SPEECH BY PRESIDENT ISLAM KARIMOV AT SCO SUMMIT IN TASHKENT (EXTENDED MEETING)
11.06.2010

Dear participants of the Summit!

We now have every reason to assert that for a relatively short period of time, Shanghai Cooperation Organization formed in 2001 has become an influential international organization of modern geopolitics.

Critical in the development of SCO has been the introduction of an institution of observers, as well as partners in dialogue. Crucial have been the memoranda of understanding with ASEAN, CIS, and Joint Declaration on Cooperation between Secretariats of SCO and the UN signed during UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Tashkent in April 2010. I am convinced that the document will facilitate active engagement of the UN podium in addressing the issues on SCO agenda, and joint promotion of interests of member states.

During this Summit, we plan to approve the regulations on procedures for accession of new members. SCO is thus making a new step in its development – that step opens the way for its enlargement with incorporation of new full-fledged members, and for further advancing the interests of participating states in a globalizing world.

It goes without saying that the approval of regulations does not imply automatic expansion of SCO membership by the inclusion of present-day observer nations. Approval of the regulations only creates a legal framework for admission of new members to the Organization.

I am confident that an important step in securing SCO’s further dynamic development, in perfecting the legal framework of its work will be the rules of procedure of the Organization expecting approval in the course of this Summit. Realization of this document is expected to add a systemic configuration to the SCO and its constituent bodies, and ensure higher quality in developing and implementing documents and decisions adopted within SCO.

Overall, if we critically assess the consistency of ongoing work aimed at shaping the SCO, it would be completely reasonable to suggest that there has been a thoroughly thought-out, steady and focused process of development of SCO and uplifting its standing in the international arena, bolstering its role and capacities in accomplishing the Organization’s core goals that include boosting peace, stability and security, ensuring sustainable economic development, expansion of socially oriented and humanitarian cooperation within SCO.

Dear attendees of the Summit!

The next issue I would like to draw your attention to is the situation in Afghanistan. This subject matter has long been a key topic, which no single SCO meeting has missed to address, and which continues to be at the heart of our consideration today.

There is no need to prove that without solving the problem in Afghanistan that has for the past 30 years torn in war, it is impossible to talk about peace and stability in Central Asia.

I am positive that people in this room are well aware of the fundamental nature of Uzbekistan’s proposal to tackle the crisis in Afghanistan – an initiative with a concise title as a “6 +3” peace-building group whose essence comprises the following:

First. There is no military solution to the Afghan crisis. We talked about this in April 2008 at a meeting of EAPC/NATO in Bucharest and other international forums, while today it is the subject of discussion by leaders of quite many nations involved in resolving the confrontation in Afghanistan.

Second. In addressing the conflict and stability in Afghanistan, priority should be directed at the provision of targeted economic assistance to the long-suffering Afghan people, at the construction of transport and communications and social infrastructure, at ensuring population’s employment, and at pressing issues of combating poverty.

Third. It is necessary that the historical, ethno-demographic characteristics of Afghanistan, ages-old customs, traditional values of Islam that are adhered to by the multinational and multi-religious people of the country, be taken into account and respected.

Fourth. Without engaging the people of Afghanistan and all – without exception – opposing forces, ethnic and religious groups, in the process of reconciliation, and without reaching consensus among them, the war in Afghanistan may last long.

Fifth. An active participation of three key players – the United States, Russia and NATO – in this process is important. Decisive here is reliance on neighboring nations, the countries, I stress, that directly border Afghanistan. Only with engaging these countries with influence on ethnic groups in Afghanistan, will it be possible to hope for a positive outcome.

And, crucially, all these problems must be addressed with the leading role, and under the auspices, of the United Nations.

As far as regional security and stability are concerned, I would like to very briefly speak about the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan’s attitude to the events in that republic is clearly reflected in the statement of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry on April 9, 2010. We thus consider it Kyrgyzstan’s internal issue, and that speaks for itself.

I believe that the people of Kyrgyzstan have enough credible wisdom and reason to resolve the complicated crisis situation developing today in that country.

The Declaration of SCO Summit in Tashkent that we are going to sign today fixes the common position of member states on this issue. Its essence is to express our solidarity with the Kyrgyz people, common concerns over the state of affairs in the country, willingness to provide necessary assistance to Kyrgyz Republic in order to accelerate stabilization and legitimacy of the authorities, to improve the socio-economic environment in the country.

The next issue I would like to briefly address is post-crisis economic recovery that are of concern for many countries in the world.

Time and again, the accuracy of assessments by numerous reputable experts and analysts becomes apparent. According to them, despite the fact that the peak phases of the global financial and economic crisis are largely left behind, a tough, painful and a rather long phase of exit and recovery is still to come. This does not rule out the return in some countries of production decline, persistence of high unemployment rates, shrinking real incomes of population, and serious strains in the financial and banking markets.

The sustained pumping of the market with huge funds amid significant increase in the share of problematic and non-performing loans, as well as inadequate control of banking and financial sector activities, have created conditions for boom in speculative capital and growth of bubbles in stock and commodity exchanges that could lead to new collapses in financial and currency markets, with all ensuing consequences.

This is not to mention the fact that the increased emission of monetary and payment funds leads, first of all, to their depreciation and loss in attractiveness of largely convertible currencies and, second, creates a potentially dangerous situation characterized with rising inflation.

National budget deficits and public debts have gathered a serious, and in some countries threatening, scale, which puts colossal strain on the financial sector, limits expenditures and reduces demand in domestic and foreign markets.

We are all very pleased that the global financial and economic downturn has had a relatively weak impact on most countries in Asia, many of whom have been weathering its consequences with a remarkable confidence.

However, given the interdependence of development processes in global economy, we should not forget that the growing problem associated with overcoming the slowdown and recovering the economy and finance, regardless of where they occur, can have a dramatic impact on all nations and regions.

As far as the implementation of anti-crisis and post-crisis programs in Central Asia is concerned, I would like to highlight the development of communications, a very important issue, in our view, which has a decisive magnitude in addressing the enduring issues in this region.

That includes projects in construction and reconstruction of automobile, railway and air transport communications, as well as information links, both of domestic and cross-border importance.

We all know what a profound legacy the Great Silk Road left in the history of humanity, that in the past used to link the East and West, and which showed how central the geographical and geopolitical position of Central Asia is.

The twenty-first century that we live in, the age of globalization and great changes, makes everyone focus on the necessity of modern communications, logistic centers, various hubs that constitute an indispensable component of regional and global processes – processes of integration and cooperation.

This is particularly important since, as the practice of building such communication centers on the vast space of our region demonstrates, companies from both supplying and purchasing nations, both in the East and West, are undeniably interested in them.

Construction of roads, railways and relevant cargo transshipment points, given their great labor intensiveness, can be a potent source of employment and income for local people, thus solving one of the key issues of securing stability in the region. Moreover, a complex addressing of all these issues can prove to be one of the principal levers for progress and improving the sustainability of socio-economic development in the region.

However, all these tasks can only be realized with serious financial support from international financial institutions and sponsor nations, provided that these issues are at the spotlight of the international community.

Thank you for your attention.

City of Tashkent, 
June 11, 2010


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