At UN, Uzbekistan president outlines his policy for the country and Central Asia region

Uzbekistan’s President-elect Shavkat Mirziyaev (official photo)

TASHKENT (TCA) — In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev pledged to focus his government on bringing greater prosperity and human rights to his country and the Central Asia region, RFE/RL reported.

The Uzbek leader said his goal of improving the living conditions of citizens is what led him this month to allow the free float of the Uzbek currency while also reducing business taxes, expanding loans to businesses, and establishing free economic zones.

“We proceed from one simple truth: the richer the people are, the stronger shall be the state,” Mirziyoyev said in an English language translation of his remarks provided on the UN website.

Mirziyoyev said his government will work to create “a peaceful and economically prosperous Central Asia” that will be “a zone of stability, sustainable development, and good-neighborliness.”

He called the border treaty between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan signed earlier this month a “breakthrough” and “truly landmark event” that will help to achieve his larger goals for the region.

“In a word, an absolutely new political atmosphere was created in the region in a short period of time,” he said.

Mirziyoyev said that another step to foster greater stability in the region is supporting efforts to start peace negotiations in Afghanistan.

He said Uzbekistan will continue to contribute to the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan’s transport and energy infrastructure that has been devastated during nearly 16 years of war.

On the issue of human rights, where Uzbekistan continues to get criticism from UN bodies and human rights groups, Mirziyoyev claimed to have made progress during his first months in office.

He said his goal is to build “a democratic state and a just society” where “human interests come first.”

“We are deeply convinced that people must not serve the government bodies, rather government bodies must serve the people,” he said.

Mirziyoyev also claimed to be making progress on abolishing child labor and forced labor and achieving an “independent judiciary,” and said he wants to reform the prison system.

People who were imprisoned because of extremist activities are “undergoing a social rehabilitation” aimed at allowing them to “return to a normal life,” he said.

Part of the education effort should be “communicating the truly humanistic essence of Islam” both to young people and the world at large, where intolerance of Muslims is growing, the Uzbek president said.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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