Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Gayrat Fozilov and U.S. Department of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Assistant Secretary Donald Lu led in Tashkent the third session of the Strategic Partnership Dialogue (SPD) between Uzbekistan and the United States. The United States-Uzbekistan SPD was inaugurated to foster understanding between the two countries and to hold discussions on a range of issues critical to advancing the U.S.-Uzbekistan bilateral relationship.
The delegations discussed the growing partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the United States in political, economic, security, human, and cultural dimensions. The United States reaffirmed its unwavering support for Uzbekistan’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
Deputy Minister Fozilov opened the session by celebrating the current dynamism in bilateral relations as well as the comprehensive work carried out by both sides in 2023 to strengthen strategic partnership ties. Assistant Secretary Lu thanked Uzbekistan for President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s participation in the inaugural C5+1 Presidential Summit on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
The delegations reaffirmed the importance of continuing close political-diplomatic cooperation, including through high-level bilateral exchanges as well as collaboration within international institutions. The United States reaffirmed support for Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization. The two sides exchanged views on regional issues such as continuing humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and enhancing constructive partnership through the C5+1 diplomatic format.
The delegations celebrated their economic partnership, sharing a desire to continue to grow and diversify trade and investment, advance agricultural reforms in Uzbekistan, improve women’s economic empowerment, and jointly address the climate crisis. The U.S. side welcomed Uzbekistan’s ongoing reforms aimed at liberalizing the economy.
Deputy Minister Fozilov emphasized Uzbekistan’s commitment to continue irreversible democratic reforms including through such areas as promoting respect for human rights, including freedom of religion or belief, combating trafficking in persons and corruption, and preventing gender-based violence. Assistant Secretary Lu highlighted increasing U.S. assistance to support these reforms.
The delegations stressed the importance of strengthening security cooperation through deepening ties between defense departments, law enforcement agencies, and border and customs authorities. The United States and Uzbekistan also discussed people-to-people ties. Both sides emphasized the importance of continuing cultural preservation initiatives, educational exchanges, and English language programming, as well as the need to strengthen Uzbekistan’s healthcare system.
The United States and Uzbekistan signed a bilateral Cultural Property Agreement, which strengthens our diplomatic ties in the fight against the looting and trafficking of ancient art, artifacts, and cultural objects. The Agreement commits both countries to combating the illicit trade of antiquities, historical artifacts, and cultural objects and ensures that undocumented objects from Uzbekistan that may have been illegally obtained or exported will not cross U.S. borders.
The delegations intend to continue to hold expert-level working groups in order to foster a constructive exchange of views on topical issues discussed during the SPD session. Deputy Minister Fozilov and Assistant Secretary Lu concluded the SPD by noting that working collectively on issues of mutual interest makes Uzbekistan and the United States stronger. The next United States-Uzbekistan Strategic Partnership Dialogue is scheduled to be held in Washington, DC in 2024.
Source : CNBC