The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan spoke at an International conference
On July 16, the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities ”.
The conference, organized at the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, is attended by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the ministers of foreign affairs of the countries of Central and South Asia, delegations of 44 countries and about 30 international organizations, heads of authoritative research and analytical centers.
In his welcoming speech, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized the historical proximity of the regions of Central and South Asia, the importance of strengthening it today on the basis of mutual trust and consideration of interests.
Central and South Asia have interacted with each other since ancient times. New knowledge and scientific achievements, cultural and spiritual values were spread along the Great Silk and Indo-Gangetic Roads. The peoples of both regions were within the framework of common state formations – the Bactrian and Kushan kingdoms, the Türkic kaganate, the Ghaznavid states, the Temurids and the Baburids.
Unfortunately, in the 19th century, interconnectedness was broken. Various obstacles arose, and the era of cooperation was replaced by a period of confrontation and mistrust.
In his speech, the head of our state emphasized the importance of reviving historical ties and joining efforts.
– Today the world has entered the era of global geopolitical transformations, which bring both challenges and new opportunities.
In these conditions, the revival of mutual ties between Central and South Asia, where about two billion people live today, is becoming an even more demanded and objective process. I think that the time has come, based on the huge historical, scientific, spiritual and cultural heritage of our peoples, the complementarity of economies, the availability of intellectual potential, to consolidate our joint efforts, which will undoubtedly give a powerful synergy effect, ”Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
Indeed, strengthening peace and friendship, trust and good-neighborliness, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries, building an open and constructive policy meet the common interests of all states of Central and South Asia.
In his speech, the President put forward important initiatives aimed at achieving these goals.
The priority importance of trade and economic cooperation was noted and an annual interregional forum was proposed to discuss topical issues of expanding the economic agenda of cooperation, deepening cooperation and investment interaction between the countries of the two regions.
The head of state paid special attention to the issue of building a transport and logistics infrastructure that will effectively and safely connect Central Asia and South Asia. The Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway is to become a key element of the entire architecture of the interconnectedness of our regions, the construction project of which has already received wide support, including from leading international financial institutions. The construction of this railway will make it possible to fully realize the transit potential of the two regions, form the shortest route, and significantly reduce the time and costs for the transportation of goods.
The need was noted to develop specific measures to implement digital connectivity in the field of trade, transit and border crossing, to adopt a Joint Action Strategy.
All over the world, the urgency of the problem of ensuring food security is growing. In this regard, the President proposed to hold a meeting of regional agriculture ministers under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to develop a joint program of measures.
Measures to strengthen security and stability in the region, the fight against terrorism, extremism and cross-border crime were also touched upon.
The importance of environmental protection and the development of a “green” economy was emphasized.
Views were expressed on the formation of a single platform of tour operators for the full realization of the tourism potential of Central and South Asia, the further development of tourism in the region within the framework of the World Tourism Organization.
Expansion of scientific, cultural and humanitarian exchanges plays an important role in strengthening friendship and trust. In this regard, it was proposed to hold an international forum on the historical heritage of Central and South Asia under the auspices of UNESCO in Termez.
The head of our state paid special attention to cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation. He stressed the importance of stimulating joint research and exchange programs, as well as introducing a simplified visa regime for scientists and researchers.
As you know, on the eve of this conference, the International Institute of Central Asia opened in Tashkent. The President proposed to create an expert group on the development of regional cooperation on the basis of this analytical center.
– The historical, cultural and civilizational community of Central and South Asia, the coinciding interests of our countries and peoples – this is a solid foundation on which we can build a common prosperous future. Together we will have to turn Central and South Asia, and our entire Eurasian continent, into a stable, economically developed and prosperous space, the President of Uzbekistan said at the end of his speech.
Then UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the conference participants with a video message.
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell spoke about the prospects for cooperation in the region and the importance of this forum.
The conference continues. The plenary and breakout sessions of the forum will discuss opportunities and initiatives aimed at further strengthening regional connectivity in the trade, economic, transport, communication, cultural and humanitarian spheres.
As a result of the conference, it is planned to develop a special draft resolution, which will be submitted for consideration by the UN General Assembly.