27 january. President Islam Karimov left on a state visit to Spain. At the Tashkent airport he spoke with journalists. "Though far away geographically, Spain is very close to us,” said President Islam Karimov. “In the court of Amir Temur there was a Spanish ambassador – Klavijo. Amir Temur sent an ambassador to Spain – Muhammad al-Kazi. Thus, 600 years ago there were cultural, educational, political and economic ties between us. The Spanish historian Ruis Gonzalez de Klavijo lived here for a long time. All Europe learned of our country through him. (+video1, +video2)
“As for contemporary Spain, there are 40m people there with GNP of $600-700b. Spain is active politically in ensuring peace in Afghanistan and is interested in promoting peace in our region.
“As for economic cooperation between our countries, there is much room for improvement. There are only 5 JVs. It is the same with trade. One goal of this trip is to increase cooperation and encourage Spanish investment in Uzbekistan.”
There are many financial projects here financed by Spanish credits Spain is one of the leading tourist countries, with a yearly income of $34b. Cooperation in this sphere would be profitable. We will also discuss cooperation in education, culture and finance. Meetings with senators, social figures and entrepreneurs are also foreseen.
Spain only invites a few world leaders each year for state visits. This visit shows the respect Spain has for Uzbekistan.
28 february. President Islam Karimov received the India Defense minister George Fernandez. President Islam Karimov said he was satisfied with the intensive development of Uzbek-Indian relations.
“We respect you not only as Indian Defense minister, but as a well known politician and public figure,” said President Islam Karimov. “Our long relations with India, which has great potential, are many-sided and developing now. We agree on many questions of international development. We cherish these relations.”
The Indian minister thanked President Islam Karimov and underlined that India pays great attention to cooperation with Uzbekistan.
6 march. Slovak President Rudolf Shuster made an official visit to Uzbekistan. President Islam Karimov held private talks with President Shuster. They spoke about the current situation here and international problems, as well as further development of bilateral relations. They concurred on the main issues.
Uzbekistan appreciates Slovakia’s integration into the EU and NATO, and sees it as facilitating further development of bilateral cooperation with Uzbekistan. Slovakia appreciates Uzbekistan’s active work internationally and its assistance to the anti-terrorist coalition.
They both support the necessity of joint struggle in the UN, NATO and the Partnership for peace against international organized crime, illegal arms and narcotics trade and other threats to national, regional and world security.
28 may. President Islam Karimov was in Moscow to participate in the summit of heads of states of the Shanghai Organization of Cooperation (SOC) and an informal meeting of CIS heads of state. (+video1, +video2, +video3)
The SOC summit takes place on May 29 in Moscow and the informal meeting of CIS heads of state on May 30 in St Petersburg. President Islam Karimov will also take part in the ceremonial 300th anniversary of St Petersburg.
At an interview with the press at the Tashkent airport President Islam Karimov said: Since the beginning of the SOC, its members saw the main tasks to be the creation of executive mechanisms for the organization. At regular meetings, documents on the activities of the organization were drawn up. The goal now is to strengthen trust between members with common borders. Two years ago Uzbekistan joined. Since then the SOC goals have widened. Security and cooperation are important, especially in the economic sphere. At the Moscow summit attention will be paid to this. Documents will be signed, including accords supporting the fight against terrorism and eradicating their sources of financing. Transport communications will also be considered.
17 june. President Islam Karimov left for an official visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He gave an interview to the mass media at the Tashkent airport, noting that Iran has high economic potential in the region, and that economic relations with it are important.
“Iran holds a leading place in the world in gas and oil, and has carried out significant work in communications recently,” said President Islam Karimov. “This means our cooperation with Iran is important.”
The level of trade between our countries in 2002 was $260m. This is 4 times great than in 1998. Documents will be signed on economic cooperation, eliminating factors retarding the development of mutual ties, on the fight against terrorism, narcotics and organized crime. Already more than 40 documents have been signed.
Special attention will be paid to the development of communications. Talks will be held in Teheran not only with the Iranian leadership, but also with Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai.
10-12 july. President Islam Karimov paid an official visit to Poland. Poland and Uzbekistan are considered in their regions as among the most reliable partners for each other. The visit last October of Polish President Kwasniewsky to Uzbekistan and this official visit of President Islam Karimov to Poland are the logical continuation of the dialog of these partners to greater cooperation.
Without concurrence of interests it would be difficult to cooperate. Thus the further activation of relations between Uzbekistan and Poland recently is because of mutual interest.
President Islam Karimov said that in Europe there are many peoples, but Poles have a special relationship to Uzbekistan. Besides tradition branches of the economy we can cooperate in construction, energy, telecommunications, mineral processing, construction materials and chemical production. The automotive sector, textiles, consumer goods, energy saving technology, aviation repairs, rail transport and packaging materials are also areas of mutual interest.
August. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Uzbekistan on a working visit. President Islam Karimov met him at the Samarkand airport. (+video)
The presidents met one on one to discuss cooperation and international problems of mutual interest.
Russia pays special attention to cooperation with Uzbekistan. Trade-economic ties are increasing bilaterally and in the framework of the CIS, Shanghai Cooperation organization and other structures to guarantee security.
Vladimir Putin made his first trip abroad as president to Uzbekistan. This is his third visit. President Islam Karimov visited Russia in May 2001 on a state visit.
Trade-economic ties show the level of cooperation. Russia is one of the main partners. The presidents noted that the volume of trade is inadequate. To increase it, the presidents agreed to renew the membership of the interstate commission on trade-economic cooperation. At a press conference it was announced that the next meeting of the commission would have new members this year.
It would not be an exaggeration to say the countries are strategic partners. Their position on many international issues is close. On international terrorism, religious extremism, narcotics and weapons smuggling, they work together.
In the press conference they noted that the Samarkand talks were broad. President Islam Karimov said that though no topic was an absolute priority, there were two aspects to the talks. First, economic relations especially oil and gas.
27 august. President Islam Karimov received a delegation of American congressmen headed by the chairman of the subcommittee for military supplies of the Committee of the Armed Forces Kurt Weldon.
American congressmen have visited Uzbekistan many times. This is yet another proof of the strengthening bilateral relations between our countries.
“We consider your visit as evidence of our growing cooperation,” said President Islam Karimov at the meeting. Expressing satisfaction with the development of bilateral relations, President Islam Karimov noted that Uzbekistan appreciates these ties. He said that we hail the successes of the US in the struggle against terrorism.
The guests noted the concurrence of views of the two countries in solving many international problems; in particular, illegal weapons trade and narcotics, which contribute to a positive result in the struggle against terrorism. They noted the great contribution that Uzbekistan makes in this area. They thanked President Islam Karimov for supporting the anti-terrorist coalition. During the talks further development of cooperation, regional security and other issues were discussed.
5 september. President Islam Karimov received the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation organization (SCO), including from Russia Igor Ivanov, from China Li Chaosin, from Kazakhstan Kasymjomart Tokaev, Kirgizstan Askar Aitmatov and Tajikistan Talbak Nazarov.
President Islam Karimov noted that this session of the council of foreign ministers is important to accelerate the process of formation of the SCO. Events will show whether the tasks before us are fulfilled.
The active development of the SCO shows the unity of opinions of member states. It is concerned not only with security, but also with many facetted development of trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation throughout the huge territory of the SCO. Its authority is rising in the international political arena.
This is the first meeting of SCO foreign ministers. They discussed realizing the agreements made in May at the Moscow summit of heads of SCO states. The meeting was fruitful.
25 september. President Islam Karimov received NATO General Secretary George Robertson.
“We admire you not only as NATO General Secretary, but as a major political figure making a great contribution to solving many international problems,” said President Islam Karimov. “In particular, you have made great efforts to transform NATO. Uzbekistan effectively cooperates with this organization in the framework of the Council of Euro-Atlantic partnership. After joining NATO’s Partnership for peace in 1994, our country regularly takes part in meetings of ministers of foreign affairs and defense, as well as sessions of leading committees of the organization.
Bilateral cooperation includes several tasks. The Uzbek government decided to create a Center for training for Partnership for peace. Uzbekistan and NATO have signed an individual program of cooperation. The program has 143 events in 20 directions, including command-forces and military field study for peacekeeping and search-and-rescue operations, as well as measures to provide humanitarian aid.
24 november. President Islam Karimov visited Bulgaria on a state visit.
This visit will determine priorities in our relations and cooperation in the future. It served as a forum for broadening the legal base for relations and for exchanging experiences in reform and opinions about regional and international problems. 14 documents were signed to promote friendship, trust and stable ties.
Cooperation with Bulgaria is important. Bulgaria is an alternate member of the UN security council, and in 2004 will be chairman of the OSCE and will become a full member of NATO. During the visit, President Kairmov held talks with the chairman of the parliament Ognen Gerdjikov. They discussed antiparliamentary ties and strengthening the legal base of relations. President Karimov also met Prime minister Simeon Saxbourg. They discussed cooperation in trade-economics.