Ashgabat, 21 November 2004 (nCa) --- Presidents Niyazov and Karimov met in Bukhara 19 November 2004. After tête-à-tête they
moved to the main conference room where they continued talks in expanded bilateral format. Here is the transcript of the tape
of their talks in the conference room:
Dear Saparmurat Atayevich [Niyazov], Dear Turkmen friends - It is a great pleasure to welcome and meet you in Bukhara.
Our meeting here symbolizes our deep relations, going back to centuries, between our brotherly nations, our brotherly countries.
This meeting in Bukhara is a logical and natural one in our relations and, no doubt, it will begin a new era in our dynamic
ties and relations. This will serve the interests of our people, the use of enormous potentials of states.
Turkmenistan has had great success under your leadership, Saparmurat Atayevich. During the years of independence Turkmenistan
has developed in state, public spheres, also in spiritual revival, keeping peace, stability and well being in the country.
All these achievements make us - your friends and close neighbours of independent and neutral Turkmenistan - happy [that Turkmenistan]
reached all these heights by its own sources, using the rich potential in a short period of history.
Dear Saparmurat Atayevich, We consider your present visit a good opportunity to discuss all the issues [in bilateral relations]
at the top level between Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. We will also discuss issues of regional and global nature that we face
I am sure our present relations will enable us to discuss the issues from a common point of view, demonstrating friendship,
mutual trust, and good neighbourliness.
Our meeting is in the centre of attention of the world community as well because stability in Central Asia depends as
a whole on our relations and on the decisions on economic and commercial and other issues [that we may take here today].
Dear friends, in the talks held a moment ago in private, we discussed with Saparmurat Atayevich openly and in detail a
whole bunch of issues related to Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan relations that are vitally important for both sides. [We also discussed]
regional security and stability.
Development of events in Central Asia reflects contradictory processes: international terrorism, extremism, narco-traffic,
these are problems that concern all the states in the region. Objective truth of the present period is that we cannot face
these problems, these challenges, alone. We must cooperate to prevent these threats. We support the initiative of Turkmenistan
about active involvement of the United Nations in the regional problems. Moreover, the actions of the regional countries can
be coordinated in the framework of the UN and other international bodies.
At present, in our struggle against terrorism, it is very important to oppose the extremist ideology that spoils the spiritual
development of our youth and leads to their involvement in terrorist groups.
Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are home to great thinkers and this fact should play its positive role in opposing extremist
The situation in the region and in the world creates the need for political dialogue and to unite our efforts in future
on all issues that concern us.
We have to revive interstate commission bilateral relations. We haven't had a meeting of this commission for a long time
and it is necessary to convene its session in the nearest future.
Dear friends, Dear Saparmurat Atayevich; To deepen our relations we already have about 100 inter-state and inter-branch
agreements. Today we would sign three documents here. They are being signed at the level of the heads of the state. We have
reciprocal desire to strengthen mutual trust, respect, independence, and sovereignty. The neutral status of Turkmenistan provides
stability to the entire region. Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have a good saying: Your next-door neighbour is better than your
distant relative. The two countries share a long border, more than 2000 kilometers.
Most important perspective talks are to open trading centers in border areas, deepening of interaction in customs house
organs, to provide water to the farms in the bordering areas without interruptions to the bordering areas of our countries.
We are pleased with the trade turnover between our two countries. In 2002, it was US $ 70 million and during the 9 months
of the current year it has already reached US $ 140 million.
Transit of cargo is very important. During the 8 months [of this year] Turkmenistan exported through Uzbekistan 1.3 million
tons of cargo. During the same period 2 million tons of Uzbek cargo passed through Turkmen territory. Taking into account
the existing potential of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, we can develop these relations.
In this connection I want to recall the Serakhs (Turkmenistan) meeting with Saparmurat Atayevich where heads of many states
were present. At that time I didn't know the real value of this railway line [connecting Central Asia with Iran]. Serakhs
connects Turkmenistan and the whole of Central Asia with Iran. After a while I got to know its importance much better. This
is thanks to your farsighted understanding of the cooperation between our states. Connection with Indian Ocean and Arab states
plays a great role in our relations.
We should be interested in decreasing the negative impact of the Aral Sea. It is our common pain, our common problem.
We have to solve this issue ourselves as no one would come to help us solve it. We have had enough experience with many people
who come to hold seminars and speeches about the Aral, lots of meetings, but they were of little use for us. Japan is the
only one that helps us. Japan is the only country that helps Uzbekistan in this sphere; maybe they help you too. But all the
rest, especially the World Bank, and others, have become ineffective in this sphere.
We have cooperation in humanitarian side: In Uzbekistan one national and five regional culture centers of ethnic Turkmens
[are working]. In 45 schools of Uzbekistan we have Turkmen language classes; in all, 14000 children are going to these schools.
In Bukhara Turkmen children have these classes, some of them were here in the [reception] ceremony today. They are expecting
good results from today's talks. If we tell them that cooperation of our nations is our priority, they would feel support
of the state.
This meeting would be an important event in our relations. It will promote the expansion of good neighbourliness, equality,
mutually beneficial relations of our two countries.
Dear Islam Abdulganiyevich [Karimov] - I have nothing to add to what you have said. I agree with your comments and proposals.
I want to thank you for the warm words, for the invitation to Bukhara to strengthen our ties in all spheres of economy, culture,
and security. This [meeting] serves the interests of Uzbek people and Turkmen people. In Turkmenistan we support these proposals.
I want to say that we highly appreciate the hardworking Uzbek people, their contribution toward the work carried our here
on cooperation and promotion of friendship between our people.
I know Islam Abdulganiyevich since 1985, 19 years already. During this period we have implemented good projects; we have
had wonderful cooperation. There were periods of stagnancy also depending on the changing situation in the region.
We began our work [cooperation] before the disintegration of USSR. At that time we were criticized. We were helpful and
supportive to each other all the time.
After the beak-up of the Soviet Union we were left alone with out ideas and thoughts. People with economic, political
and cultural ties were cut off [from each other] because of difficulties [created by dissolution of USSR]. People of Central
Asia were not to blame for this. These problems arose from subjective and objective conditions created by the break up of
USSR. During this period Islam Abdulganiyevich and I headed our states; we worked, in some areas we met with success, at others
we were not quite successful.
Every state chose its own way of political, economic, cultural reforms. During this time coordination with the neighbours,
with CIS countries [was perceived differently by each]. Many realized later how CIS was organized then. How it worked and
acted as a centre [probably a synonym for Kremlin]. We had these experiences. We learned a lot during that period and now
we can manage better with out tasks.
In recent years - after 2002 - we strengthened as independent states in political orientation, economic and social development.
Not all the states had equal potential, especially in the energy resources, directly deciding economic development, but Uzbekistan
and Turkmenistan have these [energy resources] at present, [these resources] provide development [potential] for these states.
This is a positive factor in our development.
During this period we signed many agreements - about 100 on policy, economy, culture between our countries. They worked
for the benefit of the people. In Turkmenistan we appreciate Uzbekistan greatly as a good neighbour, friend, hard working
people. One can learn much from Uzbekistan. Cooperation can be fruitful between the two states.
We will have more political consultations, social life, without any damage to any side, any nation. During the years of
independence we want to strengthen friendship in the region as a whole. Every year in the capital of each republic we can
get together to exchange opinions. It would be consultative meeting of the heads of state of the Central Asian countries in
order to foster ties among us permanently; no political obligations during these meetings; the five presidents can meet, each
would express ideas and wishes and exchange views on cooperation. These non-obligatory meetings would be useful annually.
Our heads would find ways of further cooperation.
I fully support your proposal to expand the role of the United Nations, OSCE, and other regional organizations. As we
noted during the talks, this would meet our aims stated in the agreement.
Our three new agreements would distinctly regulate our relations especially in border areas - three regions and Karakalpak
autonomous republic on your side and two provinces, Doshoguz and Lebap, in Turkmenistan.
There may be some small problems in trade, crossing of the borders, [movement of] contraband; all these create mistrust
among the heads [of state]. Now we have prepared good agreements. The relations are regularized in them, property matters
are also considered. For instance, Karshi canal and others. We are ready to form seasonal working groups of water economy
ministry and your specialists so that they can observe the use of water everywhere along the borders. Each side should follow
the rules agreed upon. Every year, representative of one side will be the leader. This small commission will regulate the
use of water. We have addressed major problems in this sphere. On our side agriculture minister and deputy prime minister
will be responsible for the commission. They will register water use and give recommendations.
Issues of border trading - we are ready, within 4-5 months, to open border trading posts and markets, to sell petrol and
gas on international prices in accordance with our laws. This will prevent violation of laws. A petrol depot would be built
in the Farab region. Gurbanmuradov [Turkmen deputy prime minister] in my administration would be responsible. We sell oil
products at two places on the Afghan border; we can do the same with Uzbekistan too. Liquefied gas can also be sold in these
centers. This would be mutually beneficial.
Selling of oil as contraband item happens because of [huge] difference in prices. International prices are all right for
Our textile is of good quality and in great demand in many countries. Natural gas, if necessary, can be sold. We can sign
the agreements [about these issues].
Thank you for the invitation. Success to our brotherly Uzbek people.
Saparmurat Atayevich - I am sure our questions would be resolved when the documents are signed.
Islam Abdulganiyevich - Implementation of agreements would improve our relations.
[Signing of agreements]
Translated and published at www.newscentralasia.com