President Karimov: Russia Is Guarantor Of Security And Stability In Central-Asian Region

"Russia's interests in Central Asia have been and will be", Islam Karimov stated at the beginning of the talks of the Presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan in a narrow format. "We fully acknowledge these interests and are willing to cooperate in all directions", the head of Uzbekistan emphasized. Russia is a guarantor of security and stability in the Central-Asian region, Karimov noted. For this reason, in his opinion, "relations with Russia are of determining significance" for Uzbekistan not only from the standpoint of prospects for development of bilateral relations but also from the viewpoint of strengthening stability and security in Central Asia. Islam Karimov refuted the rumours about differences between Uzbekistan and Russia, as well as that Uzbekistan has been allegedly "distancing itself from Russia". Those who say it "do not go deeply" into our relations, the Uzbek leader stated. Having noted that before his trip to Moscow he analyzed the whole spectrum of Russian-Uzbek cooperation, Karimov stressed that he had not found any divergence in bilateral mutual relations. The President admitted that "there are positions where Uzbekistan acts on its own but they do not conflict with Russia's strategic interests". Furthermore, Karimov did not rule it out that the interests of Russia "can further develop" in the Central-Asian region. He also noted that "it would be wrong to vow eternal friendship, as it was done in the by-gone days", but not to speak from the positions of pragmatism and the interests of each state. But this does not signify divergence of positions between Russia and Uzbekistan, Karimov emphasized once again. The President of Uzbekistan stressed that his country supports all the processes taking place in Russia, and the position which Russia wants to achieve in the world meets the interests of Uzbekistan. Karimov also expressed gratitude to President Vladimir Putin for such a high reception which, as he said, Russia does not accord to all.

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