On July 19, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev took part in the First Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Central Asian countries.
The event, chaired by the Crown Prince, Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, was also attended by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani , Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Amir, Crown Prince of the State of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister of the Sultanate of Oman Sheikh Asa'ad bin Tariq Al Said, the Special Representative of the King of Bahrain Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and the Secretary General of the Council Jasem Mohamed Al Budaiwi.
According to the agenda, the issues of developing a constructive political dialogue, enhancing trade, economic and investment cooperation, and strengthening cultural and humanitarian ties were considered. There was an exchange of views on the current aspects of regional and international politics.
Following his speech, the President of Uzbekistan emphasized a deep historical connectivity of the peoples of Central Asia and the Gulf Region, which is based on close trade relations, common values, traditions, and the sacred religion of Islam.
The contribution of our outstanding scholars and scientists to the development of historical ties between Mawarannahr and the Arab Region was emphasized. One of them was the great theologian Imam al-Bukhari, also known as the “Sultan of all Muhaddiths”.
“We are proud that two of the six famous theologians of the Muslim world were born and raised in our region, and ancient Bukhara gained fame as “Kubbatul Islom” – “The Dome of Islam”. It is known that at the beginning of the 9th century, more than 200 scientists from Central Asia carried out their scientific activities at the Academy “House of Wisdom” in the capital of the Abbasid state. And such great scientists as Al-Khwarizmi, Ahmad Fergani, Abu Rayhan Beruni, and Ibn Sina created their invaluable scientific works in the beautiful Arabic language, becoming famous worldwide”, the President of Uzbekistan emphasized.
Describing the current situation, the Leader of Uzbekistan noted that, despite the present risks and challenges, both regions continue to be a space of peace, stability, and progress. The states of Central Asia and the Gulf are reliable and long-term partners.
It was satisfactorily noted that relations between Uzbekistan and the Gulf countries have recently risen to a qualitatively new level.
Considering this positive experience, it was proposed to expand practical interaction between the two regions in several priority areas.
In the political sphere, the Leader of Uzbekistan noted the importance of developing large-scale cooperation in various formats.
It was proposed to study the issue of developing a multilateral Agreement on Friendship, Regional Connectivity and Cooperation in order to bring the fraternal countries and peoples closer together.
The second direction is an interaction in high technologies and investments. The President of Uzbekistan noted the need for creating platforms and working mechanisms of cooperation in innovation, artificial intelligence, green economy, digitalization, smart agriculture, nano- and biotechnologies. An initiative was put forward to create a Joint Council of Investors with the participation of business representatives and to hold its first meeting in Samarkand.
“We are interested in the effective use of the potential of investment funds created in our region by partners and the expansion of the activities of the leading banks from the Gulf. Besides, I consider it is important to adopt a separate Action Plan for the joint implementation of projects in green energy”, the President of Uzbekistan said.
The third direction is the strengthening of trade and transport connectivity. The Leader of Uzbekistan emphasized the relevance of creating a free trade zone with the Gulf countries, harmonizing technical regulations, and developing electronic commerce. In this regard, it was proposed to work out the issue of signing a multilateral Trade Agreement.
In transport and transit, it was proposed to use favorable tariffs when using the Median Transport Corridor, the widespread use of existing multimodal routes, and an increase in direct flights using subsidy measures.
The President of Uzbekistan also called on the partners to actively participate in the strategic project for constructing the Trans-Afghan railway, which will connect the Gulf states with Central Asia along the shortest route.
The next important area is ecology and climate change. The importance of developing an International Research Program at the Central Asian University for the Study of Environment and Climate Change, which will be established in Uzbekistan, was noted.
The focus of the participants was drawn to the opportunities in tourism. It was proposed to create a single visa-free tourist space “Gulf – Central Asia”, modern clusters, and joint tourism products, as well as to hold a forum of leading tour operators of the two regions in the city of Khiva, which was declared the Tourist Capital of the Islamic World in 2024.
The issue of joint struggle within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation against cases of islamophobia observed in the world was touched upon.
In addition, the need for strengthening cooperation in the fight against terrorism, extremism, radicalism, and drug trafficking and protecting young people from the spread of these threats through the Internet and other channels was noted.
The President of Uzbekistan touched upon the issues of peace in Afghanistan.
“Our regions should be active and draw the attention of the entire world community to the problems of Afghanistan from high tribunes to make life easier for the Afghan people”, the President of Uzbekistan emphasized.
In conclusion, the President of Uzbekistan expressed confidence that the results of today’s historic summit will serve to bring the multifaceted relations between the regions of Central Asia and the Gulf to a completely new level.
Following the event, a Joint Statement was adopted.
The summit participants supported the proposal of the Republic of Uzbekistan to hold the next Summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council and Central Asian countries in Samarkand.