On the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, President Islam Karimov traveled to Kazakhstan on September 6-7 with an official visit.
The official ceremony of meeting the high-ranking guest took place at the Akorda Palace of Kazakhstan’s President. A guard of honor had lined up to meet the President of Uzbekistan. The leaders of our two countries rose to the podium, and paid tribute to state anthems of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Then, Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbaev walked along the guard of honor.
During the talks in contracted and extended formats, the heads of state discussed in detail the key issues in the development of Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan relations, the current state of affairs in Central Asia and around it, along with pressing international issues of shared interest.
The two sides underlined the concurrence and similarity of positions and approaches of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan practically on every issue of bilateral and multilateral nature.
Today, the environment and conditions essential for fruitful and longer-run cooperation are there to cash in, including the vigorous political will, the profound mutual understanding, the robust normative and agreement base, and the accumulated experience of constructive interaction.
For Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan is a time-tested reliable neighbor. Our two peoples are fraternal friends tied with ages-old kindred bonds and roots, a common history, destiny, spiritual and cultural values, a close language and mentality.
As the leaders of our two nations noted, the distinct historical legacy of the two peoples is impossible to detach, nor is their present and future. We have always been close to one another, and will always be in need of each other.
The Astana summit has again underscored that it carries the potential of influencing the longer-term prospects of Uzbek-Kazakh multilayered relations as much as the stability and sustainable development of our entire region amid the current rapidly changing and intricate times.
Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbaev expressed conviction that the relations between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have thus far been built and will keep doing so on the firm belief in the community and indivisibility of longer-run strategic interests and national priorities of the two countries, as well as on the willingness to jointly further the wide-ranging goals and objectives our two nations have set out to address.
Given the volatile situation in Central Asia and beyond it, the need for elaboration of coordinated approaches by Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan dedicated to preserving and consolidating the peace, stability and prosperity of the people in our region has been gaining in significance.
The emerging complicated situation in this part of the world and some of the regions adjacent to it has been causing a common need in the intensification of effective preventive measures to counter the new threats and challenges. The two presidents noted thus that Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan are interested in the soonest resolution of conflict in Afghanistan, and positively appraised the contribution of both countries to the economic reconstruction in that nation. Also stressed was the importance of initiatives set forward by Tashkent and Astana to put an end to that conflict and foster socio-economic revival in Afghanistan.
Our two nations advocate the intensification of contacts and the further coordination of efforts in international and regional organizations. The steadfast development of cooperation within the frameworks of multilateral institutions facilitates consolidation of stability in regional and international contexts. The two sides, to this end, expressed willingness to support each other within the United Nations and other international bodies.
The parties have agreed to promote practical interaction in political, economic and other realms within Shanghai Cooperation Organization in order to enhance neighborly, friendly and partnership relations among member nations, to expand the SCO capacities to effectively meet the contemporary challenges and threats.
The heads of our two states have placed a considerable emphasis on the joint and principled position with regards to rational use of water and energy resources of Central Asia and stressed the need in tackling all the standing issues on this front, including those concerning the construction of hydropower facilities on transnational rivers, in strict adherence to the universally recognized international law norms and taking into account the interests of all countries of the region.
While discussing trade and economic cooperation, President Islam Karimov said that Kazakhstan is among our important partners in this sphere, trade with which has been noteworthy with a dynamic and steady growth. In 2011, the bilateral trade turnover swelled by 47 percent to exceed 2.7 billion US dollars. In the first half of 2012, this figure has constituted 1.4 billion dollars – an eighteen percent increase.
It was stressed during the negotiations that both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan wield remarkable capacities and reserves which can help amplify the range and scales of trade between our two nations.
A critical component of bilateral interaction is the cooperation in transport and communications as well as transit issues. The presidents noted emphatically that the transport communications commanded by the two countries ought to constitute a conjugate system that would work in an accurately efficient and coordinated mode and that which would secure the maximum conducive environment for export-import operations and freight transit. In this respect, a pivotal feature of cooperation is the provision of tariff and non-tariff preferences during the arrangement of transit and supply of cargo, including via railroad.
Presidents Karimov and Nazarbaev deliberated also on the enhancement of cooperation in cultural and humanitarian areas, the one which is built on the spiritual proximity and centuries-old traditional ties.
Kazakhstan regularly hosts exhibitions of works by renowned Uzbek artists; folk craftspeople and masters from Uzbekistan come to handicraft fairs; Uzbek music and theater groups travel around Kazakhstan as part of performance tours. Our filmmakers take part in cinema festivals in the neighboring country.
Ethnic Kazakh theaters and folklore bands are energetic in their artistic activities in Uzbekistan. A Council on Kazakh Literature functions under the Union of Authors of Uzbekistan. The Kazakh-language Nurly Jol newspaper is printed in Uzbekistan, along with special TV and radio shows aired on Uzbek TV and radio. Dozens of books by Kazakh akyns (folk poets and singers), authors and journalists have been published in our country with assistance from Uzbekistan’s Republican Kazakh Cultural Center. Kazakh language and literature departments are established at Karakalpak State University and Tashkent State Pedagogical University. A range of disciplines at numerous pedagogical institutions are taught in Kazakh.
In turn, Uzbek cultural centers are open in Astana, Almaty and nine other cities around Kazakhstan. They hold annual Days of Uzbek Language, Culture and Rites. The Uzbek-language periodicals and special TV and radio programs serve to promote national traditions and customs of Kazakhstan’s Uzbeks.
The two leaders said that the current visit has once again confirmed the ages-old historical, cultural and spiritual closeness of the Uzbek and Kazakh peoples, the community of interests and indivisibility of destinies of our two countries, and that these values will continue to serve as the backbone of interaction and cooperation between the two nations.
Following the talks, Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbaev signed a joint statement.
In addition, an intergovernmental agreement on readmission of individuals and a few other bilateral documents have been penned.
During the subsequent meeting with mass media representatives, the two heads of state agreed that the current visit and the important documents inked during it will open up extensive horizons in bilateral relations and facilitate activation of the keen untapped potential of cooperation to meet the vital interests of our two fraternal peoples.
President Islam Karimov conveyed gratitude to President Nursultan Nazarbaev for a warm welcome and hospitality, and invited the leader of Kazakhstan to visit Uzbekistan at a time convenient for him.
Laying a wreath to the Monument for the Defenders of Motherland later that day, President Islam Karimov paid homage to the memory of those who fell for the independence of native land.
Indisputable as it is, the current visit, the constructive exchange of views, the prolific negotiations and the documents inked will afford a potent impetus to boosting the interaction and reinforcing the cooperation for the good of our two peoples and countries.