Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbayev swear allegiance to Russia and ask water from it
This is the first time since disintegration of the Soviet Union that the president of Uzbekistan is on an official state visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan. The meeting between Islam Karimov and Nursultan Nazarbayev today was full of mutual praise and confident statements. The visitor said he could not complain of any "principal discord" with the host. The leader of Kazakhstan in his turn pronounced a new age in the relations between the two countries and suggested contemplation of the old idea of turning the Siberian rivers into Central Asia. Both presidents see the future of their countries only in close cooperation with Russia. A joint command post exercise is scheduled to take place in a month.
Uzbek media outlets report that the negotiations ended in the signing of a joint statement and provision on the International Coordinating Council under the patronage of the two presidents. The two governments in the meantime signed accords on mutual protection of sensitive information and on air traffic and tourism safety. The two sides also signed standard programs of economic cooperation in 2006-2010 and cultural cooperation in 2006-2008 and the protocol to the agreement on crossing points on the Kazakh-Uzbek state border.
"I'm happy to be able to say that 2006 became a year of breakthrough in the Kazakh-Uzbek relations in a broad spectrum of issues," Nazarbayev was quoted as saying at the joint press conference after the talks. "Islam Karimov is a friend of the Kazakh people. He is my friend who has been side by side with us all these difficult years of sovereignty." Karimov returned the compliment by saying that his every new meeting with Nazarbayev was "vital".
Nazarbayev considers the turn of Siberian rivers to Central Asia an easy matter. He said that he had already discussed it with the president of Russia. The Kazakh leader denounced all "populist slogans" [of the Soviet era - Ferghana.Ru] that the turn of the rivers to Central Asia was going to have a thoroughly negative and irreparable effect on ecology. Nazarbayev pointed out that "even Soviet specialists used to say that this grandiose project wouldn't even affect swamps on the Ob banks." "This water will cost money," Nazarbayev emphasized. "The matter deserves some serious consideration."
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will run a joint command post exercise this November. The two presidents also pledged to cooperate in the military-technical sphere.
"A special protocol will be signed on transport routes, on Uzbek shipments' access to the port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea coast, on railroads and highways," Nazarbayev said. "A treaty on establishment of a nuclear free zone in Central Asia is to be signed one of these days."
Relations with Russia
"Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan see their future with Russia. From this standpoint, the Eurasian Economic Cooperation is the organization that will keep us on this track. Nazarbayev and I confirm it," Karimov said.
"We have a lot of plans with regard to Russia. Russia is the anchor, the attracting force, the center around which we will ally within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Cooperation and promote our common interests with Russia's aid," Karimov added.