Central Asia is the main priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy

Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 14 December 2016, at a solemn meeting of the Chambers of the Oliy Majlis, Shavkat Mirziyoyev officially took office as the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The new President of Uzbekistan, emphasizing the continuity of the country’s foreign policy, declared about Tashkent’s openness to active international cooperation on the basis of the principles of mutual trust and consideration of mutual interests.

Following the results of the Head of State’s international visits and meetings with leaders of foreign countries, breakthrough agreements were reached in the political, diplomatic and trade and economic spheres in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan concluded 320 agreements and contracts worth more than US$44 billion, the press service of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry reported.

As a key priority of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy activity, Shavkat Mirziyoyev defined the Central Asian region, with which the vital interests of our country are connected.

The choice of Central Asia as a priority is a natural, sincere desire of Uzbekistan to establish good-neighborly, friendly, mutually beneficial relations with its closest neighbors. In Tashkent, it is clear that the solution of a number of issues to ensure sustainable development and security of Uzbekistan largely depends on the level of mutual understanding between the countries of Central Asia and the effectiveness of regional cooperation.

Already in his first days as President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev took decisive and concrete steps aimed at developing mutually beneficial relations with his neighbors, establishing trustful contacts with all the leaders of the Central Asian states.

Over the past 10 months, 11 meetings and 15 telephone conversations between Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the leaders of the states of the region took place, 2 state and 2 working visits to the countries of Central Asia were held.

The visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan opened a new page of cooperation, signed a solid package of documents on all areas of cooperation. The Treaty on strategic partnership has been concluded, railway and automobile bridges across the Amu Darya have been opened. An important part of the transport-communication route “Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan-Iran-Oman” was realized. An agreement was reached on the use of the ports of Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea to enter the markets of Europe and the Caucasus.

The visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan became unprecedented in its results. The Joint Declaration on further deepening of the strategic partnership and strengthening of good-neighborliness, the “Roadmap” in all areas of joint activities was adopted. For the first time in the history of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, a business forum was held with the participation of over 400 companies. About 75 trade contracts and investment agreements were signed with a total value of about US$1 billion.

The meeting of the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan clearly demonstrated the readiness of our countries to develop political dialogue and expand economic relations. Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Almazbek Atambayev expressed their firm determination to adhere to the policy of strengthening good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation, to enrich the Uzbek-Kyrgyz relations with a qualitatively new content.

President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev also held a productive and fruitful meeting with Tajik leader Emomali Rahmon on the sidelines of the Arab-Muslim Summit in Riyadh. The heads of state discussed the development of the political dialogue and expansion of social and economic ties, exchanged views on further enhancing cooperation.

The active regional policy of Uzbekistan for rapprochement with all the Central Asian states without exception and intensification of political dialogue at the highest level made it possible to achieve significant practical results.

A new impetus was given to such areas of cooperation as trade and economic, transport and communication and cultural and humanitarian spheres, issues of delimitation and demarcation of state borders, rational use of water resources have made significant progress. All these lay a solid foundation for regional integration, transformation of Central Asia into “region of cooperation and development”.

Uzbekistan is clearly aware that raising the economic potential of Central Asia, the region’s competitiveness in the world arena is impossible without realizing effective regional cooperation projects. Today, concrete steps have been taken along this path. The joint Uzbek-Kazakhstan serial production of the Ravon Nexia R3 model in Kostanay was launched.

The activity of intergovernmental commissions of Uzbekistan with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan has been intensified.

Regular exchange of delegations of business circles, as well as holding joint business forums and fairs, is organized. These events vividly demonstrated the vivid interest of the entrepreneurs of our countries in establishing direct business ties with each other.

All these allowed to increase the trade turnover of Uzbekistan with the countries of Central Asia for the first half of 2017 by 13%. The volume of mutual trade between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan grew by 69%, with Tajikistan - 22%, Kazakhstan - 11%.

As the Head of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized, thanks to the joint work of all countries of our region, Central Asia becomes a crossroads of transport corridors, which connect the East with the West, the North with the South.

Since early 2017, high-speed rail service has been established between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. For the first time in 25 years the air service of Tashkent with Dushanbe was resumed. The flights between Tashkent and Issyk-Kul oblast of Kyrgyzstan have been launched. The passage through the section of the M-39 highway between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan was opened.

As the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted, Central Asia is a single organism, which for centuries had a common cultural space. Historical community, linguistic similarity, existence of common traditions, customs, gives us tremendous opportunities to be together and together to build our common future.

A new level of political trust in the region gave a powerful impetus to development of “institutions of people’s diplomacy”, cultural and humanitarian ties, and expansion of contacts between ordinary citizens of our countries. A constructive contribution to strengthening the historically developed friendly and good-neighborly relations between Uzbek and Kyrgyz peoples was construction of a new schools in the city of Osh, provision of material and technical assistance to the Osh State Academic Theater named after Babur, as well as exchange visits of friendship to Andijan region and Osh city.

A truly warm and friendly atmosphere was remembered by the visits of the delegations of Kazakhstan to Tashkent and Samarkand. Representatives of the border regions of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan became bright and informative.

Organized, for the first time in 20 years, a large-scale celebration of the “Days of Uzbek Culture” in Tajikistan was a demonstration of truly “fraternal relations between the two peoples”.

At the heart of Uzbekistan’s regional policy is the principle “not to leave acute issues, but to seek reasonable compromises”. Recently Uzbekistan has seriously progressed in solving the problem of delimitation and demarcation of borders with neighboring countries. Over the past 10 months more than 20 meetings of the Working Groups on this issue took place.

In addition, Uzbekistan supported the initiative of the United Nations to sign the Conventions on the Amudarya and Syrdarya by the Central Asian states. These international agreements take into account the positions of all countries in the region.

The practical results achieved recently by Uzbekistan’s foreign policy make it possible to state with confidence that the Central Asian course of Tashkent has become a timely and effective response to the long-overdue request for regional rapprochement, the restoration of trust and mutual understanding, and the prompt resolution of the accumulated problematic issues.

Of course, we are all just at the beginning of the road, there is still a lot of joint work ahead for the common prosperity and sustainable development, the peaceful and successful future of our children. It is important not to “stop at what has been achieved,” to move forward together.

According to the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, “Uzbekistan has always remained committed to an open, benevolent and pragmatic policy towards its closest neighbors - Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan ...”.

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