September 2, 2008
Addres by President Islam Karimov at the festive ceremony dedicated to the 17th anniversary of Independence of Uzbekistan
Dear compatriots! Distinguished guests!

Today the multinational people of Uzbekistan with big inspiration and joy are celebrating the landmark date of the 17th anniversary of Independence of our Homeland – the greatest and dearest holiday for all of us.

It renders me an enormous satisfaction to congratulate you and in your person our entire nation on the holiday of Independence – our common achievement which is a guarantee of free and prosperous life, flourishing of our country.

Dear friends!

Today, objectively assessing the substance and significance of the traversed path of independent development, naturally, we experience a fair feeling of pride and joy for our considerable successes recognized all over the world. These high frontiers on the way of building a new life we have achieved having fully rejected the old and obsolete ideological system and approaches.

Enormous creative work accomplished after gaining independence, historical transformations directed at building a democratic state and civil society, free and independent Homeland that have radically changed the look of the country and the life itself confirm that the national development strategy that we have adopted 17 years ago is solely the right path.

Undoubtedly, the results of work gained at the cost of overcoming numerous hard trials on this most complex way, above all thanks to a firm will of our diligent people, their resoluteness and selflessness, today we see in all spheres and branches at each region of the country.

In particular, it can be seen in the example of high accomplishments which have been secured for over the period of last five to seven years.

During the last five years alone the growth of gross domestic product accounted for 48 percent – on average over 8 percent per year and for over the last two years this indicator exceeded 9 percent. During this period the volume of per capita gross domestic product grew to 2.5 times which witnesses about the stable development rates of our economy.

It gives a big satisfaction for all of us that during this time the population’s real incomes grew to 3 times, salary – 6.5 times, the amount of pensions and allowances – 5.5 times.

In 2007 the amount of average salary increased to 1.5 times. And this year 2008 its growth rates will be no less than in previous year.

These positive transformations are practical embodiment of policy of realizing the purposeful, gradual, and deeply thought-out reforms and development of spirituality in our society. In this respect, it is necessary to note the constant attention of state towards such important spheres as education and healthcare, culture and enlightenment, as well as nurturing harmonically developed generation.

It should be underscored that peace and stability, inter-national accord, atmosphere of kindness and mercy that reign today in our country, the constant care about our esteemed veterans, the people who are in need of help and attention – all this noble work became an integral part of state policy.

Creation of broad opportunities for the young generation of our country and in this connection announcement of 2008 as the “Year of youth”, rendering comprehensive assistance to young men and women, who are joining the mature life, in gaining knowledge and skills, securing by them a worthy place in society, as well as support of young families – all this, undoubtedly, serves as a basis for further strengthening foundation of a new life that we are building.

Dear compatriots!

I think that today summing up the outcomes of enormous creative work accomplished in our country we all well understand and realize that yet we will have to do much and persistently work to realize important goals that we have set before ourselves and achieve worthy standard of life which is second to none’s.

We have all grounds for achieving the set high frontiers, for a firm confidence in tomorrow.

First. For over the past period our country and our people have grown stronger at tough trials and hardships, they have gained experience to overcome various barriers.

Thanks to tenacity and courage of our people, the new state and new society that we are building are becoming ever stronger and solid. It can be said that we have laid a firm basis of our future.

At the moment, the potential and capabilities of our state radically differ from what they have been in early years of independence – the 90s of last century. Today the authority and prestige of our country is growing in the world, its might and strength are being consolidated, as well as the new prospects and new horizons are opening up before us.

Second. Yet another factor that serves for strengthening of our confidence in the future is that we set before ourselves clear and precise goals.

In accordance with these tasks, based on our own potential and rich capabilities we must realize such priority programs as further strengthening and step-by-step continuing of the launched reforms that have justified themselves in practice, and using the leading international experience and achievements – modernize the country and provide for stable growth rates of economy.

Third. An important condition and guarantee of ensuring progress of the country is further improving all spheres of life whether it is reforming political, social or judiciary system, consolidating the social and political activeness of population, developing the multiparty system, further liberalizing the public life, raising status and influence of public and non-state organizations, in a word, accomplishing in practice the transition from a strong state to a strong civil society. By now it remains to be the most important and urgent task.

Fourth. The main condition for securing the set frontiers is a confidence and will of the people, their ever maturing social and political consciousness, radical change of their attitude towards life, labor and ownership, as well as realization by them of their civic duty and involvement in the fate of Homeland, the love and loyalty to the country and people.

This is particularly brightly reflected on the example of young, physically and spiritually healthy generation of the country brought up in line with national and universal values, and acting as a resolute force of our today’s and tomorrow’s life.

It is known that in the East from of old the age of 17 years old is considered to be the time and symbol of adulthood. Our children who were born on the first year of independence are now entering this beautiful period of life. At the moment, the number of such young men and women in our country makes up six hundred seventy-three thousand people.

It makes glad us all that along with them there are yet millions of our young people, whose hearts are full of resoluteness and enthusiasm, having completed their studies at fully renewed for over the last ten years schools, colleges and lyceums and having gained contemporary knowledge and professions with a firm hope and belief are entering a new life.

My friends, please tell on your own, can the country be overcome that enjoys such richness and such a powerful wave of young fervor!

Fifth. Today, in realizing all our kind aspirations and vital plans we consider as yet another important factor the integration to the world community, further development of friendly and mutually beneficial relations with near and far neighbors so that to secure a worthy place and earn yet more trust on the international arena.

We steadfastly follow the principles of extending comprehensive and business ties with foreign partners who have expressed confidence in the potential of our nation as much as its future. In this sphere we consider a priority task to develop relations that meet the mutual interests aimed at preserving peace and stability in our region and the whole world, to make our own contribution to peaceful settlement of conflicts and in this respect to further raise the political activeness.

Availing myself of this opportunity, on behalf of entire people allow me congratulate the ambassadors of foreign countries, esteemed guests, all foreign friends and partners who are present at today’s festivities and are sharing our joy, and express them the best wishes.

Dear compatriots!

Seventeen years ago we firmly decided that we would depend on no one in the world, build a free, independent and prosperous life.

With such an aim we have chosen the path of independence, the path of freedom, and we steadily follow on this course and will never turn back from it!

Allow me from this high rostrum to once again bow before our diligent and magnanimous people, the creator and maker of all our achievements that confidently moves on towards their cherished goals.

At this beautiful festive ceremony as I once again congratulate on the holiday of Independence I mentally embrace you all.

I wish you all a sound health, happiness and luck, as well as well being to your families.

May peace always prevail in our country and may the sky over it be always clear!

May Independence of our Homeland be eternal!


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