1 September 2022 – 31st Anniversary of the Independence of The Republic of Uzbekistan
The Republic of Uzbekistan under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev implements an open, consistent and deeply thought-out foreign policy course, which allows to effectively promote the national interests of the country and adequately respond to contemporary international challenges.
Uzbekistan’s foreign policy has become more active in recent years not just in its region but around the globe. Tashkent’s influence has grown in many international organizations and within the framework international integration processes.
On the initiative of the head of state, specific and forward-looking goals outlined in the “Strategy of actions for the development of Uzbekistan in five priority areas in 2017-2021” were achieved. Particular attention was paid to enhancing the role and influence of Uzbekistan in the regional and international arena.
As a result of the implementation of the Development Strategy, Uzbekistan’s political, economic and cultural relations with neighboring countries, major world powers and international institutions have reached a qualitatively new and unprecedentedly active level.
In the era of speedy transformations taking place in the country, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has identified new, even more important and urgent goals and objectives of foreign policy, which are reflected in the New Uzbekistan Development Strategy for 2022-2026.
Current global changes in the world, characterized by increasing geopolitical tensions, are having a negative impact on the countries of Central Asia, neighboring and other regions. In addition, ongoing pandemic barriers and restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and its new strains are negatively affecting all areas of international cooperation, primarily economic and logistical ties.
In the current circumstances, Uzbekistan seeks to further expand the areas of its foreign policy, intensify cooperation with foreign partners, primarily with neighboring countries, at various levels and in priority areas, systematically monitor developments in the region and the world and respond to emerging challenges in a timely and comprehensive manner.
Uzbekistan is consolidating a completely new political environment in the Central Asian region in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect, good neighborliness and strategic partnership.
The main objective is to make Central Asia a place of prosperity and sustainable development, trust and friendship. To this end, Uzbekistan attaches priority to strengthening the interactions with neighboring and adjacent regions.
To advance the cooperation the Consultative Meeting of the heads of state of Central Asian countries was initiated by President Mirziyoyev.
In order to promote stability, security, post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan and its integration into regional cooperation processes in the interests of the multinational Afghan people and the whole world, Uzbekistan actively participates in international efforts to peaceful settlement of situation in Afghanistan. The post-crisis development of Afghanistan is the key importance for the entire system of international and regional security.
On July 26th 2022, International conference on Afghanistan was held in Tashkent, which was attended by the representatives of 50 world countries and international organizations.
At this conference the Minister of foreign affairs of Uzbekistan Vladimir Norov noted, Uzbekistan is interested in the development of Afghanistan as a peaceful, independent and prosperous state. We also maintain a clear position that in the foreseeable future, Afghanistan shall remain an important factor in regional security, directly affecting the national interests of regional countries, primarily the neighboring states.
As the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev said at the Consultative Meeting of the heads of Central Asian states on July 21 this year in Chalpan Atа, Kyrgyzstan, “Our most important priority should remain the continuation of close cooperation in promoting long-term peace in Afghanistan and its socio-economic recovery. We are the closest neighbors, and no one else should be more interested in stability in this country. It largely depends on us how the international community perceives this problem”.
In this regard, the development of joint approaches to solving the socio-economic problems of Afghanistan at this stage of the country’s development should become a top priority for the states of the region and the world community.
Uzbek Foreign minister said, it is time to move from words to actions – to help to revive the Afghan economy and to create all the necessary conditions for involving Afghanistan in the regional integration processes. In order to deliver the humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, we have created a multifunctional transport and logistics hub in the border city of Termez, which is now being actively used by various UN bodies.
On July 18, expeditionary work began on the territory of Afghanistan with the participation of specialists from Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan to determine the railway route of the trans–Afghan railway “Termez-Mazar–I–Sharif – Kabul- Peshawar” and a feasibility study of the project. In addition, Uzbek specialists have completed work on the restoration of the international airport in the city of Mazar-I-Sharif this year.
We believe it is important to continue jointly with Afghanistan to implement such infrastructure projects as the construction of the “Termez – Mazar-e-Sharif – Kabul – Peshawar” railroad, the transit potential of which is 20 million tons of cargo annually and the “Surkhan – Pul-e-Khumri” power transmission line.
Uzbekistan is convinced that the implementation of these projects will not only help the reconstruction of the Afghan economy and make Afghanistan a bridge between Central and South Asia, but also promote the overall process of regional connectivity for the benefit and prosperity of the people of the vast region.
We attach an enormous importance to the training of Afghan youth at the Educational Center in Termez, established at the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan. We are confident that this will accelerate the training of highly qualified specialists for the key sectors of the national economy of Afghanistan, who will be able to make a fair share of contribution to its economic revival.
Uzbekistan collaborates with multilateral institutions at the global and regional level. Uzbekistan attaches great importance to interaction with the United Nations, cooperation with which is defined as one of the priorities of our country’s foreign policy. The Republic actively and systematically participates in the activities of the organization and a number of its specialized agencies, such as the World Health Organization, International Labor Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, Education, Science and Culture Organization, FAO, World Bank, IAEA etc.
Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the United Nations and its specialized agencies has come to a qualitatively new level in the last few years. This is seen in the President of Uzbekistan’s speeches at the 72nd, 75th and 76th sessions of the UN General Assembly and the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in 2021, during which the initiatives of Uzbekistan in strengthening international and regional security, further development of education, spirituality, environment, tourism and human rights protection were voiced.
Uzbekistan’s activities within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are of particular importance.
The SCO was founded on June 15, 2001, by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. It now also includes India and Pakistan as permanent members. Observers to the SCO include Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia and Belarus. Dialogue partners are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Cambodia, Turkey and Sri Lanka.
Today, the SCO is an organization spanning three continents — Asia, Europe and Africa. The total territory of the SCO member nations exceeds 34,000,000 square kilometers, more than 60% of Eurasia. About half of the world’s population — 3 billion people — live in the SCO member countries. China, India and Pakistan have the status as nuclear powers.
Since Mirziyoyev came to power in 2016, Uzbekistan has pursued a “good neighbor” foreign policy and given great attention to strengthening security in Central Asia. This has led to Uzbekistan’s leadership, influence, and position within the SCO significantly improving.
During the meetings between the heads of SCO member nations from 2017-2021, the Uzbek president proposed important initiatives on 50 subjects. Uzbekistan’s initiatives reflect its national interests and priority areas for development, and fully comply with the main tasks aimed at sustainable development of its region. This is why all members of the organization support these initiatives.
The activities of SCO reflect Uzbekistan’s new foreign strategy over the last five years. Recently, Uzbekistan has openly declared a need to direct the organization’s huge potential toward the development of cooperation in such important and practical areas as transport, connectivity and logistics, innovative and digital development, as well as cultural and public diplomacy. A number of important proposals of the president aimed at expanding the SCO’s agenda also have been implemented.
Each year, a meeting is held of the heads of the SCO member state. The meetings were held in Uzbekistan in 2004, 2010 and 2016. They will again chair this year’s event.
Uzbekistan is the chairman of SCO since September 2021. Currently, the preparatory work regarding the high level meeting of the SCO Heads of State Council on September 15-16 in Samarkand is currently underway.
Uzbekistan, as part of its chairmanship of the SCO, is holding many international events, develop a program for boosting trade inside the region and step up the engagement of member countries in the area of security.
Ministerial-level meetings were held under Uzbekistan’s chairmanship in November 2021. Similar meetings on poverty relief were held on January 25.
At the suggestion of the president, within the framework of the SCO, the first high-level meeting on Afghanistan was organized in July, 2022, which was served to further strengthen the country’s authority in regional and international arenas.
Uzbekistan is the chairman of SCO and plans to host the largest number of international events it has ever hosted: 80. The SCO summit (September 15-16 in Samarkand), SCO foreign ministers meeting (July 28, 29 and 29 in Tashkent), and the high-level meeting about Afghanistan (July 27, 28 and 28 in Tashkent), SCO secretaries of Security Council meeting (August 19, in Tashkent), SCO ministries of defense meeting (August 24, are just a few of them). The events have two main purposes: to develop economic cooperation in the region, and to coordinate issues to ensure regional security.
In May, Tashkent hosted the international tourism forum titled “A New Stage of Cooperation Between the SCO Countries: Tourism and Cultural Heritage,” as well as a meeting of the sports ministers of the SCO countries. During the events, goals and objectives were identified and agreements were made that will be signed by the parties at the September SCO leaders summit.
The main events, documents, and documents that will be approved under the chairmanship Uzbekistan’s leadership are designed to promote and demonstrate the new Uzbekistan’s domestic and foreign policies, priorities goals, and objectives.
The main results of Uzbekistan’s chairmanship will be summed up at the summit scheduled for September in Samarkand. It will undoubtedly be a major diplomatic and political forum, and it will be remembered as a significant step towards the future development of the organization.
Uzbekistan’s active, open, pragmatic, and constructive foreign policy will be a strong foundation for making important decisions within the framework the summit. The 21st SCO Summit will bring the historic closeness of its members to a new level. It will also take into account the changing international climate.
Uzbekistan attaches great importance to the development and strengthening of mutually beneficial relations with the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in the spheres of economy, transport communications, finance, investments and tourism, including within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank.
I would like to note with satisfaction that over the past six years high-level meetings and different manifestation and events between Uzbekistan and GCC countries, including Kuwait are held on a regular basis. Political dialogue has been strengthened, effective cooperation has been established on international and regional issues, including Afghanistan. There are positive developments of ties in trade, economic, investment and humanitarian fields. Every year, the government of Uzbekistan has adopted “Roadmaps” of measures to develop relations with all countries GCC.
The state visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Saudi Arabia on 16-17 August, 2022, was very successful. Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud met President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
The President of Uzbekistan expressed confidence that his first state visit to Saudi Arabia would open wide opportunities for this. The talks at the highest level demonstrated the commonality of views and aspirations. The State Program Saudi Vision 2030 successfully implemented in the country was highly appreciated. It is consonant with the goals and objectives of the Development Strategy of New Uzbekistan for the transformation of all spheres of society. The two countries pay much attention to the implementation of the principles of the digital and green economy.
The parties discussed issues of further enhancing mutually beneficial ties in the political, trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian spheres. 15 documents on cooperation were signed at the level of governments and ministries of the two countries in such areas as energy, customs, civil aviation, tourism, agriculture, healthcare, labor relations and others.
The State of Kuwait recognized the Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan on December 30, 1991. In July 1994, diplomatic relations were established between the two countries.
The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan and Kuwait regularly hold political consultations. Next round of consultations will take place in Tashkent this year. During this mechanism of cooperation the current state and prospects for the development of relations in the political, trade, economic, investment, cultural, and humanitarian spheres, as well as issues of international and regional cooperation are discussed. It is also good opportunity to provide detailed information on the large-scale reforms carried out in Uzbekistan in recent years in all spheres of life, exchange of opinions on new opportunities for the further development of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries.
A representative delegation of State of Kuwait, headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah took part in the international conference “Central and South Asia: regional interdependence Threats and Opportunities” held in Tashkent on July 15-16, 2021.
Sheikh Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah was received by the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Kuwaiti side highly appreciated and supported the important international initiatives of the Uzbekistan to strengthen regional ties in Central and South Asia, as well as efforts to comprehensively assist in finding a peaceful solution to the situation in Afghanistan.
It should be noted that Uzbekistan and Kuwait actively support each other in international and regional organizations.
We should note with satisfaction the intensification of relations between the parliaments of the two countries. The Uzbek-Kuwait Inter-Parliamentary Group for Cooperation was established in the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the Kuwait-Uzbekistan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group was established in the Kuwait National Assembly.
Delegations of the National Assembly of Kuwait visited Uzbekistan five times (October 2002, September 2005, April 2010, April 2015 and March 2019).
Head of the Constitutional Court of Kuwait Mohammad bin Naji, Chairman of the Kuwaiti Transparency Society Majid Al-Mutairi and Professor of the University of Kuwait Muhammad al-Fili participated as international observers in the Presidential elections on October 24, 2021.
Particular attention is paid to trade, economic, and investment cooperation, increasing the volume and structure of mutual trade and, in a word, the implementation of joint projects in priority areas for the parties.
Uzbekistan has been actively cooperating with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development since 1997. Large social projects in the fields of health, education and infrastructure are being implemented in Uzbekistan at the expense of soft loans from Kuwait. To date, the Government of Uzbekistan and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development have signed 10 Loan agreements worth $ 213.2 million and 4 technical assistance agreements worth $ 2.5 million were signed.
Over the past 3 years, the turnover has increased significantly. But the volume of mutual trade does not satisfy both sides, so our countries have identified priorities in this direction. The stabilization of the global situation related to the coronavirus pandemic will certainly contribute to the further growth of Uzbek-Kuwaiti trade relations.
Bilateral relations in the field of transport are also developing. Jazeera Airways operates regular flights between Uzbekistan and Kuwait.
Our countries pay special attention to the accelerated development of cooperation in the cultural and humanitarian spheres. Today, it is obvious that ties in the fields of culture, healthcare, science, education, tourism, and sports are becoming stronger.