Uzbek president speaks on Afghan peace talks, Uzbek export to Russia

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov believes that instability in Afghanistan may gradually spread to other countries of the Central Asia region and that Russia should be involved in peace talks in Afghanistan.

“Russia has always had its vital interests in this region. We in Uzbekistan not only recognize but consider it necessary that Russia should participate [in Afghan peace process]. I consider any attempts to resolve the Afghan problem without Russia as absolutely poorly thought-out and hasty decisions,” Karimov said after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on April 26.

Karimov said that the renewal of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban is important for the entire region.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States have been unsuccessfully trying to revive peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban in recent months.

Karimov also raised the issue of Uzbek fruit and vegetables export to Russia as a substitution to Turkish imports to Russia after Moscow introduced sanctions on Turkey.

“Uzbekistan plans to increase fruit and vegetable production up to 4.5 million tons in 2016. And we are able not only to meet Russia’s demand for certain types [of fruit and vegetables], should it be organized on a long-term basis,” Karimov said.   

The Uzbek president said that he had agreed with Putin to give a new look to this issue. Karimov said it is necessary to establish an organization that would determine for at least five years in advance the need of Russian regions, especially Siberia, for fresh fruit and vegetables from Uzbekistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA