On July 16, the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities" began its work in Tashkent.
The conference is attended by the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the ministers of foreign affairs of the countries of Central and South Asia, delegations of 44 countries and about 30 international organizations, heads of authoritative research and analytical centers.
In his welcoming speech, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev stressed the historical proximity of the regions of Central and South Asia, the importance of strengthening it today on the basis of mutual trust and consideration of interests.
In his speech, the head of our state stressed the importance of reviving historical ties and combining efforts.
- Today the world has entered the era of global geopolitical transformations, which bring both challenges and new opportunities.
In these conditions, the revival of mutual ties between Central and South Asia, where about two billion people live today, is becoming an even more demanded and objective process. I think that the time has come, based on the huge historical, scientific, spiritual and cultural heritage of our peoples, the complementarity of economies, the availability of intellectual potential, to consolidate our joint efforts, which will undoubtedly give a powerful synergy effect, '' Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.
The head of state paid special attention to the issue of building a transport and logistics infrastructure that will effectively and safely connect Central Asia and South Asia. The Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway is becoming a key element of the entire architecture of the interconnectedness of our regions, the construction project already received wide support, including from leading international financial institutions. The construction of this railway will make it possible to fully realize the transit potential of the two regions, form the shortest route and significantly reduce the time and costs for the transportation of goods.
All over the world, the urgency of the problem of ensuring food security is growing. In this regard, the President proposed, under the auspices of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, to hold a meeting of regional agriculture ministers to develop a joint program of measures.
The importance of environmental protection and the development of a "green" economy was emphasized.
Expansion of scientific, cultural and humanitarian exchanges plays an important role in strengthening friendship and trust. In this regard, it was proposed to hold an international forum on the historical heritage of Central and South Asia under the auspices of UNESCO in Termez.
The head of our state paid special attention to cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation. He stressed the importance of stimulating joint research and exchange programs, as well as introducing a simplified visa regime for scientists and researchers.
As you know, on the eve of this conference, the International Institute of Central Asia opened in Tashkent. The President proposed to create an expert group on the development of regional cooperation on the basis of this analytical center.
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Imran Khan, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell spoke about the prospects for cooperation in the region and the importance of this forum.
The conference continues. The plenary and breakout sessions of the forum will discuss opportunities and initiatives aimed at further strengthening regional connectivity in the trade, economic, transport and communication, cultural and humanitarian spheres.
As a result of the conference, it is planned to develop a special draft resolution, which will be submitted for consideration by the UN General Assembly.