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Revisiting the Priorities

In Tashkent, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia organized a reception in September in tribute to the National Day commemorating the Kingdom’s unification. Ahead of the start of the festivities, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Uzbekistan Abdulrahman Al-Shaya agreed to share his ideas on the forthcoming Tashkent session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrates the National Day on September 23. This year, the country marked its 86th anniversary. The announcement about the unification of the Kingdom was the first step towards the construction of a huge and modern state. Following the proclamation of the unification, a foreign policy course was elaborated aiming at cooperation with international and regional organizations, willingness to address and settle crisis situations by peaceful means, respect the right of states to non-interference in their internal affairs.

Speaking at the reception, the Ambassador said: “We appreciate the friendly relationship we have with the government and people of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Our friendship begins with the recognition that our two nations have proud and very distinct histories. We share common history, literature, and culture. Muslim scholars and scientists who hailed from this land made great contributions to Islamic studies, science, literature, astronomy and medicine worldwide.

  “This year your great country celebrated the 25th anniversary of your national independence. This represents a historical milestone. Wise and diligent planning, coupled with dedicated leadership and hard work, made your nation an oasis of peace and prosperity in this part of the world. This year, your country also lost an exceptional leader and a great statesman. The late President Islam Karimov has led this country through difficult and challenging times to transform it into a nation of civil and democratic institutions, achieve economic growth and social development, and improve the standards of living for the citizens of Uzbekistan.

“We sincerely share with you during times of joy as well as times of sorrow. We will continue to offer our full support and commitment to the government and brotherly people of Uzbekistan. We are fully committed to a solid relationship between our two countries, one that is built on firm grounds of trust, cooperation, and mutual respect. As we look ahead into the future, we can but hope and pray that all people of the nations enjoy peace, prosperity, and security.”

“Mr. Ambassador, this past July, the Foreign Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, discussing topical issues in bilateral relations, expressed a shared interest in steadfast advancement of interaction between our two nations across diverse spheres. Could you please clarify what specific areas were under deliberation?”

“The foreign ministers of our countries expounded on issues relating to culture, education, enlightenment, enhancement of trade and investment bonds. Surely, they talked about consolidating the role of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an effective eminent forum for Muslim countries.

“Among the areas that Abdulaziz Kamilov and Adel Al-Jubeir discussed were also issues pertinent to shoring up cultural and humanitarian potential of OIC, to studying the achievements of great Uzbek scientists and thinkers, popularization of their invaluable contribution to the development of world civilization, since Uzbekistan has inherited a unique legacy of Islamic culture. Outstanding scholars such as Imam Al-Bukhari, Imam at-Termizi, Beruni, al-Khorezmi, Imam al-Maturidi are well-known throughout the world. By the way, during the meeting of senior officials of the OIC member states, in Jeddah on 26 July 2016, Minister Kamilov drew attention to security issues through ensuring cohesion of OIC participant nations, abolition of existing differences, and joining forces in countering the ideology of terrorism and extremism.”

“Minister Al-Jubeir spoke highly of the preparations underway in Uzbekistan for the forthcoming session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Tashkent. What can you say about Uzbekistan’s approach to its presidency priorities in the OIC CFM?”

“With regard to the priorities of Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in the OIC CFM, I should underline the need stressed by the foreign minister of your country to bolster the development of intellectual, scientific, technical and technological capacities of the organization’s member states. In my view, it is one of the most critical factors in boosting the cooperation as it helps bring closer the positions of member nations. Abdulaziz Kamilov mentioned another priority, namely, consistent expansion of the geography of zones free from nuclear weapons, noting that Uzbekistan supports the idea of ​​creating a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. We believe this priority is crucial, and in terms of promoting overall international security we can include it in the list of top priorities.”


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