Speech by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at SCO Summit in Tashkent (extended meeting)
Distinguished heads of states!
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 in the Organization, as well as partners in dialogue. Crucial have been the memoranda of understanding with ASEAN, CIS, and Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the 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 to actively engage the UN podium to address the issues on the SCO agenda, and to jointly promote the 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 next step in its development – it opens the way for its enlargement with incorporation of new full-fledged members, and for further advancing its interests 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 basis 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 to add a systemic configuration to the SCO and its constituent bodies, and ensure high quality in developing and implementing the 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 thoughtful, steady and focused process of development of SCO and uplifting its weight in the international arena, bolstering the role and capacities of the Organization in accomplishing its core goals that constitute 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 Afghan problem. This subject matter has long been a key topic, which no single SCO meeting has failed to address, and which continues to be at the heart of our attention today.
There is no need to prove that without solving the problem in Afghanistan, which has for the past 30 years torn in war, it is impossible to talk about peace and stability in Central Asia.
I am certain 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 problem. 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 very many leaders of nations involved in resolving the crisis 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, ensuring population’s employment, and resolution of pressing problems 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.
Speaking about regional security and stability, I would like to very briefly touch upon the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan’s relations to the events in this republic are clearly reflected in the statement of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry made on April 9, 2010. We believe this is an internal affair of Kyrgyzstan, and that says everything.
I believe that the public and the people of Kyrgyzstan have enough practical wisdom and reason to solve the difficult situation that is developing today in this country.
The Declaration of the SCO Summit in Tashkent that we are going to sign today fixes the common position of member states on this issue. Its main essence is to express our solidarity with the Kyrgyz people, common concerns over the difficult situation in the country, readiness to render necessary assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic in order to faster stabilize the situation and legitimize the authorities and to strengthen the socio-economic situation in the country.
The next issue I would like to briefly touch upon is the problems of post-crisis economic recovery that concern many countries in the world.
With each passing day, the correctness of assessments of many reputable experts and analysts becomes apparent, that despite the fact that the peak phases of the global financial crisis have largely been passed, a difficult, painful and a rather long phase of exit and recovery is still to come. And this does not exclude the return in some countries of the decline of production, continuance of high unemployment, decline of real incomes of the population, and serious strains in the financial and banking markets.
The continued pumping of the marker with huge funds while significantly increasing the share of problem and non-performing loans, as well as inadequate control of banking and financial sector activities, have created conditions for increase of speculative capital and growth of bubbles in the stock and commodity markets, which could lead to new collapses in financial and currency markets, with all ensuing consequences.
This is not mention the fact that the increased emission of monetary and payment funds leads, firstly, to their depreciation and loss of attractiveness of mainly convertible currencies and, secondly, creates a potentially dangerous situation of the rising inflation.
State budget deficits and state debts have acquired serious, and in some countries threatening, scale, which puts huge strain on the financial sector, limits expenditures and reduces demand in domestic and foreign markets.
We are all very pleased that the global financial crisis has had a relatively weak effect on most countries in the Asian region, and many of them have been overcoming its consequences quite confidently.
However, given the interconnectedness and interdependence of the processes of development of the global economy, we should not forget that emerging and growing problem of overcoming the crisis and recovering the economy and finance, regardless of where they occur, can have a dramatic impact on all countries and regions.
Speaking about the situation on the implementation of anti-crisis and post-crisis programs in the Central Asian region, I would like to highlight one very important issue, in our view, which has a decisive importance in addressing the continuing problems here – the development of communications.
This includes projects of construction and reconstruction of automobile, railway and air transport communications, as well as information and communication links, both of domestic and cross-border importance.
We all know what a deep trace in the history of the mankind was left by the Great Silk Road, which in the ancient times linked the countries of the East and West, and which proved how crucial the geographical and geopolitical position of the Central Asian region could be.
The 21st century that we live in – the age of globalization and great changes – strongly puts on the agenda the issue of the necessity and obvious importance of modern communications, logistic centers, various hubs, which constitute a necessary component of the regional and global processes – processes of integration and cooperation.
This is especially important since, as the practice of building and formation of such communication centers on the wide territory of our region shows, companies of supplying and purchasing countries, both in the East and in the West, are definitely interested in them.
Construction of roads, railways and related stations and cargo transshipment points, given their great labor intensiveness, can be a powerful source of employment and income for local people, thus solving one of the largest and key aspects of ensuring stability in the region. Moreover, the solution to all these complex issues can become one of the main levers of progress and improving the sustainability of socio-economic development of the region.
However, all these tasks can only be realized with serious financial support from international financial institutions and sponsor states, provided that these issues are in the center of attention of the world community.
Thank you for your attention.
City of Tashkent,
June 11, 2010