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20 Apr, 2010 12:02

Russian and Uzbek leaders talk security, co-operation, trade

The Russian President and his Uzbek counterpart are looking to secure stability in Central Asia. Dmitry Medvedev and Islam Karimov have discussed issues of mutual importance at their meeting in the Kremlin on Tuesday.

One of the main issues discussed at the talk is economic co-operation between the countries, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a joint press conference following the meeting.

”We have every reason to believe that we can increase trade turnover between Russia and Uzbekistan and fill it with new substance, new trade deals, new projects,” he said.

The Russian leader pointed out that diversification of the economic co-operation between the countries is the key.

”In the Uzbek market we have a number of major Russian companies, such as Lukoil and Gazprom, Aeroflot, MTS and others,” Medvedev said.

“We have also started working in many other areas like energy, aircraft manufacturing, engineering, chemical processing, telecommunications and transport infrastructure. In all of these areas we will continue our co-operation,” he added.

The presidents have also discussed the situation in Kyrgyzstan and expressed hope that legitimate government will be established in the country.

”It is essential to rebuild the state now. At present there is no state, it has been deposed. So we hope that the provisional leadership of Kyrgyzstan will take all the necessary measures [to tackle the situation], as anarchy will have a negative effect on the interests of the Kyrgyz people and also their neighbors.”

He noted that Russia will be ready for economic co-operation with Kyrgyzstan only after legitimate government institutions are created there.

"Russia has extended humanitarian assistance to Kyrgyzstan, but full-fledged economic co-operation will be possible only after the proper institutions of power have been created," Medvedev said. "Uzbekistan's president shares this view.”

The Russian president indicated that the sides also discussed co-operation in fighting terrorism, criminal activities and drug trafficking.

As a result of the meeting the sides have signed a number of bilateral agreements, which included the intergovernmental program for co-operation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres for 2010-2012 and a memorandum of understanding between the governments on implementing a plan for military-technical cooperation for 2010-2012.

Uzbekistan remains a key player in the Collective Security Treaty Organization, whose main goal is to maintain stability in the post-Soviet space.

Karimov's visit to Moscow comes just two weeks after a violent uprising in neighboring Kyrgyzstan ousted its leader.