October 6, 2022

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President Raisi visits Uzbekistan to attend SCO summit

TEHRAN— At the official invitation of his Uzbek counterpart, Iran’s President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday left for Samarkand in Uzbekistan for an official bilateral meeting and to participate in the 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Raisi is accompanied by high-ranking political and economic officials.

The President was seen off by Mohsen Qomi, the deputy chief of the Office of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution for International Affairs, Mohammad Mokhber, his First Vice President, and a group of cabinet members.

Raisi was officially welcomed by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan. The two held a joint meeting of high-ranking delegations, signing 17 cooperation documents in the presence of the two presidents. Later, the two presidents held a private meeting.

During the meeting, the Iranian president said despite severe sanctions imposed on Iran, Tehran has made great progress in these years. 

“The nation turned threats into opportunities with determination. Today we are making progress in various fields and many capacities have been created in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Raisi underlined.

The president added that Uzbekistan’s progress is considered as Iran’s, stating, “We do not see any obstacles for the development of relations between the two countries, and there is readiness on our side. Bilateral relations in the field of commercial exchange, transit and transportation are other areas where we can increase the level of cooperation.”

The Iranian president told Mirziyoyev that Tehran is ready to have good cooperation in the field of energy, considering the facilities that exist in Iran.

Referring to the conversation between the Iranian oil minister and Uzbek energy minister and the signing of a memorandum of understanding, Raisi expressed hope that good steps will be taken to develop relations in the field of energy. 

“The signing of documents is a good manifestation of the will of the two countries to develop relations in various fields,” Raisi underscored.

He then emphasized the will that exists at the level of the leaders of the two countries to develop ties, expressing hope that the level of trade relations between Tehran and Tashkent would increase from the current 500 million dollars to three times more.
The president then informed his Uzbek counterpart about Iran’s readiness to export technical and engineering services and develop cooperation between the two countries. 

In the continuation of his trip, Raisi will also address the 22nd summit of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which will start in Samarkand on Thursday. He will also hold meetings with leaders of some participating countries on the sidelines of the summit.

Prior to leaving for Uzbekistan, Raisi spoke to the press at Mehrabad airport about the plans and goals of the trip, saying, “This trip is happening at the invitation of the honorable President of Uzbekistan for an official bilateral meeting and participation in the 22nd summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”

The President said the purpose of his visit to Uzbekistan is to strengthen the neighborhood policy, regional integration and promotion of multilateralism.

“In the first step of developing the neighborhood policy, we were able to strengthen mutual political trust in the region, and in the second step, we are pursuing the effective role of the Islamic Republic of Iran and an active presence in the region.”

In line with these efforts, Raisi continued, Iran is looking to put together the existing infrastructure in Asia and, first of all, in the neighboring countries. He cited strengthening economic interaction and launching monetary and banking systems as examples in this endeavor.

The President further described relations with Uzbekistan as good, noting, “Of course, this level of relations is not enough, especially in the field of commercial and economic exchanges. Currently, the trade relations and exchanges between the two countries are at $500 million, which is perhaps the highest level in the last three decades, but this amount is not enough from the point of view of the officials of Uzbekistan and our colleagues in the foreign ministry and economic sectors of the country, and it can increase to a much higher level.”

Raisi then listed commercial and economic exchanges, transit, transportation and cultural cooperation among the capacities and fields of development of Iran-Uzbekistan relations, explaining that the common civilizational sphere of the two countries can have a constructive effect in improving the level of bilateral relations. 

“With the negotiations between the authorities of Tehran and Tashkent, memoranda have been prepared to expand cooperation in various economic, commercial and cultural fields, which will be signed by the parties,” he noted. 

In the summit of the SCO hosted by Tajikistan in September 2021, Iran’s request to become a full member of the organization in the coming years was endorsed. In the current round of the SCO summit, Iran is scheduled to sign a number of documents in the path to full membership.  

Raisi noted, “In the one year that has passed since the change of membership status of Iran in the Shanghai Organization, it was necessary for the documents of this organization to be reviewed by the Foreign Ministry which has been done and the documents have been approved by the government and are currently undergoing legal procedures.”

Raisi continued his remarks by saying that one of the important actions in the upcoming meeting of the SCO is to finalize these documents so that they can go through their legal path and be signed by the Iranian minister of foreign affairs and the foreign ministers of the member states.

The President also stated that on the sidelines of the SCO summit, bilateral and multilateral meetings are planned with a number of heads of state participating in the meeting. “Holding these meetings will definitely help develop the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the countries of the region.”

Concluding his remarks, the president opined, “In these meetings and negotiations, we will definitely have discussions about bilateral, regional and international issues and we will try to bring our views closer to each other so that the role of the Islamic Republic in the region and the world is further improved and the relations with neighboring countries improves as much as possible.”

The trip comes while Iran is awaiting a U.S. response to Iran’s amendments to the EU proposal intended to resurrect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and remove the sanctions imposed on Iran.

In this regard, Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy presidential chief of staff for political affairs, tweeted on Wednesday, “President Raisi’s message from Samarkand to New York is: Shaping A Just International Order through Economic Multilateralism.”

Original News : https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/476759/President-Raisi-visits-Uzbekistan-to-attend-SCO-summit

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