Uzbekistan, Latvia Avow Remarkable Effects of Confidence-Based Cooperation

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May 25, 2014

Uzbekistan, Latvia Avow Remarkable Effects of Confidence-Based Cooperation

As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Latvia Andris Berzins arrived in our country May 27 to pay an official visit on the invitation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov.

Principal events of the visit were due May 28. Official ceremony of meeting the President of Latvia took place at the Kuksaroy residence. The guard of honor lined up to welcome the high-ranking guest. Islam Karimov and Andris Berzins rose to the podium and paid tribute to state anthems of Uzbekistan and Latvia. Then the heads of our two nations walked past the guard of honor in a mark of respect.

The ceremony was followed by talks in a contracted format, where the two leaders went into details to discuss the current state and prospects in the evolution of bilateral cooperation. They also exchanged views on pressing issues in regional and international affairs.

“Our bilateral ties are built on the considerable positive experience of mutually advantageous interaction, a practice garnered after we attained independence. The current visit by the Latvian delegation is an important event in the development of partnership relations that are based on reciprocal respect and equality. The visit constitutes also a logical extension of regular political dialogues at the highest level,” Uzbekistan’s leader said.

Islam Karimov noted that Uzbekistan and Latvia are tied with longstanding and robust bonds of friendship and cooperation and that this visit is another reflection of steadfast advancement of relations between our two countries.

Andris Berzins underscored that Latvia considers Uzbekistan a reliable partner tested by time, a country with tremendous economic potential.

“The relations between our two states are wide-ranging and solid. I highly value the service of President Islam Karimov in the consolidation of mutual cooperation and his vision of the developments taking place in international affairs,” the Latvian President pointed out.

The Uzbek-Latvian interaction is built on a sound normative foundation. Ever since the diplomatic relations were established between Uzbekistan and Latvia back in 1992, in excess of forty interstate, intergovernmental, interagency treaties and agreements have been inked across practically all the areas covered by the bilateral cooperation.

The state visit paid by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to Latvia in October 2013 raised the relations between the two countries to a qualitatively new level. During that visit a number of documents in healthcare, environmental security, transport and transit of cargo, trade, tourism and investment cooperation were signed between the two sides.

Inter-parliamentary ties in the field of lawmaking also yield positive effects. Established at the Latvian Saeima in 2010, the Cooperation Group with the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Cooperation Group with the Latvian legislature founded in 2012 in the Uzbek parliament are vitally important in the exchange of expertise.

Constructive consultations are spearheaded between the two countries’ foreign affairs and interior ministries.

The dialogue between the heads of state continued at the negotiations in an extended format comprising official delegations. Major attention during these talks was paid to issues related to bolstering the trade-economic, investment and cultural cooperation.

Notwithstanding the geographical distance, Uzbekistan and Latvia have established close interaction across many spheres. In the economic field, for example, the two countries have benefited from the favored-nation regime in mutual commerce. Agreements are in force in particular to encourage and protect investments, to avoid double taxation.

Latvia is one of Uzbekistan’s major trade partners in the European Union. Uzbekistan exports to Latvia high-quality cotton fiber, fruits and vegetables, oil products, mineral fertilizers, nonferrous metals and many other goods. Latvia supplies our country with equipment, vehicles, seafood, plastic, and provides logistics services. The volume of the bilateral trade turnover in 2013 amounted to around 250 million US dollars.

In April 2014, Uzbekistan Trade House opened in Riga. The light and food industry goods produced in our country as well as dried fruits are delivered to the site. Within a brief period of time, agreements worth more than 30 million US dollars have been penned through this Trade House.

Meetings and talks at the highest level along with business forums have been facilitating the further progress in our relations. Notably, the session of the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Industrial and Science-Technical Cooperation that took place 16-17 April this year in Latvia’s capital city as well as the joint business forum proved another important stride in the movement toward the consolidation of trade-economic partnership between the two countries.

Investment cooperation has been dynamic, as well. The number of joint ventures within the partnership of our two nations has reached 392, a considerable increase from 343 such enterprises operating as recently as the autumn of last year.

The transportation sphere is one of the priority fronts in the Uzbek-Latvian interaction. Both countries are an important element of the Eurasian transit corridor. Uzbekistan’s foreign-market-bound cargo is supplied to the European nations through Latvian ports. In 2013, the volume of railway freight transportation exceeded 146 thousand tons. In order to access regional and global markets, our two countries attach essential significance to boosting the competitiveness of the available transport corridors and the more extensive use of the existing transit capacities in general.

Mutual ties between national air companies have been making a remarkable input into the development of bilateral cooperation. The air routes Tashkent-Riga-New York City and New York City-Riga-Tashkent established ten years ago bind the two nations even closer.

The heads of our two states stressed that they advocate further consolidation of relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the European Union. Islam Karimov wished every success to the Republic of Latvia during its upcoming presidency in the EU in the first half of the year 2015. Uzbekistan’s leader highly appreciated the inclusion of Central Asia subject area into the list of priorities of the Latvian chairmanship in the Union.

A special emphasis was placed during the talks on issues pertaining to joint counteraction to such threats and challenges as terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking. It was noted that an important role on this front is assigned on the Joint Uzbek-Latvian Commission created in accordance with the Cooperation Treaty to Combat Organized Crime, Terrorism, Illegal Circulation of Narcotics, Psychotropic Agents and Precursors, signed in 2002.

The two Presidents underlined shared interest in ensuring stability and security in the region, in resolving the situation in Afghanistan with support and assistance from the international community. It was said that Latvia highly appreciates the actions of Uzbekistan in the socio-economic reconstruction in Afghanistan and directed at boosting peace and security in the region.

Uzbekistan and Latvia wield an immense potential of cooperation in agriculture, science, education and healthcare. As a result of constant contacts among the representatives of business circles of our two nations, numerous joint projects are being implemented in these areas.

The two sides consider the expansion of partnership in tourism. Myriads in Latvia wish to visit the ancient and eternally young cities like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Shahrisabz. Likewise, the number of Uzbek citizens willing to travel to the Baltic for recreation and leisure has been rising. The two sides said they are equally interested in engaging businesspeople in this sphere and creating even greater opportunities for tourists.

Also, the cooperation in the cultural-humanitarian area has been advancing consistently. In 2004, the monument to the great scholar and statesman Mirzo Ulughbek was opened in Riga, and the one to the world-renowned thinker Abu Ali ibn Sino was presented in 2006 – a bright manifestation of high reverence of the Latvian people to our nation, our great ancestors and rich heritage.

Tashkent and Riga are sister cities. Creative-artistic interaction is well established between the Alisher Navoi State Academic Grand Theater and the Latvian National Opera House. Folklore ensembles, masters of photo and fine arts are regular participants of various cultural events in Uzbekistan and Latvia. Musicians from Latvia are regular at the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival held in Samarkand.

Education sphere is one the vital dimensions of our partnership. More than 370 youths from Uzbekistan study in Latvia. Joint projects are underway in training highly qualified specialists in technical and engineering majors. Mutual bonds in this area have been steadfast as part of the Cooperation Agreement in Education signed between the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education of Uzbekistan and Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science.

The two heads of state stressed that they stand for the enhancement of cooperation in boosting environmental security and addressing ecological issues.

The two sides noted the necessity of rational and fair use of water resources of Central Asia’s trans-border rivers, building on the universally approved norms of international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes (adopted in Helsinki in 1992) and the Convention on the Law of Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses (New York, 1997), with consideration of the interests of all states of the region.

The two leaders expressed their support for the stance of the European Union whereby the erection of huge hydropower facilities on the trans-border rivers of the region ought to be carried out only after a compulsory impartial international expertise in terms of their impact on the environmental and socio-economic security in the region.

The negotiations at the Kuksaroy residence produced a joint declaration adopted by Presidents Islam Karimov and Andris Berzins.

Also, the two sides signed an intergovernmental agreement on mutual visa-free travels by owners of diplomatic passports, a memorandum on cooperation in the sphere of renewable energy sources, a cultural cooperation program for 2014-2016.

Meeting with representatives of mass media, the heads of our two states noted in particular that the talks proved constructive, in the spirit of mutual confidence, and that the agreements reached will serve for the further development of Uzbek-Latvian relations and the growth in the wellbeing of peoples of both countries. The two parties underscored the similarity and closeness of views, approaches and positions on all issues considered.

The two leaders stated that both sides are equally interested in the steadfast continuation of such negotiations and in furthering the cooperation in all spheres.

In the second half of the day, Andris Berzins took part in the business forum of entrepreneurship circles of Uzbekistan and Latvia.

Accompanied by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the high-ranking guest visited the Mustaqillik Square and laid a wreath to the Monument of Independence and Humanism, which is a symbol of our freedom, bright future and noble aspirations. Andris Berzins highly appraised the wide-scale creative endeavors undertaken under the leadership of President Islam Karimov on the main square of the nation.

The Latvian leader visited also the State Museum of the History of the Temurids and reviewed the unique exhibits associated with the Sahibkiran and his descendants.

The official visit of President of the Republic of Latvia Andris Berzins to the Republic of Uzbekistan continues.