Objectives of Uzbekistan's foreign policy course

 September 31, 1991, the day when our independence was officially proclaimed, came as an initial point of Uzbekistan's full-scale integration into the world community. In 1991 the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan consisted of only 10 employees who fulfilled only protocol and representative functions and accompanied foreign guests while the latter visited historic and cultural places in Uzbekistan.

During the organization of our Foreign Ministry and formation of our independent foreign policy we were guided by the centuries-old experience of Uzbek diplomacy. Uzbek statehood in its heyday during the reign of Timur was characterized by active political and trade relations with China, India, Egypt, Spain, France and other European and Asian countries.

Thanks to Timur's diplomatic efforts Europe and Asia started to be perceived as a unique geopolitical space for the first time in Medieval international relations.

After gaining its sovereignty Uzbekistan has gained an opportunity to independently conduct its foreign policy. It was based on the following standard principles: priority of national interests of the state and norms of international law, non-interference to internal affairs of other states, resolution of all disputes in peaceful manner.

The decision-making in internal and foreign affairs of Uzbekistan had taken place not only in a complex transitional conditions but also in an uneasy international situation. On the boundaries of the XX and the XXI centuries, after the end of "Cold War " and the collapse of the USSR, the process of formation of a new system of the international relations have begun. Thus, common interests and deep contradictions, tendencies not only for cooperation but also for rivalry have been developed. The world community came across with new threats and challenges to security - international terrorism and drug-trafficking, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime.

"Preventive diplomacy", formed under the guidance of the President Islam Karimov became a peculiar feature of Uzbek diplomacy. It is directed towards timely prevention of escalation of tension and elimination of conflict situations.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has made timely and repeated calls to the world community to resolve the Afghan problem, to fight terrorism, extremism and narco-agression, to create a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in Central Asia.

Independence of Uzbekistan and aspiration of the Uzbek people to build its own future found support in the world community.

Reforms which are being conducted in Uzbekistan are largely supported by international organizations, foreign countries, international business and financial institutions which are cooperating actively with Uzbekistan.

Establishment of relations with many countries on the principles of equal rights and mutual understanding helps Uzbekistan to be integrated into the world community, and realize international political, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation.

Enhancement and development of relations with neighboring countries is one of the most important foreign policy priorities of Uzbekistan. Further intensification of regional cooperation is a vitally important condition of peace, stability and prosperity in Central Asia. Special attention is paid to the constructive cooperation within the framework of the Central Asian Cooperation Organization.

Developing dynamically and gradually its relations with the countries of the West, Asia-Pacific, South-East and South Asia, Uzbekistan aspires to make these relations more substantial.

Based upon the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (1996) between Uzbekistan and the European Union, our country intensifies a political dialogue and trade relations with the EU.

Cooperation with the CIS countries has not lost its actuality. Countries can coordinate their positions for the realization of both common and specific national interests on bilateral and multilateral bases within the framework of this cooperation.

After the proclamation of its independence, Uzbekistan gained an opportunity to establish direct contacts with Islamic countries of Asia, Near and Middle East, the countries that are close to Uzbekistan spiritually, culturally and traditionally. Development of political, economic and cultural relations with these countries has a positive dynamics.

The cooperation aimed at preservation of regional and global peace and stability is one of the main priorities of Uzbekistan's foreign policy. Based on the principle of indivisibility of security Uzbekistan came out and will do so in favor of the intensification of the role of international institutions such as the UN, OSCE, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Central Asian Cooperation Organization to ensure stability and security in Central Asia.

Recently Central Asia as well as the whole world community has faced the threats and challenges of international terrorist organizations, drug-traffickers and different extremist forces. Considering this problem Uzbekistan is eager to cooperate on the field of regional and global security. The Shanghai Organization of Cooperation is a vivid example to this cooperation.

As a result of the counter-terrorist campaign led by the U.S. threats to Central Asian security coming from this region have largely decreased. A positive tendency towards stability in Central Asia can be observed. Taking the side of new Afghan leader Hamid Karzai, Uzbekistan will further help Afghan people in their return to peaceful existence. Inviting Afghanistan to the Central Asian Cooperation Organization we were trying to involve this indispensable part of Central Asia into regional processes. This will have its positive effects on post-conflict rehabilitation of Afghanistan.

Geographic isolation of Central Asia causes serious problems for our countries. In this respect Uzbekistan will continue its efforts towards "disenclavization" of Central Asia by means of creating alternative transport and communication corridors. Trans-afghan route is one of the most prospective projects leading to sea communications of India.

Realization of this project with other interested countries and donor-states and international financial institutions will help not only to countries' development but also will change extensively the geo-economic map of Central Asia.