peace in Afghanistan, the President added. "Uzbekistan will continue to participate in the economic reconstruction of the country, in the development of its transport and economic infrastructure and human resources," he said. Finalization of the process of delimitation and demarcation of state borders is also necessary. "Having solved border problems, we will lay the foundation for expanding trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the countries. It is necessary to continue the harmonious, scrupulous work on solving difficult issues at the negotiations on delimitation of borders. I am confident that by taking into account mutual interests, on the basis of reasonable compromises and equitable exchange, we will be able to resolve this important problem."
- Swift settlement of the problems of equitable water use in the region, where it is necessary to be guided by the international legal framework that would take into account the interests of all countries in the region. "Uzbekistan will support the draft Convention on the use of water resources in the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers basins, developed by the UN. Solving the problems of the Aral catastrophe also requires concerted efforts. "This is not only a common pain, but also a common task - without consolidation we will be unable to come up with an adequate response to the challenges. It is necessary to intensify the activities of all the states of the region and engage donors in the implementation of programs."
- Strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties, relations of friendship and good-neighborliness. "We support the continuation of the active cultural and humanitarian dialogue, the regular holding of cultural days of countries, cultural events, stepping up educational and tourist exchange," the head of state said. People's diplomacy, simple human communication is a way to strengthen mutual understanding and stability, he added.
"The implementation of these tasks could be facilitated by holding of regular consultation meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia. We proceed from the understanding that today in the region there is a real need for joint search for solutions to region-wide problems," the President said.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed that it is not about creating a new regional organization in Central Asia or any integration structure with its charter and supranational body. Its activities will be aimed exclusively at "time check" on key issues of regional development.
The President noted: "We consider it important to appeal to the UN General Assembly to adopt a special resolution on the outcomes of this event with a call on strengthening regional and international cooperation for ensuring peace, security and sustainable economic development in the Central Asia."