30 Mar 2018 10:19

Fergana meeting on cross-border cooperation with Uzbekistan successful - Kyrgyz PM

FERGANA. March 30 (Interfax) - The participants in the first meeting of the council of the heads of the border regions of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan held in Fergana found solutions to almost all of the issues on the agenda, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov said after the meeting on Thursday.

"We are leaving with peace of mind because solutions have been found to the issues we came here with," Isakov said.

"Issues concerning border cooperation play a special role in our bilateral relations. There are loads of such issues, economic issues, which we have to deal with," he said.

At the meeting, which lasted six hours instead of the two originally planned, sides discussed broadening trade and economic cooperation, including ways to simplify cross-border trade, develop cooperation between the two countries' border regions, tackle security issues, and promote contacts between law enforcement agencies, an Interfax correspondent said.

Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, for his part, said that the Kyrgyz and Uzbek delegations "worked very productively today, discussed all of the matters of interest, and reached a consensus on most of them."

"I have to say that there are no issues between us that cannot be solved. The only things that are needed are mutual understanding, trust, and the ability to listen to each other," he said.

"The speeches delivered by the heads of our border regions showed just how enormous our untapped potential is," Aripov said.

"There are all of the necessary conditions and prerequisites today to promote mutually advantageous and long-term cooperation [...] We are open to deepening our strategic partnership relations with Kyrgyzstan even further and stand ready to make every effort to make this cooperation even more effective," the Uzbek prime minister said.

The participants in the meeting also signed a protocol and agreed to hold the council's next meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

The council was established under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries' governments during Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's state visit to Bishkek on September 5-6, 2017.

The council's objectives include promoting interregional contacts and developing cooperation between the two countries' border regions.

It was the Kyrgyz and Uzbek prime ministers' first meeting in this format.