German president visits Uzbekistan

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TASHKENT (TCA) — Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev discussed bilateral cooperation in the Uzbek capital on the second day of Steinmeier’s three-day official visit to Central Asia’s most populous country, RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service reported.

Mirziyoyev said after the talks on May 28 that Steinmeier’s visit “will contribute to the further development of bilateral ties between the two countries.”

Steinmeier expressed support for the course that the former Soviet republic was taking, saying that Berlin was “following the political, economic, and social change under your leadership with much respect and sympathy.”

“Germany wants to encourage and support you to continue resolutely along this path,” he added.

After the talks, the presidents of Uzbekistan and Germany attended a ceremony of signing bilateral documents, the press service of the Uzbek president reported.

The agreements penned included those on the exchange and protection of information, cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change, launch of production of commercial vehicles in cooperation with Volkswagen, among others.

President Mirziyoyev noted that these documents, especially the agreement between the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and the German companies Integra GmbH and Vamed Engineering GmbH on the establishment of the Center for Nuclear Medicine and Radiation Therapy in Tashkent, are quite important for the Uzbek people.

At a briefing for representatives of mass media, the two sides informed that the negotiations were held in a traditionally friendly and open atmosphere, in the spirit of mutual understanding, and that they resulted in important agreements.

“I am quite satisfied with the outcomes of today’s talks, itself a logical continuation of our meeting that took place in Berlin in January,” Mirziyoyev said. “We have thoroughly revisited almost every area of bilateral cooperation, including political dialogue, inter-parliamentary relations, trade and economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian interaction and much more. We’ve discussed the current state of the Uzbek-German relations and identified priorities and objectives for the future.”

Steinmeier is accompanied by a German business delegation on his trip.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Steinmeier to stress during his visit that the “positive changes” in Uzbekistan under Mirziyoyev have been “small steps on a long road.”

HRW said areas where further reforms are needed into the “vast” powers that Uzbekistan’s security services have retained and “persistent reports that arbitrary detention, torture, and other ill-treatment in custody are widespread.”

Sergey Kwan

TCA