New page in relations between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan
On December 4, the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani arrived in our country on an official visit at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
On December 5, the President of Afghanistan visited the Mustakillik square and laid flowers at the Monument of Independence and Humanism, which is a symbol of freedom, bright future and noble aspirations of our people.
The distinguished guest visited the Khazrati Imam complex, got acquainted with the unique manuscript of the Holy Quran – Mushaf Usmani, kept in Muyi Muborak madrassa, as well as with other historical and sacred monuments.
The main events of the visit were held at Kuksaroy residence.
After the ceremony of the official meeting, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Ashraf Ghani held negotiations in a narrow format.
I am glad to welcome You to Uzbekistan, said the President of our country. Over the past year, we held five meetings with You and prepared the basis for today’s visit. Uzbekistan sees Afghanistan as a close neighbor, a friendly country, makes every effort to establish peace and tranquility in Afghanistan, to develop our cooperation in trade, economy, transport, culture and other spheres.
The President of Afghanistan expressed satisfaction with his visit to Uzbekistan, which opens wide opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.
A year earlier people of Uzbekistan expressed their confidence and elected You as the President of the country, said the Head of Afghanistan. Transformations that have taken place over the past time have proved the correctness of this choice. Uzbekistan in accordance with the Strategy of actions for 2017-2021 is developing cooperation with neighboring states. The initiatives and practical actions of Uzbekistan contribute to strengthening of peace and stability in the region. We are glad to start a new stage of cooperation with Uzbekistan. We hope that these relations will strengthen every day.
Uzbekistan and Afghanistan established diplomatic relations on October 13, 1992. Bilateral cooperation has begun to develop dynamically since 2016. In January 2017, Tashkent hosted the first round of political consultations between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two countries. The appointment of the Special Representative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Afghanistan became the embodiment of the special attention paid by our country to bilateral relations.
The heads of states held meetings in Astana within the framework of the SCO summit on June 7 and the Summit on Science and Technologies of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation on September 10 this year.
On November 29, the first direct flight between Tashkent and Kabul was made. This event has not only a great symbolic, but also practical significance, since air communication has created convenience for officials, business people and citizens of the two countries.
During the negotiations, current issues of cooperation were considered. The sides exchanged views on the issues of regional and international importance, in particular, countering terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, strengthening security in Central Asia.
Uzbekistan consistently supports all practical initiatives aimed at establishing peace and tranquility in Afghanistan. Our country firmly adheres to the position that the most reliable way to ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan is political negotiations.
It is important to achieve national reconciliation, relying on financial, economic and humanitarian assistance of states and partner organizations, with active participation of the United Nations.
We wholeheartedly support the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan on establishing peace and stability in the country, achieving national reconciliation through political negotiations, improving socio-economic situation, said Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The peace in neighboring Afghanistan will make it possible to fully realize the focus of Central Asia on sustainable and progressive development. Uzbekistan will render all-round assistance in integrating Afghanistan into regional socio-economic process, will actively participate in restoration of the economy, the development of transport and energy infrastructure, training of national personnel in this country.
All this is consonant with the efforts of the international community on ensuring peaceful development of Afghanistan.
We highly appreciate the initiatives forwarded by Uzbekistan within the framework of authoritative international and regional organizations, including at the session of the UN General Assembly, said Ashraf Ghani. At the international conference held recently in Samarkand, it was also noted that peace in Afghanistan is an important regional and global issue. Cooperation with a key country in our region – Uzbekistan plays an important role in socio-economic stability.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani continued negotiations in an expanded format with participation of official delegations.
They were attended by the heads of ministries, departments and large companies. Issues of development of cooperation in trade, economic, transport, transit, energy, chemical, agro-industrial, education, cultural and other spheres, implementation of mutually beneficial joint projects were discussed.
In our country, special attention is paid to export issues. Afghanistan is a close and promising market for Uzbekistan. Developed industry, large transport and energy potential, agricultural products of Uzbekistan are beneficial for Afghanistan.
Joint commission on cooperation in the sphere of trade, transport and energy is established in order to effectively use the opportunities available in this direction. In Afghanistan, our country has implemented railway, energy and construction projects. In 2016, the trade turnover reached almost 520 million dollars.
Practical actions are being taken on further development of trade and economic relations. In particular, tariffs for railway, transit and other payments have been reduced, favorable conditions are being created for increasing the volume of trade turnover.
Uzbekistan is ready to supply the market of Afghanistan with products of mechanical and electrical engineering, chemical and textile industries, modern cars and trucks, buses, agricultural machinery, mineral fertilizers, construction materials, food, fruit and vegetable products.
Issues of development of cultural and humanitarian cooperation were also discussed at the negotiations.
A special training center for training the Afghans in the Uzbek language, training specialists in the railway and other spheres is established in Surkhandarya region. All conditions for rendering medical services to citizens of Afghanistan are created in the specialized hospital of Termez.
An agreement was reached on joint restoration, repair and improvement of final resting places of Abu Rayhan Beruni, Alisher Navoi, Zahiriddin Muhammad Babur and other great scientists and thinkers that are a symbol of our common cultural and spiritual heritage.
Conduction of an international conference on studying scientific heritage of Abu Rayhan Beruni, in Afghanistan, and an international symposium dedicated to women scientists, in Tashkent, was also announced.
Uzbekistan expressed readiness to train specialists for Afghanistan in its higher education institutions.
It was noted that Afghanistan supports the initiatives of Uzbekistan on establishment of Imam Bukhari International Research Center in Samarkand and the Center for Islamic Civilization in Tashkent. These institutions will play an important role in educating youth in the spirit of religious tolerance and national values, protecting them from the impact of various destructive currents and the ideas of terrorism.
Following the negotiations, the Joint Statement of the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan was signed.
16 documents aimed at development of cooperation in various fields, including agreements on trade and economic cooperation, state border crossing points, legal assistance in civil, family and criminal cases, cooperation in the field of transit of goods, mutual assistance in customs affairs, cooperation in the spheres of agriculture, energy, healthcare, higher education were signed.
The importance of the agreements on establishment of the Joint commission on the issues of security, the opening of the Consulate of Afghanistan in Termez was noted.
Cooperation in the sphere of transport and energy infrastructure development is of strategic importance not only for the two countries, but also for the region as a whole.
In particular, specialists of Uzbekistan will implement a project on construction of Surkhan – Puli Khumri power line. The joint construction of Mazari Sharif – Sheberghan – Maymana – Herat railway will be carried out.
Within the framework of the visit, commercial contracts were concluded for the supply of wheat, ferrous metals, mineral fertilizers, construction products, legumes and other products from Uzbekistan for a total amount of over 500 million dollars.
Presidents at the meeting with representatives of the mass media noted that the negotiations and the signed documents will promote further strengthening of mutually beneficial and long-term relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani visited Tashkent Agricultural Machinery Plant.
The delegation of Afghanistan examined the cars and trucks, agricultural, household appliances and other industrial goods produced in our country.
At the event it was informed that 25 “Isuzu” buses and 3 “New Holland” modern tractors, produced in Uzbekistan, were donated to Afghanistan on behalf of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan as a sign of sincere friendship between our countries.
The official visit of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to our country continues.