Putin: Russia intends to develop relations with Uzbekistan as one of key countries in region (UPDATED)
Added details (the first version was published at 18:24)
Russia intends to develop relations with Uzbekistan as one of the key countries in Central Asia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Uzbek President Islam Karimov on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
"We are able to adequately assess the potential of Uzbekistan on the public, on natural resources and economic potential, which is the most important thing. We always refer and intend to refer to Uzbekistan in the future as to one of the key countries in the region," Putin said.
He said the two countries are linked by "strong, centuries-old relation of friendship" and assured that, relying on them, "we will move forward at the pace and quality, which are required by time."
Karimov in turn congratulated Putin on his election as President and said that he advocated the nomination of Putin's third term as early as in 2008.
President of Russia in response said he decided not to nominate himself due to the Russian Constitution, which does not allow it.
"We together with my colleagues and I, first of all, decided to act solely in the Russian Constitution, Russian law, based on the will of the Russian citizens. Indeed, we have passed this way, a new stage of development of Russia in the development of our economy and social sphere and, hopefully, in the development of our relations with the CIS countries, including Uzbekistan," Putin said.
During the open discussion Karimov also commented on the political situation in Russia, and assured Putin that he can count on the support of Uzbekistan.
Karimov said currently the world is in transitional period, during which it is necessary to pursue "strong policy" in the socio-economic, political, military and other spheres. In addition, the Uzbek president said that "strong people who can deliver what was promised and make what is now claimed in this life" are required at this period.