All of us are widely celebrating today the unforgettably historic date in the life of our country – the twenty-first anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence.
I take a splendid pleasure to sincerely congratulate you – and our entire nation in your face by extension – from the bottom of heart on this genuinely greatest and dearest for all of us holiday, Independence Day, the event our people had dreamt of for centuries.
I am convinced that with the passage of ages and millennia, this grand event – the Independence Day, the day that restored our sense of national self-consciousness, honor and pride, the right to dispose of the destiny of our own country, our sacred religion, values, customs and traditions – will stay eternal in history and get inscribed with gold letters in the chronicles of our Motherland.
Obviously, twenty one years is a rather short period of time when measured in terms of overall human history and the process of formation of states, their emergence on the map of the world. Nonetheless, Uzbekistan has for this brief span of time overcome a path equaling that of centuries, without any doubt.
Having rejected the old, obsolete system, its ideology and approaches, having got rid of any possible dependence on anybody, we have been aptly demonstrating to the world that from yesterday’s deprived marginal rim with no rights and ability to feed itself, we have joined the list of independent and sovereign nations developing with swift and sustainable growth rates, those countries who fully rely on their own power and capacities, those capable of protecting their own frontiers, the peaceful and tranquil life of the people, and who have attained a well-deserved place in the community of nations.
Today, no one can deny our achievements highly acknowledged in the international arena, the accomplishments made thanks to addressing the wide-ranging tasks and objectives we had set out for ourselves, namely, to join the ranks of modern, advanced democratic nations, to shape civil society, replenish every sphere of life, modernize and diversify the economy. We are all delighted to witness the mounting capacities, our economic and intellectual prowess, the transforming appearance of our cities and villages.
One can cite myriads of admirable figures and facts to underline our achievements.
During the independent development years, Uzbekistan’s economy has grown nearly 3.7 times, per capita real incomes have multiplied sevenfold, and the average pension rates have increased almost ninefold, while salaries have grown eighteen times. In this light, life expectancy has risen by seven years, while we have secured fuel and energy as well as grain independence, along with complete self-supply of meats and dairy and other commodities.
I would be correct to assert that all this is a practical implementation of the principle we had declared in the wake of attaining independence – the maxim that goes “reforms are not for the sake of reforms, but for the sake of people”. The housing fund in the country has grown twofold for the past years. 98.5 percent of families have a house or apartment of their own, while 97.5 rural families command their own stead – tangible effects of the targeted nationwide programs we have devised and executed.
Twenty one years ago, only one of every ten households had a car, while now it is every third family who enjoy this privilege. Every third person in Uzbekistan uses the internet – suggestive of the ever growing welfare of the nation, its free and prosperous life.
In this regard, I would cite another example.
In the background of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis that has been drawing immense concern of all countries and staying as the most acute and intricate issue in the world, Uzbekistan has for the last seven years been among the few nations whose annual economic growth rates have averaged 8-8.5 percent, displaying the sustainable development and the marvelous potential of our native land.
In the meantime, when considering the big successes and accomplishments as first strides on the way of Uzbekistan’s development, we all should thoroughly realize one truth.
Today, only a nation capable of overwhelming the harsh requirements of the rapidly mounting globalization and the intensifying malicious competence in the world markets, a country moving ahead persistently and tenaciously, with one’s own longer-run development strategy, can reach its own high goals on the way to progress.
Given these pressing issues, we should first and foremost address such priority tasks as consistent and steadfast continuation with reforms we embarked on to renew and modernize the country, intensify democratic transformation and liberalization process, further uplift the level and quality of life.
In the meantime, we should never forget that we are to cherish our priceless boon – i.e. the peace and concord, the atmosphere of kindness and compassion, the civic and interethnic harmony in society – as the apple of the eye.
The current turbulent and tough times, the conflicts and confrontations ongoing for many years in the near and far abroad as well as in our region, the mounting tension require persistent vigilance and advertence, readiness to forestall and neutralize any attempts that pose a threat to our security.
Worth noting that the remarkable achievements and frontiers reached owing to the tremendous endeavors during the independent development years that have cardinally transformed the consciousness, outlook and life of the nation, have proved by no means effortless for us to accomplish.
We ought to remember always that our nation, notwithstanding the threats and severe tests it has had to endure, has at all times remained true to the idea of independence all the way through and reached the current bright and prosperous days, primarily thanks to its diligence, courage and perseverance.
One should stress in particular that destructive forces are in abundance today, as well, who try to question the correctness of our chosen path, confuse young people who hardly witnessed thorny days endured by our people, distort the essence and meaning of our independence, take us again to the previous conditions of powerlessness and dependence.
However, these forces must clearly realize that today we are barely those naive people of the 1990s with little political experience.
Nowadays, we are a people tempered in the trials and difficulties of the transition period, with a solid outlook, proactive political, civic and social stance.
Our people, primarily the younger generation formed in the years of independence with its independent thinking, increasing level of self-awareness, looks to the future with a great confidence and will never – let me repeat – will never turn from its chosen path of development.
Today, keeping pace with the times and the world community, consolidating the bonds of friendship, cooperation and mutually rewarding partnership with all the different foreign countries, we need to keep the focus of our constant attention on further improving the business environment, on the expansion of diverse privileges and incentives to attract foreign investment and introduction of latest technologies and, to this end, build up new, higher level relations with friendly states.
Taking this opportunity, allow me, on my own behalf and on behalf of all our people, to thank the ambassadors of foreign countries and representatives of international organizations, and all the guests who are present at tonight’s celebration and share our joy and happiness.
At these thrilling moments, I would like to say to our youth, the force we rely on and hopeful of:
Dear my children: never forget what great ancestors you are posterity of, what unique and unrepeatable spiritual wealth you are heirs to!
Relying on your own abilities and capacities, knowledge and skills, the might of our great Motherland, do seek even higher achievements!
Know that your every triumph is a triumph of all the country, a victory for the entire Uzbekistan!
Hugging you all in the mind’s eye, I earnestly congratulate you again on the independence holiday; wish you sound health, happiness and the best of luck, and wellbeing and prosperity to your families.
May the Almighty save our people and our country from all misfortunes and evils!
May the sky above our land be clear!
May our independence be eternal!