Shavkat Mirziyoyev to visit Washington
Head of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev is going to visit the United States on May 15-17 at the invitation of Donald Trump. It will be his first official visit to this country. Following the talks, two heads of state will adopt a joint statement: "Uzbekistan and the United States: Beginning of a New Era of Strategic Partnership," as well as sign a number of investment agreements worth several billion dollars. Uzbekistan implements an ambitious modernization program, based on forced industrial development. Russia, China, and South Korea already participate in this program. Now it's the US time.
Mirziyoyev already met with Trump a year ago on the sidelines of the Arab-Muslim countries and the United States summit in Saudi Arabia. According to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry, Trump appreciated reforms carried out by Tashkent, which signaled Washington's readiness to improve relationship. This readiness was demonstrated when the Uzbek delegation, led by Mirziyoyev, which arrived in the United States to participate in the UN General Assembly, signed agreements on joint projects with largest American companies - Boeing, General Electric, Caterpillar and others. In addition, they reached agreement on promotion of the Uzbek exports in the United States and opening of the Uzbek Trade House in New York.
Farhod Tolipov, director of the non-governmental scientific and educational institution Bilim Carvoni (Caravan of Knowledge), told Vestnik Kavkaza that the United States were generous with investments since the first days of Uzbekistan's independence. In 2002, an agreement on strategic partnership between Tashkent and Washington was signed, it was similar to agreement with Moscow.
"Over 300 joint ventures operated in Uzbekistan in 2005. The United States invested in gold mining and other industries. For many years there has been a mechanism for annual bilateral consultations in relations between Uzbekistan and the United States. During these consultations they regularly discuss issues in economy, investments, trade, education, science, tourism, security, terrorism, and so on. It allows both sides to closely monitor situation and adjust development of relations. There has been increased interest in Uzbekistan since new president came to power, and not only in the nearest neighbors in the region, or countries such as Russia and China, but also in the United States and some European countries. So it's quite reasonable to expect that relations between the US and Uzbekistan will internsify," Tolipov said.
According to him, "after one and a half years of Mirziyoyev's rule, we have seen progress in both domestic and foreign policy of Uzbekistan, which is indicated by successful visits of President of Uzbekistan to Russia and China, during which he signed agreements in the field of economy worth 16 and 20 billion dollars. respectively. Now it's up to leader of the world community, the United States. I expect that Mirziyoyev will return from Washington, just like he returned from Moscow and Beijing, after signing a package of agreements worth billions of dollars," expert said.
Farkhod Tolipov recalled that after the events of 2005 in Andijan, the US took critical position towards Uzbekistan. On May 13, 2005, government brutally suppressed a rally in Andijan, where people demanded resignation of President Islam Karimov. Tashkent accused Washington of interfering in internal affairs and preparing a "color revolution". The US and European countries condemned actions of the authorities and imposed sanctions against Uzbekistan. In response, Tashkent demanded from Americans to close military base in Khanabad. Then they shut down several non-governmental American organizations and abolished tax incentives for joint ventures.
"If during upcoming visit Washington will be give positive assessment of reforms in Uzbekistan, then the Uzbek leader will recieve huge funds to continue current policy," expert believes.
Answering the question about why America is so interested in Uzbekistan,, Farkhod Tolipov said: "One of the reasons is ability to influence the entire Central Asian region through Tashkent, the other one is proximity of Afghanistan. Moreover, Afghanistan is not a regional problem, it's a global one. It will become a global success for Trump himself and the US, if they will be able to resolve this problem. In addition, Central Asia is a special region because of its original historical and geographical status. It's located between several great powers - China, India, Russia. Central Asia itself is of global importance, especially considering transport, communication, economic, trade networks and routes. All of this raises status of the region in hierarchy and in the system of international relations. America has very strong interest because of that," Tolipov said.
According to Zurab Todua, political scientist and expert on problems of the post-Soviet space, Uzbekistan is interested in improvement of relations with the United States for several reasons. "First of all, Tashkent is interested in American investments. Money of American corporations and firms are important for implementation of ambitious program of economic reforms, pursued by leadership of Uzbekistan. Second of all, relations with the US are important for Uzbekistan in terms of keeping situation In Afghanistan under control. Instability in a neighboring country is a hindrance for Uzbekistan.Establishment of better relations with the United States on Afghan issues can give Tashkent opportunity to restore exchange of information, establish cooperation and coordination, especially in northern regions of Afghanistan. Third of all, the US position can play an important role in normalization of relations between Uzbekistan and the EU, which have been frozen since suppression of the rally in Andijan in May of 2005," he noted.
Todua believes that there are good prerequisites for fulfilling all these tasks and goals. "President Mirziyoyev demonstrates readiness to establish constructive dialogue on all issues, and his domestic policy reforms demonstrate that he's ready for bold experiments, unprecedented for Uzbekistan. As for possible impact of normalization of relations between Uzbekistan and the United States on relations between Tashkent and Moscow, Russia and Uzbekistan maintain long-standing strategic relations, their importance for both sides in politics, economy, military sphere, science and culture is obvious. It's unlikely that Washington will try to complicate development of relations with Tashkent by any conditions, Uzbekistan is not a country that can be forced to do something, even Americans can't do that," Todua said.
Press secretary of the President of Uzbekistan, Komil Allamjonov, announcing the visit of Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the United States, called it historical and specified that talks with Trump will be held on May 16. "President Trump and President Mirziyoyev will resume bilateral strategic partnership between the United States and Uzbekistan and will discuss Uzbekistan's progress in implementing important reforms, expanding trade and investments,as well as will address regional security issues, including stabilization of situation in Afghanistan," he said. Program of the visit also includes bilateral meetings in the US Congress, the Ministry of Defense and the State Department of the United States, as well as the World Bank. During this visit, sides will sign package of documents that will help to further strengthen bilateral relations in various fields.