Shafranik, who is also chairman of the Union of Oil and Gas Industrialists of Russia, told Itar-Tass Karimov’s victory in the presidential elections “is a clear proof of the people’s support for the republic’s policy towards strategic partnership with Russia”. “Foreign investments in Uzbekistan’s economy increased threefold in 2007 as compared with 2006. Russian investments reached about 40%.”
Trade turnover between the two countries amounted to US$4 billion in 2007. “According to specialists, it may reach US$10 billion.” Shafranik said, “Over 500 joint ventures with Russia’s participation are now operating in the republic. But the fuel and energy sector is a locomotive of Russian-Uzbek economic relations,” Shafranik stressed.
LUKOIL Overseas is represented by its subsidiary LUKOIL Uzbekistan, the operating company of Kandym-Khauzak-Shady-Kungrad project. The company has been starting to carry out this project. It invested about US$360 million in the project, Shafranik said.
Gazprom “has also begun a seismic survey and an exploratory drilling as part of the gradual programme of geologic exploration in the Ustyurt district of Uzbekistan”, Shafranik said. Stroitransgaz will set up a joint venture and start the work on the SoyuzNefteGaz group project, he said.
In addition, Shafranik said both sides “coordinated the efforts to involve the Chkalov Tashkent Aircraft Production Corporation into the Russian United Aircraft Building Corporation. These are the most important projects”.
Earlier in the day, Karimov was sworn in as Uzbekistan’s president.
Addressing parliament members and foreign diplomats, the Uzbek president swore an oath “to truly serve the people of Uzbekistan and strictly comply with the Constitution and the republic’s laws, guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens and fulfil his obligations”.
Karimov said he “will mobilise all his forces, knowledge and experience to carry out the priorities in compliance with his pre-election campaign”. In his words, “the priority is to further increase the potential and power of our state, pursue multifaceted foreign policy, and make the life of people peaceful, quiet, free and prosperous.”
He expressed gratitude to all electors who “freely expressed their will and took part in the presidential elections in compliance with the Constitution, international legal standards and democratic principles”.
CEC head Mirza-Ulugbek Abdusalomov gave a presidential certificate to Karimov. In his words, Karimov got 88.1% of votes at the elections. The turnout reached 90.6%, the CEC head said.
Islam Karimov has been holding the top post in Uzbekistan since 1989 when he became first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan.
He was elected the leader of Uzbekistan at a session of the Uzbek Supreme Soviet in March 1990.
In December 1991 he was elected president of the independent Uzbekistan.
A referendum was held in 1995 as a result of which Karimov’s presidential powers were extended for five years. A referendum on the Constitution was held in Uzbekistan in 2002, as a result of which the term in office of a president was extended from five to seven years. This permitted Karimov to hold his post until 2007.
The Central Electoral Commission registered Karimov as a presidential candidate for the third time explaining it by the fact that, under a new version of the Constitution adopted in January 2002, Karimov would be elected for a period of seven years for the first time.