Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

European Parliament to continue cooperation with Uzbekistan – MEP

UzReport.com (Uzbekistan) - 11 February 2005

Dr Charles Tannock, Member of the European Parliament, Conservative Spokesman on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, spoke to Jahon on the speech of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at joint session of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of Oliy Majlis (parliament) of Uzbekistan.

“I find the speech of the President Islam Karimov, which I have studied closely, to be quite interesting and instructive,” Tannock noted. “It covers wide range of issues of local and foreign policies of Uzbekistan. This is an ambitious and far-reaching programme of reforms, which is an important step towards creating pluralistic democratic society, based on supremacy of the law and human rights.”

“The President’s intention to pass some of his power to the parliament, prime minister and government, I find to be encouraging, and think that it will help build the system of deterrents and counterbalances in the country. I welcome the President’s adherence to strengthening the independency of the judicial power,” he said.

In his opinion, another important aspect in the Uzbek President’s speech is support of the Uzbek government of the idea to rule out death penalty from the punishment system. “Such action would be welcomed in the European Union and the European Parliament,” he noted.

“Notably, Uzbekistan achieved significant economic progress, in particular GDP growth, which allows government to put more efforts into building the country’s infrastructure. I am sure that Islam Karimov will give a lot of meaning to the economic factor of reforms in the future too. In this sense, I fully support the government’s initiative on forming free-trade zone in the Central Asian region. Administrative reforms, fight against corruption, simplification of tax legislation and ensuring its transparency are important steps to be taken in building modern competitive market economy,” Tannock added.

“The Uzbek leader in his speech mentioned that the government continues fighting against international terrorism, and cooperating in preventing the prevalence of mass destruction weapons. In this context, I would like to note the role of Uzbekistan in the process of stabilising the situation in Afghanistan,” Tannock said.

What, in your opinion, are the perspectives for cooperation between the European Parliament and the new bicameral parliament of Uzbekistan?

I am sure that cooperation between our parliaments will continue. Development of inter-parliamentary dialogue and exchange of delegations on a regular basis are crucial to such cooperation. Members of the delegation of the European Parliament for Central Asia are planning to pay several visits to Uzbekistan. And in return, we expect that parliamentarians of Uzbekistan will often visit the European Parliament.

Personally, I have not had the chance yet to visit Uzbekistan, and I am waiting for the opportunity to do it. At the same time, I would like to note that having met and talked to the representatives of Uzbekistan in Brussels, I have formed my own opinion of the hospitality and friendliness, as well as high culture of the Uzbek nation.

Specifically I would like to mention that Uzbekistan holds firmly the position of luminous tolerant Islam, which Central Asia has adhered to for centuries. The role it holds in the fight against religious extremism and international terrorism is extremely important. So, it is central that such country, as Uzbekistan, would represent the Moslem world.