Speech by Ambassador Otabek Akbarov at the roundtable “Multilateralism in Eurasia” at the University of Cambridge
Dear Chairman, Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to participate in today's
meeting. It is a great honour for me to speak in such a distinguished place.
It is very symbolic and logical that today we are
hosted by the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, which rapidly became one of the
focus points of academic cooperation between the United Kingdom and states of
Thanks to the Forum and Jesus College, every year we
come together and discuss significant issues, as well as celebrate our common
Navruz festivity. I am also proud that today’s meeting will be followed
tomorrow by a unique event – First British-Uzbek “Avicenna Conference”, which
brings together young scholars and leading academics from our countries.
We fully supported the proposal of Professor Saxena to
dedicate today’s round table to the issue of “multilateralism” which becomes
increasingly important on the background of ongoing globalisation and
consolidation of national interests of many countries on the international
is amember of number of leading international organizations, particularly
the UN, Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
Collective Security Treaty Organization, Organization of Islamic Conference,
OSCE. We take active part in the activities of UNESCO, WHO, ILO, as well as
international financial organizations - ECO, IMF, ADB and IDB.
During 20 years of Independence, Uzbekistan has put forward and
implemented a range of important foreign policy initiatives
which influenced to multilateral dynamics in the region. Just a few examples:
1) in 1999 at the OSCE Istanbul summit and during the UN Millennium
Summit in 2000, President Islam Karimov proposed to establish International
Counter-Terrorism Centre within the UN Security Council structure.
International community supported and advanced this initiative – in 2001 the UN
Counter-Terrorism Committee was established.
another key direction is fight against narco-aggression. During the visit of UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to Uzbekistan in October 2002, the Head of our
State put forward the idea of creating the Central Asian Regional Information and
Coordination Centre on combating against drug trafficking(CARICC).
The Centre, as we know, is already functioning in Almaty.
3) from the UN General Assembly tribune in 1993, President of Uzbekistan
voiced an initiative to establish the Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia.
After years of negotiations between regional states, nuclear powers and number
of organizations, the Treaty establishing this Zone was signed by 5 states of
Central Asia in Semipalatinsk in September 2006.
4) normalization of the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan has a crucial
role for stability in Central Asia. At the UN GA session in 1993, our country
proposed to hold the first international consultation on the regional security
problems. Uzbekistan became an initiator of the formation of “6+2” Contact Group on Afghanistan
under the aegis of the UN, which included 6 bordering countries, Russia and the
USA. In 1999, a
conference of this group took place in our capital, where “Tashkent Declaration
on main principles of peaceful settlement of conflict in Afghanistan” had been
adopted. The group had functioned effectively until 2001.
Now, we believe that it is expedient to resume the process of
negotiations in the framework of consultative group on Afghanistan. At the NATO
summit in Bucharest on April 3, 2008 our President called for resumption of the
Contact Group which, in view of present realities, should be transformed from
Today, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is on the brink of its
20-years anniversary. During the passed period, there were voiced different,
sometimes diametrically opposite, opinions and forecasts regarding the
effectiveness of the CIS activity. However, time itself has demonstrated that
the CIS is still remains the only structure, which promotes development of
multilateral cooperation among the majority of post-soviet countries.
One of the most important issues on the CIS agenda is economic
cooperation with introduction of the free trade regime between member-states
and development of wide transport communications. We are glad that the
formation of the Free Trade Zone is secured by the CIS Concept of further
development, signed by heads of states on 5 October 2007. At the same time,
Uzbekistan underlines that conclusion of the Free Trade Zone Agreement should
not worsen existing trade regime among the CIS countries and interests of all
parties must be taken into account.
Modern realities demand an improvement of the CIS activity, which is
also envisaged by the Commonwealth’s Concept of further development. In
general, the CIS has a significant unrealised potential for facilitation of
mutually beneficial cooperation among its members, and Uzbekistan will continue
its participation in the activities of this organisation.
When we talk about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
it is important to mention the following:
-Uzbekistan was one of the founders of the SCO, when
signed Shanghai Declaration in June 2001 and defines its strategy with other
members on equal basis;
-the SCO, which unites nations with common borders,
history and culture, should clearly demonstrate that its activities are not
directed against other countries;
-our priorities within the SCO include investment
cooperation, development of transport networks and telecommunications, creation
of jobs and solving social problems;
-along with that, Uzbekistan welcomes the SCO Charter
goals on security and regional stability. Special role in this area is played
by the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent;
-we fully support establishment of links between the
SCO and other international structures. In accordance with Tashkent initiative
of June 2004, the SCO has contacts with ASEAN, CIS and ESCAP, as well as
observer status in the United Nations. The declaration on collaboration between
the secretariats of the UN and SCO was signed in April 2010 in Tashkent and paves
way for functional relations between the UN Counterterrorism Committee and
Uzbekistan chaired the SCO in 2010 and hosted its summit in Tashkent in
June, when our President made several important proposals related to
development of the decision-making mechanism within the SCO and activity of its
structures. The summit resulted in signing of the Declaration of the heads of
the governments, the Decree on regulations for admission of new members, as
well as agreements on collaboration in the field of agriculture and crime
fighting and number of other important documents.
Dear participants of the roundtable,
Discussing the social and economic issues, we can not
avoid touching probably the most urgent problem in our region – management
of water resources.
Taking into account a special importance of water for
Central Asia, Uzbekistan has always spoken from a position of reasonable
approach to its use. The tragedy of the Aral Sea is a vivid example of
irresponsible attitude towards the environmental problems.
most important task is to preserve the natural biological pool of the area
adjacent to Aral, reduce the disastrous impacts of the Aral crisis on the
environment, and most importantly, on the life of millions of people living
Aral Sea area is supplied with water from the two main rivers – Amudarya and Syrdarya,
and any decrease of their waterflow would mean a radical disturbance of the
existing fragile environmental balance in the entire vast region.
in these conditions any attempts to implement projects drafted 30-40 years ago,
yet in the Soviet period, to construct in the upper stream of these rivers the
large-scale hydropower facilities with gigantic dams, and moreover, knowing that
the seismicity of this area makes up 8-9 points, - all these may inflict an
irreparable damage to environment and could be a reason for the most dangerous
speak for compulsory conduction of the complex examination of large
hydro-facility projects, first of all, the “Rogun” Hydro-Electric Station in
Tajikistan and “Kambarata-2”
in Kyrgyzstan, before starting their construction. Example of the anthropogenic
accident in the Sayano-Shushen Hydro-Electric Station in Russia in 2009
confirms necessity of such preventive measures. I can remind you that
Sayano-Shushen Station was elaborated at the same years and by the same
institutes as Rogun and Kambarata-2 projects.
international independent examination must confirm the safety of these
projects, as from the point of view of ecological and anthropogenic risks, and
preservation of volume and flow regime of Amydarya and Syrdarya.
many international ecological organizations and respected experts, including in
Europe, recommend, it would be much more rational to switch to construction
less dangerous, but more economical small hydropower stations to have on these
rivers the same energy power generating capacities.
conclusion, I would like to stress that taking into account the historical ties
among nations in the region, tremendous natural resources and human capital,
growing economic and geopolitical significance of Central Asia, our states will
continue cooperate, both in bilateral and multilateral levels.
you for your attention.
Participants of the round table
During the panel discussions
Ambassador Akbarov speaking
at the Navruz festival in Cambridge