Central Asia has huge unrealized potential: Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev

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November 22, 2017

Central Asia has huge unrealized potential: Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Central Asia is a region of unique opportunities and has huge unrealized potential, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said at the international conference “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity” held on November 10-11 in the historic city of Samarkand.

“The future of the region is formed by every state in Central Asia. A solid foundation and guarantor of its sustainable development is the willingness and desire for cooperation, as well as the responsibility of all the Central Asian countries for our future,” Mirziyoyev noted in his address at the conference organized under the auspices of UN.

India participated in the conference and delegation was headed by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh. Besides experts from United Service Institution, Observer Research Foundation, Center for Russian and Central Asian studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University also participated in the conference.

According the Uzbek President the main goal is to turn Central Asia into a stable and economically developed region by joint efforts. “We must eliminate the roots that feed the conflict potential. We are looking for reasonable compromises in resolving issues on borders, water use, transport and trade.”

He outlined the range of tasks that must be solved to ensure a sustainable future for the region. “A practical step can be the creation of a regional economic forum for direct dialogue between the business community for trade, economic, investment and innovation cooperation,” Mirziyoyev suggested.

He said that since the beginning of 2017 the trade volume between Uzbekistan and the countries of the region has grown by 20%, and with some neighboring states – by 70%. The President also proposed the establishment of an association of regional governors and business communities of Central Asian states. “When we conduct direct dialogue with regions and businesses, the result is obvious.’’

The Uzbek President proposed to adopt a common regional program for the development of transport communications. Tashkent will hold a conference next year on a topic titled “Central Asia in the system of international transport corridors: strategic perspectives and unrealized opportunities”.

According to Mirziyoyev, all countries equally face the threats of terrorism, religious extremism, transnational crime and drug trafficking. “The effect of counteraction can be ensured when we act together,” Mirziyoyev emphasized. “Uzbekistan will continue to participate in the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, the development of transport and economic infrastructure and human resources,” he said.

According to the President one of the most effective tool for countering extremism is education, especially educating young people, explaining them the humanistic essence of Islam and the true values of Islamic culture. “In this regard, we decided to establish the Imam Bukhari International Research Center in Samarkand and the Center for Islamic Civilization in Tashkent,” Mirziyoyev said at the conference.

Uzbekistan maintains it necessary to build on the international legal framework that would take into account the interests of all countries in the region. “Uzbekistan will support the UN draft Convention on the use of water resources in the basins of the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers. Combining efforts also requires solving the problems of the Aral sea catastrophe. This is not only a common pain, but also a common task – without consolidation, we cannot come up with an adequate response to the challenges,” the President stressed.

The international conference in Samarkand were attended by more than 500 hundred international and local participants. Specific areas of enhancing regional cooperation in political, trade-economic, investment, transport-communication, water-energy, environmental and cultural-humanitarian spheres, as well as joint fight against threats and challenges were discussed at the forum.