August 19, 2009
Hugues Pernet: “Uzbekistan consistently implements large-scale reforms”
On the eve of the 18th anniversary of independence of Uzbekistan, UzA correspondent talked to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France in Uzbekistan Hugues Pernet.

– Mr Ambassador, how do you assess the current state of relations between Uzbekistan and France, and what do you think about the prospects of cooperation?

– France and Uzbekistan maintain strong, active, constructive and demanding relationship, since we strive to establish a true partnership.

As you know, the stability in the region and the Afghan issue appear in the first row of our common objectives, and here the exchange of opinions is fruitful. For us, the experience of Uzbekistan on such issues is very useful, as it was done recently during the visit to Tashkent (22 May) of Mr Pierre Lellouche, special representative of President Sarkozy for Afghanistan and Pakistan (appointed as Secretary of State for European Affairs during his stay in Uzbekistan), who was received by President Karimov.

In the economic and commercial areas, there are great prospects, but they should be concretized. Some of the largest French companies are very interested in the Uzbek market, and I hope that they will be able to complete their projects in the near future. We also have a very high potential in agriculture. We plan to carry out exchange of opinions at the high level in the field of economy and commerce.

Finally, in the field of culture, one has to mention the significant contribution of the French Institute for the Study of Central Asia, located in Tashkent. Since its founding in 1993, the institute has allowed French and European researchers to get to know Uzbekistan closer, and it provides great assistance in training local researchers in new directions of humanitarian sciences.

In addition, our French Cultural Center is organizing popular and high-profile events together with our Uzbek friends. Uzbekistan is a wonderful example of cultural diversity – and we see teaching the French language as a means of enrichment of this basic feature of Uzbekistan.

– What can you say about the changes that took place in Uzbekistan in the years of independence?

– Uzbekistan has a complex historical heritage, marked by long Russian and then Soviet presence. In the years of independence, Uzbekistan has resolutely and purposefully carried out tremendous work in national reconstruction. For its part, France is ready to assist in the formation of more stable and flourishing in Uzbekistan, which provides its youth bright prospects.

– What is your opinion about the Samarkand international music festival “Sharq Taronalari”?

– Sharq Taronalari festival, held every two years in Samarkand, is always an opportunity for the most interesting cultural exchange. After Charles Aznavour, this year France will be represented by Trio Hurdy Pop. This band will perform the traditional repertoire of the Central Massif, a region in the Center of France, with the sounds of modern music, in particular, with use of electric lira with rotating wheel and pre-recorded tapes. Trio Hurdy Pop will also perform in Tashkent on 23 August at Ilkhom theater.

– This year our country marks 2,200th anniversary of Tashkent city. What can you say about the work carried out in the capital in connection with this date?

– France and Uzbekistan share a strong common passion for history, of course, with many different traditions. However, over the centuries, our countries have often experienced troubled times and tragic events, as well as periods of well-being and prosperity, which formed their peoples and political structures. This anniversary will further strengthen the international image of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, and it vividly shows the interest of the country to the history. This was also a reason for the tremendous work on decoration of the capital, harmoniously blending modernity and respect for tradition.

On the eve of the celebration of the 2,200th anniversary of Tashkent, which will be held one day after the national holiday, I would like to take this opportunity to express my best wishes of peace and prosperity to the people of Uzbekistan. I also have a great honor to convey the congratulatory message of the President of the French Republic Mr Sarkozy to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr Karimov on the occasion of the Independence Day and the 2,200th anniversary of Tashkent – the real city-museum of the Uzbek culture, the city with a rich history, which also has a great future.



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