Celebration of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom
The Embassy of Uzbekistan in London and the British-Uzbek Society (BUS) hosted an official reception at The Travellers Club dedicated to the 20th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom. The event was attended by representatives of the British Parliament, FCO, Ministry of Defence, academic and business circles, as well as members of BUS Executive Committee.
In his speech, Ambassador of Uzbekistan HE Mr. Otabek Akbarov informed the guests about the historical ties between the Uzbek and British peoples, main results of the development of diplomatic relations during 20 years in political, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres. He underlined the importance of the visit of President of Uzbekistan HE Mr. Islam Karimov to the UK in November 1993, when the political and legislative foundation of bilateral relations was laid, as well as the new dynamics in our cooperation in recent years. He noted the willingness of Uzbekistan for closer cooperation with Britain in all directions, including the implementation of the President’s Concept of further deepening of democratic reforms and formation of civil society and the State Program “2012 - Year of family”.
BUS Chairman Dr. Hartley Booth OBE in his speech said that he was very proud that he had contributed and is still doing so to the development of bilateral trade, economic and cultural relations with Uzbekistan. He read congratulatory messages from Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Uzbekistan HE Mr. Rupert Joy, as well as former British ambassadors to our country Mrs. Barbara Hay and Mr. David Moran.
In particular, in his message Ambassador R.Joy noted that despite its long history and rich culture, Uzbekistan is a young country, which has built its identity as an independent nation in an often unstable neighbourhood. He stressed that the UK Secretary of Defence’s visit to Uzbekistan in late February of this year sends a strong signal of HMG’s readiness to take bilateral relationship to a higher level.
Mrs. B.Hay noted that she had absolutely vivid memories of living and working in Uzbekistan. She loved being accredited in Uzbekistan as the 2nd British Ambassador. “I would like to think that the links I helped establish have continued and flourished and that I might return one day to see friends and drink tea with in the shade of the wonderful Chinar trees”. Mr. D.Moran, wishing the people of Uzbekistan successful and prosperous future, said that he “always would remember the generous Uzbek hospitality when he traveled around that beautiful and historic country”.
In his speech, Member of the British Parliament from the Conservative Party, Member of the Board of Directors of the “Tethys Petroleum” the Rt. Hon. Peter Lilley noted a significant expansion of the range of people and organizations in the UK interested in cooperation with Uzbekistan. He stressed that our two countries were important to each other.
According to him, the Central Asian region is attractive to Britain for three reasons: 1) geopolitical position between the superpowers (China, India, Russia and the EU); 2) key role in rebuilding a stable Afghanistan; 3) potentially significant market for exports and opportunities for investors.
In this context, MP highlighted the role of Uzbekistan as a country of crucial importance. He drew attention to the advantages of our country, such as the largest population, the most diversified economy, educated and skilled workforce. He emphasized that “Uzbekistan is the most independent from its neighbors, politically stable and a robust opponent of extremism”. The MP also highlighted the advantages of Britain, which remains one of the largest investors abroad, and leader in the fields of trade and services.
Mr. P.Lilley shared his vision of the historical factors that influenced the level of economic relations between Uzbekistan and the EU in general, and Britain in particular. He also noted the existence of objective differences between the two countries, in particular, in history, geography, climate, cultures, religions, political and economic systems. At the same time, he said that “we have all the more to learn from each other”.
In this regard, he called for raising awareness about the opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation, available in two countries, opening up EU markets to goods from the Central Asian countries, as well as encouraging direct investment by UK and other EU companies in Central Asia.
BUS President Lord Fred Ponsonby congratulated all the participants on the anniversary of diplomatic relations and stressed the current positive dynamics of bilateral cooperation in all fields. He said that as President of the Society, he would continue to make every effort to develop and strengthen friendly relations between our countries.
Ambassador HE Mr. Otabek Akbarov
welcomes the guests
Dr. Hartley Booth OBE makes a speech
The Rt. Hon Peter Lilley addresses the guests
Lord Fred Ponsonby congratulates the guests
Prof. Siddharth Saxena, Peter Lilley MP
and Ambassador Akbarov
Dr Hartley Booth OBE and Lord Waverley
Ambassador Akbarov, Baroness Stern
and Bota Hopkinson
with representatives from FCO and MoD
Mrs. Diane McKelvey and Prof. Siddharth Saxena
Madame Nakako Watanabe and Dr. Shirin Akiner
Ms. Josephine Melville and Mr. Paul Sawyer
Prof. Siddharth Saxena and Mr. Djakhongir Irgashev