Vladimir Norov, who has previously served as Uzbekistan's foreign minister and ambassador to several countries, is the new Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In an exclusive with Voice of America's Navbahor Imamova in Tashkent, Norov says the bloc is expanding its scope. Until now he was the head of the Institute of Strategic and Regional Studies, state think tank, in Tashkent.
Navbahor Imamova, VOA: You're the first Uzbek Secretary-General of Shanghai Cooperation Organization. What are you expecting from yourself, and what does Uzbekistan want from this bloc?
Vladimir Norov, SCO Secretary-General: This organization has played an important role from the beginning of its establishing in 2001 in providing peace and stability, coordinating efforts of all member states in fighting against terrorism, extremism and separatism. And that's why in Tashkent, there is a regional anti-terrorist structure of Shanghai Organization of Cooperation. And this structure now could possibly accumulate some positive experience in fighting against such crimes.
And the same time but their activity by joining a force of all member states, it was possible to obtain peace and stability in this region. But what we and the member states and seeing the assignment, it was outlined by many leaders of these organizations. We should transform our activity from bilateral to multilateral economic operation.
We are a multilateral economic operation, not yet so active. And that's why there will be focus on implementing projects to develop transport communication systems. We are interested in the construction railroad from China to Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is a double-landlocked country. That's why they have the interest for such initiative which helps us to have direct access to the world's seaports.
Afghanistan is our bordering country, our neighbor and Afghanistan is part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization because they have the observer status. Shanghai ACO, Afghanistan Contact Group, activity of which is directed for helping Afghanistan in terms of social and economic development of this country, by joining forces of all member states. And at the same time, we want to find the way for political diplomatic solution of this Afghan problem.
As it is now, we see by the initiative of our president - Silk Road University. We hope that this university will be the base for developing cooperation between our higher education institutions. We want to train the staff who could raise the touristic exchange between our countries.
Pakistan now is a member of this organization. The role and importance of this organization will grow. That's why cooperation with other international organization as now the United Nations and its agencies, such UNESCO. There is a special memorandum of cooperation between UNESCO and the Secretariat of Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Our president proposed that we set up a cooperation between SCO and the World Touristic Organization. We're looking at the growing markets. It is the Chinese market that is growing and at the same time, India, which has a growing economy. And also the Asian market is growing and agriculture, demand for agriculture, is growing.
That's why we will be rising the potential of SCO countries in the field of agriculture by developing a cluster system for production and processing agricultural products, creating green corridors for export.
That's why there are a lot of tasks that should be fulfilled to make this organization more effective. And one of the main principles of my activity is to protect the interests of all member states, including my home country, Uzbekistan.
Here is video of the expanded version of the interview, in Uzbek.