Uzbekistan Foreign Minister Visits Afghanistan to Boost Economic Ties

On March 12th, a delegation led by Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov visited Kabul to attend a meeting with officials of Afghanistan’s interim government: Acting Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi, Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Acting Foreign Minister Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, and Acting Minister of Commerce and Industry Nooruddin Azizi.

According to the Uzbek Foreign Ministry, discussions focused on boosting economic ties and creating more favourable conditions for both countries’ business sectors.

In a broadcast by Afghan TOLOnews, the Afghan government stated that in addition to economic cooperation, regional connectivity and transit through Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, the meeting covered the opening of an Afghan embassy in Uzbekistan. Attention was also paid to the Uzbek delegation’s interest in investment in a cement factory, coal mining, and a project to produce 200 megawatts of electricity from coal in Afghanistan.

Referencing the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, TOLOnews reported on a statement by Uzbekistan’s minister of water resources. Having outlined his country’s experience in manufacturing equipment for the construction of dams and canals, as well as water management at a regional level, the minister declared Uzbekistan’s readiness to cooperate with Afghanistan in these fields.

The issue of transboundary water use had come to the fore last month following Afghanistan’s announcement that construction has begun on the second phase of the Qosh Tepa Canal.