Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan sign joint statement

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan Presidents signed a joint statement on strengthening contacts and coordinating joint efforts in international and regional organizations.

The sides expressed readiness to render mutual support within the UN and other international organizations.

Uzbek and Kazakh presidents affirmed gradual development of cooperation within multilateral organizations will help to strengthen stability at the regional and international levels.

Nazarbaev stated that it submitted application to International Exhibition Bureau to receive right to host International specialized exhibition Expo-2017 in Astana. Karimov expressed support to candidacy of Astana to host Expo-2017.

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The sides will promote practical interaction in politics, economic and other spheres within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to deepen good neighborhood, friendly and partnership relations among member states, expanding opportunities of the SCO to fight modern challenges and threats.
President of Uzbekistan sounds warning over Central Asia water disputes

A dispute over Central Asian water resources risks provoking military conflict in the former Soviet region, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said on Friday, in a stinging criticism of plans by neighboring states to dam rivers for hydropower projects, reported Reuters.

Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous country, depends on the rivers that rise in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to irrigate farmland. It has long been opposed to its neighbors’ plans to revive colossal Soviet-era projects to build dams upstream.

«Water resources could become a problem in the future that could escalate tensions not only in our region, but on every continent,» Karimov told reporters in the Kazakh capital Astana.

«I won’t name specific countries, but all of this could deteriorate to the point where not just serious confrontation, but even wars could be the result.»

Karimov was particularly scathing of Tajikistan’s flagship Rogun dam, a $2.2 billion project frozen pending completion of a World Bank assessment. At 335 meters, Rogun would be the highest man-made dam in the world.

«They’re going for the Guinness world record, it would seem, but we’re talking here about the lives of millions of people who cannot live without water,» Karimov said.

«These projects were devised in the 70s and 80s, when we were all living in the Soviet Union and suffering from megalomania, but times change,» said Karimov. «Hydropower structures today should be built on a different basis entirely.»

Karimov was visiting Astana to drum up support from Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, another veteran Central Asian leader who, in 2010, expressed support for the resurrecting of a Soviet scheme to divert Siberia’s rivers southward.

«Kazakhs and Uzbeks have lived for many centuries along the lower reaches of the Syr-Darya river,» Karimov said, referring to one of the region’s biggest rivers. «For that reason, we cannot remain silent.»

Nazarbaev was more restrained. «We send brotherly greetings to our neighbors upriver (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), a reminder that we downriver — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan — are feeling the water shortage ... We hope to resolve these issues together.»

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a statement dated September 5, urged Central Asian countries to negotiate on water management and said the World Bank report on Rogun would provide «informed guidance» for a decision on the Tajik project.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said in a separate statement on September 4 that any major infrastructure project should be undertaken only if supported by credible, independent studies.
Sergey Lavrov in Astana

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will take part in the meeting of foreign ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on September 12, dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the forum, Information Department of the Foreign Ministry of Russia reported.

«In the free discussion ministers will consider the status and prospects of the CICA and modalities for taking the dialogue process. Sides will exchange views on topical subjects such as the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the situation in Afghanistan and Iran, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime, as well as expansion of economic cooperation. Results of the discussion will be reflected in the final declaration,» said in a statement.

CICA confirmed a useful mechanism for dialogue on issues of peace, stability and confidence in order to improve security and cooperation architecture in Asia.

CICA was established on the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan to promote dialogue between the forum and the development of practical confidence-building measures in the field of politics, security and economy.

CICA includes: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Republic of Korea. Have observer status in United States, Japan, Ukraine, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Bangladesh, the Philippines, the United Nations, the Arab League and the OSCE.
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