Guntis Ulmanis, President of Latvia in 1993-1999 years

- With special warmth I remember our meeting during the state visit of Islam Karimov to Latvia in June 1995 during which confidential exchange of views took place between us on how and in what direction should develop an independent republic. Then he said that each country should have its own way of development, and he will make any effort to turn Uzbekistan into a modern industrialized country with rapidly growing economy.

Today, we see that these aspirations, efforts and endeavors of Islam Karimov were realized, given their results - increased well-being of the population, achieved strong performance in the areas of health, education and sport, made major reforms in the sphere of economy, industry, agriculture and services, grew authority of Uzbekistan in the international arena.

I always remembered his words, which I fully support, that for the formation and strengthening of the young state and its further successful development it is important political stability, a strong will of the country leadership, peace and security. The role of Islam Karimov in ensuring peace, security and stability in the Central Asian region is undeniable.

If we recall the challenges faced by our countries in the first years after independence, it is impossible not to note the importance of the achievement of Islam Karimov - the preservation of inter-ethnic harmony and religious tolerance. There was created an equal status for the representatives of more than 130 nationalities living in Uzbekistan.