ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Vladimir Norov who is a senior diplomat and Director of The Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies working under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan believes that inclusion in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of Uzbekistan’s top priorities as it will let the former Soviet Republic to have access to the World market. He further believes that one of the major sources of threat to regional and international security remains the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan.
“I see CPEC a good opportunity for Uzbekistan’s relationship with Pakistan in the future”, the Uzbek envoy said in an exclusive interview with Dispatch News desk (DND) new agency and DND Radio news in Islamabad.
Former diplomat and Director of The Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies said that both Pakistan and Uzbekistan don’t have direct access to each other’s territories which has been one of the main barriers in further strengthening bilateral ties between the two Countries.
He maintained that it’s been 25 years since Uzbekistan and Pakistan established their diplomatic relations in 1992. In addition, he said, that the two Countries enjoy deep cultural and historical inks, adding that Urdu language has 4,000 Uzbek words.
“It is, therefore, natural to strengthen relationship between these two Countries”, Vladimir Norov said.
But the ambassador noted that yet the level of cooperation between Pakistan and Uzbekistan is not satisfactory especially with regards to trade and economic relations.
The Uzbek diplomacy expert said that Uzbekistan’s economy is now steadily developing as its gross domestic product (GDP) has grown by more than 8% in last decade and the Country is now manufacturing competitive agricultural machinery. While Pakistan’s economy has also witnessed a boost in recent years, he said. But, he added that yet the two Countries have failed to enhance their bilateral cooperation in various fields.
Vladimir Norov hoped that once CPEC becomes operational, his Country will have an easy access to Pakistani market through Afghanistan, as well as will reach the World market via Gwadar port developed as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
When asked to share his opinion about the future of Afghanistan, Vladimir Norov stated that one of the major sources of threat to regional and international security remains the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan for more than 35 years.
Vladimir Norov believes that the current military and political situation in Afghanistan is largely uncertain and difficult to predict. “This trend, especially in the backdrop of events in the Middle East, causes the concern of the world community in the context of actualization of challenges and threats of extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking that affect the stability and security of not only Central Asia but also another regions of the world”, indicated Norov.
He is of the view that establishing peace in Afghanistan will bring enormous and noticeable benefits to all countries of the Eurasian continent.
He reiterated official stance of Uzbekistan that the international community should start looking at Afghanistan not as a source of regional problems, threats and challenges, but rather a unique strategic opportunity capable of breaking the established status quo and shaping the fundamental grounds for a multilateral interaction, which will serve our common prosperity and well-being.
He was of the view that conflict settlement in Afghanistan must and can only be based on an internal national consensus between the main warring factions as well as Taliban and Government through peaceful political negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations.