BISHKEK (TCA) — At the invitation of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov paid an official visit to Uzbekistan on December 13-14. The parties have close views on many issues, and "this has never been a history of Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations,” President Mirziyoyev said after the talks.
Jeenbekov and Mirziyoyev signed a Joint Statement to develop and strengthen strategic partnership, friendship, and good-neighborliness between their countries. The parties agreed “to maintain regular contacts at the highest level in order to develop constructive political dialogue and the progressive expansion of Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations”.
The completion of delimitation of the state borderline between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and its transformation into a border of friendship, good-neighborliness and cooperation meets the vital interests of the two fraternal peoples, the Statement says.
Fateful and historic events took place in the history of Kyrgyz-Uzbek relations this year. The Treaty on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek state border was signed between the countries.
“Removing restrictions at several checkpoints became a great joy for many people. Residents of the border regions took this event with tears of happiness,” President Jeenbekov said. “We will continue to work on delimitation of the remaining part of the state border,” he added.
Friendship with the neighbors is a priority for Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, President Mirziyoyev said. "Kyrgyzstan is the nearest neighbor for us. I am sure we will find common ground and will solve the existing problems. The residents of the border regions are especially waiting for us to make decisions," he concluded.
To develop cross-border cooperation, it is necessary to fully implement the Memorandum between the Governments of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on the establishment of the Councils of Plenipotentiaries of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in the border areas. Jeenbekov supported the proposal of the Uzbek side to hold the first meeting of the Council in the first quarter of 2018.
Since the beginning of 2017, the trade turnover between the two countries has grown by more than 60% compared to 2016. “This figure may increase to $280 million by the end of the year. We want to bring the trade turnover up to $500 million. We want to remove all existing obstacles. About 10-15 thousand people cross the border between the two states every day. The time will come when there will be no borders,” Mirziyoyev said.
It is necessary to develop trade infrastructure and mechanisms to support export-import operations, create joint trading houses, and to hold business forums and national exhibitions of industrial products on a reciprocal basis.
The national exhibitions and business forums successfully held in Bishkek and Tashkent in September and October helped to expand contacts between the businesses and conclude a package of trade agreements and contracts.
There is a great potential for expanding industrial cooperation of enterprises of the agro-industrial complex, agriculture, engineering and light industry, transport and communications, as well as increasing the number of significant joint projects.
It was agreed to assemble Uzbek agricultural machinery, cars, buses, special trailers, and household appliances in Kyrgyzstan, as well as to establish joint ventures in the textile sector and the production of building materials.
The two presidents stressed the need for strategic cooperation in the field of transportation and development of transit corridors ensuring the shortest and most effective access to foreign markets.
To maintain and develop regular passenger transport links between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, restoring regular passenger routes linking the Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken oblasts in the south of Kyrgyzstan with neighboring regions of Uzbekistan was considered. The resumption of flights between Kyrgyz and Uzbek cities was also discussed.
The rapid construction of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway fully meets the interests of the two countries, and will help increase the attractiveness of Central Asia as the most profitable and efficient transit corridor in the region, the presidents said. In this regard, the two countries agreed to jointly implement the project. On December 25, working groups of the two countries will discuss this issue.
“This project will open new opportunities for the economy of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and will create convenience for people. We are also ready to exchange experience on the projects "E-government" and "Safe City", Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov said.
The opening of bus, railway and air routes between Kyrgyz and Uzbek cities will contribute to increasing the passenger and tourist flow between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Starting from December 23, Bishkek-Tashkent and Tashkent-Bishkek flights will be operating twice a week, and from 2018, the Osh-Tashkent and Tashkent-Osh flights will resume, Kyrgyzstan’s Transport and Road Minister Jamshitbek Kalilov told journalists. The flights will be carried out by airlines of the two countries, he added.
The heads of state stressed the need to further build up and intensify bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, religious extremism, illicit trafficking in drugs and weapons, and other challenges and threats to regional and international security.
All necessary measures will be taken to improve cooperation through consultations of the relevant structures of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The sides confirmed the coincidence of positions on most of the pressing issues of ensuring peace, stability, security and sustainable development in Central Asia.
Joint documents signed
Several documents were signed between the Governments of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan including the Program of economic, scientific, technical and humanitarian cooperation for 2018-2021, and Agreement between customs agencies on a simplified procedure of customs operations when moving goods and vehicles (Simplified Customs Corridor).
An agreement on financial cooperation provides that the Uzbek side will allocate $100 million to Kyrgyz financial institutions. Kyrgyz entrepreneurs will be able to use this money to purchase goods, raw materials and other components in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Economy Minister Artem Novikov told reporters.
On December 13, Tashkent hosted a business forum of business circles of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. About 60 documents worth $140 million were signed at the forum. Representatives of more than 100 companies from Kyrgyzstan attended the forum.
According to Minister of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, Jamshid Khodjaev, Uzbekistan is ready to significantly expand the supply of cars and trucks, buses, specialized machinery, mineral fertilizers, electrical products and household appliances, building materials, ready-made textiles, fruit and vegetables to Kyrgyzstan.
A trade network popular in Uzbekistan plans to open a trading house in Kyrgyzstan. Khodjaev believes that it is necessary to open joint trading houses in both countries with constantly operating showrooms for mutual promotion of demanded products. This could significantly increase mutual trade.
Kyrgyzstan is ready to supply food products to Uzbekistan, such as honey, potatoes, onions, dairy and meat products, Kyrgyzstan’s Economy Minister Artem Novikov said.