As it was reported earlier, the Uzbek President Islam Karimov paid an official visit to Kazakhstan on November 24-25 at the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.
During the talks in a traditionally friendly setting marked by mutual understanding and openness, the heads of our two states discussed key issues in the evolution of relations between the two nations, prospects of enhancement of bilateral cooperation in the trade-economic, cultural-humanitarian and other areas, along with pressing regional and international topics of shared interest.
Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbaev stressed that the steadfast advancement of interaction across diverse spheres in the spirit of the Strategic Partnership Treaty between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan, inked in Tashkent in June 2013, meets the vital interests of the two peoples, their historical and cultural community, the potent bonds of friendship and neighborliness tested by time. Moreover, the consistent enlargement of such cooperation facilitates the consolidation of peace and stability in the region as well as sustainable development and prosperity in it.
As Uzbekistan’s leader pointed out, the visit has been regarded by the two sides as a logical extension of the dialogue at the highest level and as a good opportunity to inquire into the entire spectrum of multifaceted relations between our countries.
Global developments are marked currently by instability, and the repercussions of the world financial and economic crisis have still been acute. In this respect, the two parties expressed willingness to bolster the trade-economic and investment cooperation. The leaders of the two countries underscored also the availability of considerable capacities for cementing the interaction and vowed to shore up the cooperation between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan within the frameworks of prominent international and regional organizations, institutions and forums.
The heads of our two states exchanged views also on the situation in Afghanistan. They agreed that achieving peace in that country is of decisive significance for cementing the security and stability in our region and beyond it.
Given the common responsibility of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in securing robust peace and steady economic development in Central Asia, Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbaev agreed to boost the bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, extremism, illegal drug trafficking and arms smuggle, as well as other challenges and threats to regional and international security.
The major emphasis in the negotiations between the leaders of the two countries was placed on issues pertinent to building up economic relations.
Kazakhstan traditionally ranks among Uzbekistan’s important trade partners, and the bilateral commercial ties are characterized by dynamic and steadfast growth. Notwithstanding the apparent unpredictability and turbulence in the global economic processes, our two nations have been able to not only maintain, but also uplift the indicators of mutual trade. Thus, the bilateral turnover grew by 14 percent in 2013 to exceed 3.2 billion US dollars, while the increase in the first nine months of this year amounted to more than a quarter and surpassed 3 billion dollars.
Nonetheless, the two sides have greater opportunities and capacities to raise the cooperation to higher levels. To this end, the governments of the two countries have been tasked with boosting up measures to further augment the volumes of mutual trade, diversify the range of goods swapped, create favorable environment for transportation of products and for the promotion of interaction among entrepreneurship entities. The two leaders ordered to bolster the activities of the joint intergovernmental commission for bilateral cooperation to secure a timely and quality fulfillment of provisions of the 2007-2016 Economic Cooperation Strategy between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Another key aspect of the relations between our two countries is the enhancement of mutually advantageous partnership in the field of transportation and transport communications, in particular in cashing in the enormous transit potential of our two nations. President Islam Karimov noted that to further this goal, it is important to offer reciprocal tariff preferences when arranging the transit and supply of goods. It includes the railway transport, which in turn will allow for uplifting the competitiveness of transport corridors in comparison with alternative routes and for ensuring their higher workloads.
Among the issues considered during the negotiations was the activity of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFSA) that offers a unique and universal platform for the interaction among the countries of the region to implement scientific and practical projects and programs designed to improve the ecological situation and address socio-economic issues in the areas suffering from the impact of the Aral catastrophe.
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have supported regional and international efforts dedicated to the effective realization of the third phase of the action plan to assist the countries of the Aral Sea basin. In this regard, Kazakhstan highly appreciates the outcomes of the international conference to discuss the cooperation in the Aral Sea basin aimed at weathering the repercussions of the environmental disaster, held in October 2014 in Urgench, Uzbekistan, as part of our country’s presidency in the IFSA.
Also under focus were issues related to the expansion of cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian sphere, which is built on the spiritual proximity and ages-old traditional bonds between our two peoples.
A range of documents were signed during the visit to reinforce the bilateral cooperation across a variety of areas.
In Astana, the President of Uzbekistan, accompanied by the leader of Kazakhstan, visited the recently launched Nazarbaev Center, a multi-functional scientific-analytical and humanitarian-enlightenment institution. The facility is a distinctive museum fund that contains artifacts reflecting the history, culture and the contemporary lifestyle of the Kazakh people as well as the activities of the country’s President.
Noting Kazakhstan’s remarkable accomplishments made during its independence years, the head of our state conveyed an elevated appraisal to undertakings in the field of education and enlightenment, in nurturing the youth in the spirit of patriotism and respect for national and universal values.
It was highly symbolic that the Astana summit meeting happened to take place on the eve of the Kazakh people’s great holiday – the Independence Day. The Uzbeks and Kazakhs have always been reliable neighbors and cousins tested by life and time. Thus, every meeting of the leaders of our two countries is in demand and is welcomed by the two peoples with inspiration, the very peoples who realize perfectly that not only long-term prospects of bilateral multilayered relations, but also the stability and sustainable development of our entire wider region are contingent on this kind of dialogue amid especially the current swiftly changing and intricate world.
One can state with firm conviction that President Islam Karimov’s latest visit to Kazakhstan and the outcomes of the trip will open up new, broader horizons in the interaction between our two countries and will facilitate the mobilization of the tremendous potential of cooperation that caters to the interests of the Uzbek and Kazakh peoples.