US, Uzbekistan “Usher in a New Era of Strategic Partnership”
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President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the invitation of President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, arrived in Washington on 15 May 2018 with his first official visit to the US.
The principal events of the visit took place on May 16 at the official residence of President of the United States of America. Thus, Shavkat Mirziyoyev was met at the White House by Donald Trump.
Uzbekistan and the United States have marked the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between them. Over the past period, bilateral ties have consistently evolved in all directions. In recent years, the two Presidents have met twice: in May 2017 – at the summit of Arab-Muslim countries and the United States in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in September later that year, in the framework of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York. In 2017, the two leaders also spoke over the phone.
During those meetings, the Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Donald Trump discussed the development of bilateral relations, exchanged views on pressing issues of regional and international importance and of mutual interest. Particular attention was paid to ensuring security in Central Asia, resolving the crisis in Afghanistan, countering international terrorism, extremism and radicalism.
President Donald Trump hosted President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, marking the latter’s historic first visit to the White House and ushering in a new era of strategic partnership between the United States and Uzbekistan.
During the meeting, President Trump reaffirmed the enduring commitment of the United States to the independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty of Uzbekistan. President Trump also recognized Uzbekistan’s tremendous progress on important political, economic, and social reforms under the leadership of President Mirziyoyev. The leaders resolved to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the United States and Uzbekistan with a new dialogue to reinvigorate the 2002 Declaration of Strategic Partnership, building on a broad range of mutual priorities.
President Mirziyoyev declared that progress in Uzbekistan is irreversible, underscoring that the government must always place the Uzbek people’s interests first. President Mirziyoyev’s “Five Year Strategy of Action” promotes good governance, judicial reform and rule of law, economic liberalization, social development, and an open and constructive foreign policy.
The US leader noted the historic partnership of the United States with Uzbekistan in the fight against terrorism. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the United States, Uzbekistan provided critical access and support to drive al-Qaida terrorists from Afghanistan. During his visit, President Mirziyoyev reaffirmed his full support for President Trump’s South Asia strategy and discussed Uzbekistan’s initiatives to strengthen bilateral cooperation, share burdens, and address regional security issues, including stability in Afghanistan.
President Trump highlighted the importance of a strong and independent Central Asia and applauded President Mirziyoyev’s efforts to convene Central Asian leaders for a cooperative dialogue, as discussed during the November 2017 Samarkand Conference. President Mirziyoyev joined other Central Asian leaders in March in Astana, Kazakhstan, opening new possibilities for intraregional commerce and cooperative approaches to address security challenges. President Trump recognized Uzbekistan’s key role in this important dialogue and pledged the United States’ support to cooperation and development through the C5+1 regional format. Bоth presidents expressed support for including Afghanistan in multilateral cooperation formats in Central Asia.
President Trump congratulated President Mirziyoyev on the success of the 2018 Tashkent International Conference on “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity” in Afghanistan, which reaffirmed that the international community is united in its position that the Taliban immediately agree to peace talks with the Afghanistan government. Bоth President Trump and President Mirziyoyev condemned cowardly terrorist attacks against Afghanistan security forces and innocent civilians, and committed to expanding dialogue to overcome the challenges facing Afghanistan. President Mirziyoyev pledged steadfast political support to the Government of Afghanistan and discussed the December 2017 visit of Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, wh ere the two leaders signed a series of landmark agreements to increase trade and develop critical infrastructure. President Trump recognized the important role that Uzbekistan plays in regional economic development and praised Uzbekistan’s efforts to expand the development of trade and commercial ties with Afghanistan. He offered political support and planning consultations regarding Uzbekistan’s railroad and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan.
The Uzbek leader assured continued support for the Northern Distribution Network and its contribution to achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan. The United States and Uzbekistan cooperate closely to secure the border with Afghanistan and to interdict the illicit movement of narcotics.
The two leaders condemned extremism and international terrorism, and vowed to strengthen cooperation against these common threats. They also committed to pursue agreements that will enhance interoperability and improve regional security, and noted the importance of strengthening the defense relationship by implementing the first-ever Five-Year Plan of Military Cooperation.
Reforms and People-to-People Ties
President Trump applauded President Mirziyoyev’s ambitious reform program to improve the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, noting the release of prisoners of conscience, elimination of systematic child labor, and significant progress in reducing forced labor. These accomplishments have created the conditions for increased economic, political, and security cooperation.
The US President encouraged President Mirziyoyev’s initiative to increase government transparency and accountability to the people of Uzbekistan as a fundamental aspect of good governance and domestic stability. Bоth leaders vowed to intensify constructive cooperation to protect fundamental human freedoms, including the promotion of religious freedom. President Mirziyoyev committed to implement a comprehensive roadmap to advance religious freedom.
The heads of state welcomed the pending accreditation of the American Councils for International Education in Uzbekistan, which will contribute to educational cooperation between the two countries. President Trump pledged United States assistance to promote English language education programs in Uzbekistan and commended Uzbekistan’s accreditation of Voice of America activities and the opportunities it creates for American media in the country.
Bоth President Trump and President Mirziyoyev committed to explore deeper economic cooperation that will increase trade and create jobs in bоth countries. President Mirziyoyev pledged to create favorable conditions for businesses in Uzbekistan and open its markets for United States companies and investors by introducing international standards of transparency, accountability, and rule of law. The leaders vowed to explore greater economic cooperation, including in the fields of agriculture, energy, finance, chemicals, tourism, textiles, health, and digital innovation. During the visit, Uzbekistan signed over 20 major business deals with United States companies, which, if fully implemented, will be worth more than $4.8 billion and could sustain more than 10,000 US jobs and open opportunities for billions of dollars in future US contracts.
President Trump commended President Mirziyoyev’s reform program and recognized Uzbekistan’s emerging role as an economic leader, as demonstrated by its offers to host the meetings of the Central Asia Trade Forum and the United States-Central Asia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council this year. President Mirziyoyev announced that Uzbekistan seeks accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and President Trump pledged United States technical assistance as Uzbekistan undertakes a reform agenda to liberalize its trade regime in line with WTO agreements. Uzbekistan committed to protecting intellectual property by acceding to the Geneva Phonograms Convention and the World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties. The realization of these initiatives will provide a solid foundation to explore future opportunities for improved bilateral trade, investment, and economic cooperation.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed gratitude to Donald Trump for the high respect and hospitality extended to the delegation of Uzbekistan.
“This visit will be a good opportunity to finalize the issues discussed during the meetings and telephone conversations that took place in 2017, as well as to take our multifaceted cooperation to a new level,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. “After the presidential elections in Uzbekistan and the US, relations between our two countries have risen to a new level. The title of the Joint Statement adopted today, Uzbekistan and the United States of America: Launch of a New Era of Strategic Partnership” speaks for itself: our aspirations aim the future.”
The enhancement of ties between the two nations is instrumental in encouraging long-term activities of the American business in Uzbekistan, along with the prospectuve development of investment and technological cooperation with leading corporations and US companies.
In the Strategy of Actions along Five Priority Tracks for the Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021, the implementation of a balanced, mutually advantageous and constructive foreign policy, the consolidation of security, stability and good neighborhood in the region is among the priority issues.
At the initiative and thanks to the political will of the head of our state, mutual trust has been strengthened among the countries of the region. Mutually beneficial agreements were reached on state borders, water use, creation of transport corridors, cooperation of regions and many other issues.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, speaking at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, reiterated that the principal priority of his foreign policy today is defined by the region of Central Asia. “In the heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is directly interested in the region becoming a zone of stability, sustainable development and good-neighborliness.
“A peaceful, economically prosperous Central Asia is our most important goal and key task. Uzbekistan is determined to engage in dialogue, constructive interaction and the consolidation of good-neighborliness. We are ready for reasonable compromises with the countries of Central Asia on all issues without exception,” the head of our state pointed out from the UN platform.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President Donald Trump continued negotiations in an extended format with the participation of official delegations of the two countries.
The main attention was paid to the development of trade and economic cooperation. Intensification of ties among government agencies, companies and business circles, implementation of joint investment projects in the fields of high technology, trade, fuel and energy industry, transport and other spheres were discussed.
In trade, our two countries have enjoyed the most-favored-nation treatment since 1998. In Uzbekistan, there are 181 enterprises organized jointly with US investors, including 46 enterprises with 100% American capital.
Our two nations are engaged in mutual trade in transport and transport communications, pharmaceuticals, automotive, light, food, electrical and agricultural industries.
The US-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, which has been operating for more than twenty years, has become an important mechanism for supporting and implementing joint programs and projects in various sectors of the economy. Today, Boeing, General Motors, General Electric, CNH Industrial, Hyatt, Hilton and many other major American corporations are successfully doing business in our country.
During the talks, the two sides expressed their willingness to consistently continue contacts at the highest level, to further intensify cooperation in the economy, energy, financial-investment, high-tech sectors and others, increase the volume of mutual trade turnover, and expand humanitarian bonds.
It was noted that there were untapped opportunities for furthering the bilateral cooperation, the use of which is beneficial for bоth states.
The Presidents agreed in particular to explore the existing opportunities for closer cooperation in agriculture, energy, chemical, textile industry, finance, tourism, healthcare and digital technologies.
It was noted that during the visit, more than 20 major contracts estimated at $ 4.8 billion were signed among the companies of Uzbekistan and the US.
The sides exchanged views on enhancing the bilateral relations in the spheres of culture, science, education, sports and tourism.
The Presidents welcomed the accreditation in Uzbekistan of the American Councils for International Education, which will contribute to the cooperation in the field of education. Donald Trump noted that the United States is ready to facilitate the implementation of educational programs in English in Uzbekistan.
The Joint Statement of the Heads of State, “Uzbekistan and the United States of America: Launch of a New Era of Strategic Partnership”, was adopted.
Signing of documents among a variety of government agencies of the two countries aimed at furthering the development of long-term and comprehensive interaction in the fields of trade and economic, electrical engineering, pharmaceuticals, investment, technology, innovation and education was also important.
It was stressed in particular that the visit of Uzbekistan’s President to the United States is a confident step forward to new frontiers in bilateral relations.
In the afternoon, the head of our state visited the Arthur Sackler Gallery. The collection is home to about 10 thousand samples of the arts of the peoples of Asia.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev reviewed samples of Uzbek weaving products in the gallery, and in the section devoted to Central Asia, he got acquainted with miniatures and manuscripts.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Washington met with representatives of US business circles.