Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev has made a plea for "a sustainable model of regional cooperation" in his address to the opening of the annual meeting of the EBRD Board of Governors in the Uzbek capital.
Speaking at the session, broadcast live on Uzbek TV, he said: "Dear Mrs [Clare] Short [British secretary of state for international development, chairing the meeting], dear Mr [Jean] Lemierre [EBRD president], dear members of the Board of Governors, dear participants in the business forum, let me express my sincere gratitude to Uzbek President Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov and President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Mr Jean Lemierre for the invitation to take part in the [12th] annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the European bank and in the business forum connected with it.
"Welcoming the decision of the EBRD leadership to hold such an important event in the Uzbek capital [Tashkent], we regard it as evidence of the growing interest of this authoritative organization in the huge human, industrial and investment potential of the Central Asian states.
"Kyrgyzstan highly rates the EBRD's multilateral activity aimed at assisting the formation of market relations in Central Asia. At present, the EBRD is the most important strategic partner for Kyrgyzstan, with the assistance of which we are solving strategic tasks connected to developing the private sector of our economy.
"Dear ladies and gentlemen, from the first days of its independence, Kyrgyzstan has attached exceptional importance to the development of regional cooperation in its all dimensions. We are convinced that the integration processes in the region have no alternative. One of the main priorities for Central Asia must be the formation of a sustainable model of regional cooperation which we consider a key trend to ensure stability, strengthen mutual understanding in the region and achieve real results in the integration processes.
"The creation of a free trade system between the region's countries, without any restrictions, remains a priority. I am convinced that we have unique advantages for this which lie in common transport communications, mutually-complementary production and a common power engineering network. We are sure that an understanding of the need to strengthen the integration processes will gradually prevail.
"Kyrgyzstan, for its part, is ready to undertake everything necessary for this, and our initiative to hold the second Central Asian economic forum which is due to start the day after tomorrow [6 May] in the ancient town of Osh [administrative centre of southern Osh Region] located on the Great Silk Road, testifies to this. We hope that this forum will contribute to the intensification of regional cooperation in Central Asia in such areas as the development of transport and information communications, small and medium-sized businesses, power engineering and water use, tourism and the attraction of investment, and will also help to eliminate issues and obstacles in this way.
"Dear ladies and gentlemen, to step up seeking ways of intensifying regional integration, I would like to submit a proposal to the Board of Governors of the EBRD - to develop, above all, a comprehensive basis for the development of Central Asia jointly with interested international financial institutions. I believe that it is this comprehensive approach to the development of the Central Asian region which will enable us to reveal priority regional projects and solve problems which require joint efforts, above all related to - as most speeches have put it so well - sustainable human development and overcoming poverty in our countries and the countries in the region. In conclusion, I would like to wish all the participants in the meeting and business forum fruitful work. Thank you for your attention."
Gazeta SNG http://eng.gazetasng.ru/, May 06, 2003