EU Delegation in Uzbekistan: ‘We welcome Uzbekistan opening to world’
On 4 May, Head of the EU Delegation in Uzbekistan, ambassador Eduards Stiprais addressed media representatives in Tashkent. No reports about which local and foreign media were present at the press conference. The office of the EU delegation in Tashkent has distributed only a press release with the full text of Mr Stiprais' speech, which is available on the link in Russian.
Ambassador Eduards Stiprais
The ambassador said that on 2 May 2017 he had had the honour to take part in the ceremony of presenting credentials to the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev together with the ambassadors of eight states, who recently started their work in the country. Addressing the diplomats present at the ceremony, the head of Uzbekistan noted some key aspects of Uzbekistan's relations with the EU. Particularly, Mr Stiprais remembered two theses of President Mirziyoyev.
‘First, the head of state called on the ambassadors to actively visit the regions, cities and villages of Uzbekistan in order to better understand the past and present of the country, to find out the people living today. Second, with the aim of achieving maximum effect in the development of cooperation between Uzbekistan and other countries, the President proposed holding quarterly meetings of foreign ambassadors with the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and other members of the government. Within the framework of the meetings, consultations current concerns and implementation of joint plans will be discussed. It seems to me that these words demonstrate Uzbekistan is determined to make the country more open to the outside world; inspire optimism that such an approach will give greater dynamism to EU cooperation with Uzbekistan,’ the head of the EU delegation said.
Answering journalists' questions, the ambassador provided commented on the statement of Uzbek Minister of Internal Affairs Abdusalom Azizov about many European countries grant refugee status to persons wanted for terrorism and extremism, ‘Sputnik’ reports.
During a recent briefing, Minister of Internal Affairs Abdusalom Azizov, responding to journalists' questions about the participation of citizens in a series of recent terrorist attacks in Europe, said that the relevant authorities of the country transmit all the necessary information to their European counterparts about persons who are dangerous to society and who are wanted. But for some reason, he said, there are cases when these persons pass in Europe as refugees.
Eduards Stiprais said that Europe does not harbour terrorists. According to Mr Stiprais, this problem has two sides. The first is related to internal acts regulating the stay of these persons in the territory of the EU countries. ‘Of course, we can say that in some cases they are under some kind of protection. In some cases, the perpetrator of the terrorist act was subject to deportation, but for various subjective and objective reasons the deportation was not carried out on time.’
At the same time, he stressed that there is no some kind of harbouring of terrorists in general. Speaking about the other side of this problem, Eduards Stiprais complained about Uzbek law enforcement agencies sometimes abuse labelling persons not involved in terrorist activities. As he said, this happened in previous years. ‘Over the past few years, in many cases, information transmitted by Uzbek authorities has been treated with a certain degree of scepticism. I think, perhaps, some changes will occur including in the assessment of information, but we expect that the Uzbek side will provide information fully justified,’ the ambassador added.
Answering one of the questions on the economy, Mr Stiprais said that the existing foreign exchange policy of Uzbekistan largely inhibits the attraction of foreign direct investment. ‘This is one of those issues that, as far as I understand, the government of Uzbekistan is actively deciding,’ said Mr Stiprais.
According to him, the adopted strategy for the five priority development directions of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021 will be a very strong signal for foreign investors, as the document notes the introduction of market-based instruments of currency regulation. ‘Investments go where conditions for doing business are attractive, that is, investments do not go where there is no opportunity to earn. In the end, there should be an opportunity to withdraw the earned money from the country where you earned it,’ the ambassador of the ‘Podrobno.Uz’ quotes.