Presidents of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan made statements for the press

12 october 2012, 14:30

After the signing ceremony, President Ilham Aliyev and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov made statements for the press.

Statement by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear Islam Abduganiyevich!

Distinguished guests!

Dear friends!

Mr. President, I am glad to welcome you to Azerbaijan. We attach great importance to your visit. And I am confident that the visit will produce very good results.

The relations between our countries are developing very rapidly, efficiently and productively. I remember my official visits to your beautiful country and the hospitality the members of my delegation and myself enjoyed there. This is very dear to me.

Mutual visits promote active development of bilateral relations. They give a powerful impetus to the development of relations in all spheres. We are very pleased with the way the relations between our countries develop. In the 21 years of independence our countries have established truly friendly and brotherly relations, the relations of strategic partnership.

I am very pleased that we also cooperate actively in international organizations. We always support each other in the international organizations we are members of. First of all, in the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and others.

We are very grateful for Uzbekistan’s strong support in the election to the UN Security Council last year. We really needed that support, it was very valuable. You demonstrated brotherly attitude towards our country again. We are also grateful for Uzbekistan’s principled position on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Your country’s support for the resolution initiated by Azerbaijan in the UN General Assembly in 2008 was also highly appreciated by the people of Azerbaijan. We, for our part, have always supported and will keep supporting the brotherly Uzbekistan in all international organizations. In other words, we have very active cooperation on the international arena, a continuous exchange of views on issues of global politics. And the exchange we had today is evidence of strong and sincere relations between our countries and peoples.

The relations between our countries have a long history, of course. But the relations between our peoples have a centuries-long history of friendship, cooperation and mutual support. This is the basis on which we are building our relations. Today, we discussed in detail issues of economic cooperation, regional problems. Our regions, of course, are quite specific, but they also have a lot in common. I think that the policies of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan towards minimizing risks, enhancing the atmosphere of cooperation and understanding are approved by the countries of our regions and play an important part in stabilizing the situation. Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan play a stabilizing role in their regions. This role is particularly responsible at the current stage, when potential risks in our region are rising and we need to adequately respond to potential threats. This is why the predictability of the regions in which our countries are located depends on the close interaction and active political consultations between us. We will continue to do everything possible to strengthen confidence-building measures in the region, promote better understanding and resolution of existing problems.

The initiatives we put forward in relation to communication projects are also very important.

The implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project will create an entirely new environment for transport and communication projects that will help create new transport arteries – much shorter and economically viable. These activities will also promote better understanding and cooperation between the countries involved. We are essentially building a new line, a new Silk Road, together with Uzbekistan. It will link continents, provide immense transport capacity for many years to come, help realize the potential for our countries and contribute to confidence-building measures in the region.

We are ready to consider joint investment projects. I think there are good opportunities for that. Both Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan are countries that have huge economic and financial strength, great technical capabilities. I think the meeting of the intergovernmental commission held the other day has determined the ways for developing economic ties. I believe that we should support our producers in the joint projects to increase the volume of trade between our countries, which, unfortunately, is not yet at the level it deserves.

We have also discussed in detail the issues of humanitarian cooperation, we discussed them very broadly. Not only cooperation in the areas of science, culture, education, humanitarian issues, but also in a broader sense, in terms of conceptual approaches to how these relations should be built in the world, what is the role and place of our countries in humanitarian cooperation. And we are united in the opinion that we in our countries should take care of and strengthen our national cultural heritage, so that young people are raised in the national spirit, the spirit of commitment to their values, the values that have taken shape over the centuries.

I would like to conclude by saying that the topics discussed and the exchange of views have shown the similarity, I would even say the identity of our positions on regional issues, world politics and the focus on strengthening the strategic partnership between our countries.

Dear Islam Abduganiyevich, I want to thank you for accepting the invitation to visit our country. I wish you and your people happiness and prosperity.

Thank you.


Statement by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov

- Thank you, Ilham Heydar oglu!

Dear representatives of the media!

First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and all our Azerbaijani friends for the warm hospitality and friendly welcome which the delegation of Uzbekistan has enjoyed.

First of all, I would like to inform representatives of the media that we view this official visit of the Uzbek delegation to Azerbaijan as a logical and yet necessary continuation of our meetings at the highest level, as a good opportunity to discuss the state of our bilateral relations, develop joint positions and decisions on the most urgent issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation and, finally, exchange views on the most pressing international issues. I think it is needless to say that the current state of affairs makes the situation change rapidly in our regions – the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and beyond.

The serious problems associated with security and stability challenges, the threat of terrorism, the growing proportions of drug aggression, complex processes related to the global financial and economic recession and its direct consequences necessitate such meetings and the development of common approaches and positions.

Of course, an important place in our meetings and negotiations was taken by issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, their state and prospects for action to enhance their efficiency, especially trade and economic relations between our countries. I fully agree with the conclusion made by Ilham Heydar oglu that the Uzbek and Azerbaijani sides are clearly not satisfied with the level of our trade. Especially if we consider that our opportunities are still used so poorly that we have not only to draw conclusions but also take effective measures that are needed for this trade to be at the proper level. To some extent, this is hampered by the fact that Azerbaijan is somewhat distant from the communications that link Central Asia and the South Caucasus today. Azerbaijan is practically a leader in the construction of communication transit lines. Azerbaijan is practically one of the major initiators of the projects that were unthinkable 10-15 years ago. I think that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a totally new direction of communication which will play a crucial role not only in the current situation – I mean that this railway, as I understand, will be commissioned in the near future, before the end of this year or next year. Nevertheless, I want to say that if we talk not only about communications linking Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, then Azerbaijan, as Ilham Heydar oglu has said, is one of the leading and key states in the South Caucasus, especially when we consider the rates and dynamics of Azerbaijan’s development which are causing a serious envy of someone and full support of your friends.

Azerbaijan is the leader not only in terms of economic development and the use of its vast resources. If we look at what has been happening in the last few years, we can compare our impressions. I was here four years ago, in 2008. Four years have passed. This is a very short period of time. But when I was driven through the streets of Baku yesterday and today, I was driven through a part of the city, I was not just impressed, I was amazed by the innovation, the change and the extent of development that have taken place in Baku.

There is almost complete upgrade of all main communications, construction of regional, perhaps unusual for eastern countries structures and architectural solutions. This creates a strong belief that Azerbaijan is not only one of the centers of the East, today it is a modern country, a modern civilization with modern architectural solutions. And no-one can deny that all this is evidence of the enormous change that is currently under way in Azerbaijan not only from the standpoint of production, development of the gross domestic product, but also in terms of the development of certain industries that are completely new for Azerbaijan.

Not only does Azerbaijan supply oil and gas and is one of the key countries that play an important part in the energy security. It also has, very importantly, processing plants, refineries, gas processing plants that are increasingly asserting themselves today.

I believe that in the future this will be a very important component, I would say a direction of major structural changes that are expected in Azerbaijan in the near future. What does “structural transformation” mean?

This means not just diversifying the industry and oil refining, it means the diversification of the entire economy. Particularly striking, of course, are the changes taking place in the social sphere. There is so much construction in the city, such changes in Baku. Unfortunately, I can’t travel around Azerbaijan. I would like to do it some time and hope to have this opportunity. I hope so.

I would like to be taken, along with Ilham Heydar oglu, to the historical, I would say, truly Azerbaijani cities and villages, meet the villagers and the intelligentsia, real representatives of all sectors Azerbaijan is rich in. Above all, the people who are open to me. I like these people.

Because I have great respect for them. This is our common history. These people are very similar to ours, they speak a similar language. I was happy to turn on the TV yesterday to listen to Azerbaijani music. I think that the nature and the environment of these cities and villages is something it would be nice to see, have a closer look at and, most importantly, see again that we have so much in common, that we have one goal, that there can be no other goals, there is no alternative – complete strengthening of our relations, common approaches, common decisions on the challenges that are almost the same in respect of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. They are so similar that when Ilham Heydar oglu talks about his problems and I talk about ours, I find myself thinking that I know them, compare with our problems. It is difficult to distinguish them. In terms of external challenges, from the standpoint of the problems we have to resolve at home in order to ensure the security and stability in our cities, in our state. And most importantly, in terms of the creative plans that I see in Baku.

I hope that when Ilham Heydar oglu visits us, I will also delight him by showing new construction projects in Tashkent.

And if there is time, we will go to Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva. We can see what unites our nations, our common history and many things it would be nice for the President of Azerbaijan and his delegation to see. I would request that your delegation include people of completely different backgrounds – historians, linguists, intellectuals and those working on our overall convergence.

I would like to express my complete satisfaction with the results of the talks between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, which have confirmed the closeness and coincidence of positions and evaluation of almost all the issues discussed. During the talks with the President of Azerbaijan, we stressed the permanence and consistency of Uzbekistan's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. The Uzbek side has always stood and will stand for a peaceful political solution to the decades-old conflict and considers it one of the main conditions for resolving this protracted problem on the basis of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

We understand how serious this problem is for the whole of Azerbaijan, for its people, especially for the one million people who are now refugees and were forced to leave their homes. If we look from this perspective, the current situation in Azerbaijan and the successes it has achieved are further proof that in the most difficult conditions the country has secured dynamic development using its potential and reserves.

And this has been done under such circumstances, when there is a million refugees, when there is a problem that must be dealt with every day in order to meet the goals Azerbaijan has set for itself and for others, to resolve the Karabakh problem. I fully support the statement of the President of Azerbaijan that the Karabakh problem must and will be resolved. And from this standpoint, I am sure that it is in the interest not only of Azerbaijan, but also of the entire region. Perhaps even beyond.

Because this settlement would concern not only Azerbaijan, but also many countries with similar problems. And I think that to achieve such fundamental changes in such a situation is tantamount to heroism, and there is no exaggeration in this. It is heroism committed by the people of Azerbaijan. I congratulate the people of Azerbaijan for its present-day achievements not only in terms of economic development, the social sphere, but also in terms of recognition in the international arena. The fact that Azerbaijan, despite the huge opposition from many countries, became a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council in 2012-2013 is a huge success and further proof that a fair statement of the task in the economic and social life, the policies pursued by Azerbaijan and its leader in such difficult conditions mean recognition of Azerbaijan’s role on the international stage, the role Azerbaijan plays in international politics. I am not afraid to say this – the realization of global politics. This is another confirmation. I think that we reached a common opinion both in our talks in a narrow format and as part of our delegations.

We have reached a common opinion and desire, and our desire can be formulated as follows: we will continue to strengthen our cooperation, take a concerted effort to ensure regional and international security in the establishment of favorable conditions for sustainable social and economic development of our countries, ensure peace and stability in our regions. I want to stress that we appreciate the level of interaction and mutual support in leading international organizations, and there are enough examples of that which I will not speak about today.

The Joint Statement adopted at the end of our talks focuses on the need for increasing economic cooperation and using the large reserves our both countries now. We have signed an agreement on measures to implement the program of economic cooperation designed for 2013-2015 – this is evidence of the real statement of the task we are talking about. We agreed that the intergovernmental commission which has recently held a fruitful meeting should play a coordinating role in this.

I would like to note the organization of national exhibitions in Tashkent and Baku in recent years, which have revealed a great interest of business circles of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, the increased cooperation in the areas where our economies complement each other. We agreed to continue work on a bilateral and multilateral basis for an even more effective and mutually beneficial use of the huge communication and transit potential of our countries. We attach great importance to the cultural and humanitarian aspect of cooperation. It is an important direction and source of strengthening the friendship and cooperation between our countries.

In your presence I would like to confirm our invitation of President Ilham Aliyev to pay an official visit to Uzbekistan at a convenient time and considering his schedule. I hope this visit will be special because it has been two years since Ilham Heydar oglu last visited Tashkent where we opened a monument to our common heritage. I want to take this opportunity to say again that we are always grateful to the President, first of all, the intellectuals of Azerbaijan for the monument to Alisher Navoi opened here in Baku and the monument to Nizami Ganjavi opened in Tashkent. I mean that one of the streets in Baku is named after our great scholar Mirza Ulugbek. He was also the Emir of Samarkand. One of the streets in Tashkent is named after the great son of Azerbaijan, the man I knew closely and still admire. I admire his wisdom, his stamina and, most importantly, his vision when he laid out the policy pursued by his son.

It is so important that Azerbaijan has a policy continuity. The relations between our countries, today's modern relations were laid out by Heydar Aliyev. And I am grateful to Ilham Heydar oglu for the fact that after receiving such education and instructions from his father, he continues this very worthy cause of strengthening the relations between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, between our peoples.

Thank you for your attention.