Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article titled “Russia-Uzbekistan relations in the modern period” for a special issue of the Budget magazine dedicated to the 30th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan, September 1, 2021
This year Uzbekistan marks the 30th anniversary of independence. Hard and productive work helped the republic achieve noticeable progress in state building and socioeconomic development.
I state with satisfaction that over the past three decades, through joint efforts, Moscow and Tashkent have managed to establish comprehensive cooperation and to strengthen age-old bonds of friendship and neighbourliness.
Russian-Uzbek interaction is based on a strong legal framework that includes about 350 international agreements and interagency documents, of which the Treaty on the Foundations of Interstate Relations, Friendship and Cooperation (May 30, 1992), the Strategic Partnership Treaty (June 16, 2004) and the Treaty on Allied Relations (November 14, 2005) are of fundamental importance.
A particularly trust-based political dialogue at the highest and high levels boosts the efforts to further deepen our strategic partnership and alliance. Large-scale agreements on joint projects worth tens of billions of US dollars have been signed following the summit meetings and are now being implemented. For example, during President Putin’s state visit to Tashkent in October 2018, a package of agreements and contracts worth over $27 billion was signed. Preparations for the Uzbekistan leader’s state visit to Russia are underway.
Intergovernmental and interagency contacts are being promoted. The dialogue between parliaments and regions is expanding. I would like to note the activities of the Joint Commission at the level of the heads of government of Russia and Uzbekistan, which is designed to coordinate joint efforts aimed at expanding bilateral cooperation in its entirety. Its second meeting, which added dynamism to our practical cooperation, was held in Moscow in June.
Growing trade remains a vivid evidence of the success of our joint work. As of the end of 2020, it reached $5.9 billion and exceeded the previous year’s volume by 15.6 percent. Russia - with its share of 15.5 percent - ranks second among Tashkent’s key foreign trade partners. We plan to bring mutual trade to $10 billion in the mid-term perspective.
The Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation is working productively. Its 21st meeting was held in Bukhara in October 2020. The intergovernmental Programme for Economic Cooperation to 2024 is being implemented as is the Action Plan for its realisation, which includes over 100 promising projects in a broad range of industries, transport, energy and agriculture, as well as finance and banking, taxation and digital spheres. More than 2,000 Russian companies and joint ventures are operating effectively in the republic, with Russian investment in the local economy amounting to about $10 billion. In turn, over 600 companies with the participation of Uzbekistan residents are incorporated in our country.
Cooperation in the social and labour sphere is expanding. More than 2 million Uzbekistan nationals work in Russia. By late 2020, they had transferred home over $4.3 billion.
Scientific and technical cooperation covering the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is in the process of becoming a flagship area of cooperation. The construction of a Russian-designed nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan, the first one in Central Asia, is being worked through. I am confident that the successful completion of this project will help the republic make a technological breakthrough.
Ties in healthcare, education and culture are gaining momentum. Twelve branches of Russian universities are operating in Uzbekistan, including Moscow State University and MGIMO, and several more will open soon.
I would like to highlight our constructive cooperation in fighting the coronavirus infection, including the fast-track registration of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in Uzbekistan. Over 200,000 two-component vaccine doses have been delivered under the existing agreement. The launch of joint production of the vaccines in Uzbekistan in August was an important step forward. I am sure this will improve the epidemiological situation in that country.
Russia and Uzbekistan have been productively cooperating in the international arena and closely coordinating their efforts at the UN, including on matters of ensuring security and stability in Central Asia and combating international terrorism, extremism and organised crime.
Acting through the Russia-UNDP Trust Fund, we support projects to promote employment and improve the sustainability of agriculture and to combat climate change in Fergana Valley. A number of regional initiatives targeting aquatic environment are underway.
We prioritise further disclosure of the advantages of our countries' participation in multilateral associations, primarily, the CIS and the SCO. The Eurasian Economic Union market offers an impressive potential for building up mutual trade and expanding its nomenclature. In this regard, we welcome the fact that Uzbekistan obtained the status of an observer state with the EAEU.
Clearly, going beyond what has already been achieved is in our common interests. Today, we are faced with an ambitious goal to bring bilateral relations to new heights for the benefit of the citizens of Russia and Uzbekistan and in the name of strengthening regional security and stability. We stand ready to work on effectively achieving this goal in conjunction with our friends from Uzbekistan.