Prag­ma­tism, Bedrock of For­eign Pol­icy

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - NEWS -

El­dor Aripov, Di­rec­tor of In­for­ma­tion-An­a­lyt­i­cal Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions:

- In many ad­vanced na­tions of the world, there is a prac­tice whereby the head of state ad­dresses the na­tional par­lia­ment on the most im­por­tant and ur­gent is­sues of po­lit­i­cal, so­cio-eco­nomic and demo­cratic de­vel­op­ment.

In his speech, the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan touched upon all as­pects of the life of the state and so­ci­ety. A spe­cial at­ten­tion was also paid to the is­sues of an ef­fec­tive, prag­matic and, most im­por­tantly, ef­fec­tive for­eign pol­icy course.

In this re­gard, it should be em­pha­sized that, like all other spheres of the coun­try's life, Uzbek­istan's for­eign pol­icy was marked in the past year with un­prece­dented dy­namism, open­ness, ini­tia­tive and prag­ma­tism in pro­mot­ing the coun­try's na­tional in­ter­ests in the in­ter­na­tional arena. This en­sured sig­nif­i­cant re­sults in cre­at­ing a se­cu­rity, sta­bil­ity and good neigh­bor­hood around Uzbek­istan, cre­at­ing fa­vor­able con­di­tions for the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the on­go­ing re­forms in the coun­try, deep­en­ing trade, eco­nomic and in­vest­ment ties with for­eign coun­tries, en­sur­ing the rights and in­ter­ests of Uzbek cit­i­zens abroad.

First, there was a sig­nif­i­cant in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of for­eign pol­icy ac­tiv­ity, in which the ac­tive per­sonal di­plo­macy of the Head of State set the tone. In 2017, 21 high-level vis­its took place; the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan held meet­ings with the lead­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of more than 60 states and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Thanks to this, break­through re­sults were achieved in the de­vel­op­ment of Uzbek­istan's re­la­tions with the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia and sig­nif­i­cant ad­vance­ment of our coun­try's strate­gic part­ner­ship with Rus­sia, China, the United States of America and the Repub­lic of Korea.

The ini­tia­tive and in­no­va­tive char­ac­ter of the for­eign pol­icy of the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan was clearly man­i­fested in the course of a large-scale change of par­a­digms in mul­ti­lat­eral di­plo­macy. Thanks to a prag­matic re­view of the old es­tab­lished ap­proaches and a firm «focus on re­sults», a new qual­ity of Uzbek­istan's in­ter­ac­tion with such au­thor­i­ta­tive in­ter­na­tional struc­tures as the United Na­tions, the Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Shang­hai Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Com­mon­wealth of In­de­pen­dent States was achieved.

A de­ci­sive role in this was played by high-level con­tacts, in­clud­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan in the SCO and CIS sum­mits, the work of the 72nd ses­sion of the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly, the visit of the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral A. Guter­res to Uzbek­istan.

Vis­its to Uzbek­istan of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights and the Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Free­dom of Re­li­gion or Belief were held for the first time. Uzbek­istan joined the ac­tiv­i­ties of a num­ber of CIS bod­ies, in­creased the level of rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the repub­lic in the statu­tory bod­ies of the Com­mon­wealth to the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter, stated about Uzbek­istan's in­ten­tion to hold the CIS sum­mit for the first time in many years. The «pause» in re­la­tions with the OSCE Par­lia­men­tary As­sem­bly was in­ter­rupted - our leg­is­la­tors joined in on its ac­tiv­i­ties. The coun­try's par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Union, the Fo­rum of Arab Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion with the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia and Azer­bai­jan has been re­newed.

Se­condly, in the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and in co­op­er­a­tion with mul­ti­lat­eral struc­tures, the pri­or­ity was to in­ten­sify prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion aimed at solv­ing ma­jor tasks of the coun­try's mod­ern­iza­tion and so­cial prob­lems. On the in­struc­tions of the Head of State, the most im­por­tant pri­or­ity of for­eign pol­icy ac­tiv­ity was the is­sues of ex­port pro­mo­tion, at­trac­tion of for­eign in­vest­ments and tech­nolo­gies, de­vel­op­ment of trans­port and tran­sit po­ten­tial and tourism.

Suf­fice it to say that more than 400 agree­ments were con­cluded dur­ing the con­tacts held at the high­est level, trade and in­vest­ment treaties were signed for a to­tal of

60 bil­lion US dol­lars. With a view to timely and qual­i­ta­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ments reached with for­eign part­ners, a new prac­tice for de­vel­op­ing and ap­prov­ing road maps for de­vel­op­ing co­op­er­a­tion with for­eign coun­tries was in­tro­duced for our coun­try. Over 40 road maps have been adopted since the be­gin­ning of the year, which are im­ple­mented jointly with for­eign coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, pro­vid­ing a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the ef­fec­tive­ness of in­ter­a­gency co­or­di­na­tion, the ac­tiv­i­ties of eco­nomic or­ga­ni­za­tions and en­ter­prises to im­ple­ment agreed pro­grams and co­op­er­a­tion projects.

The ef­fec­tive­ness of this work is ev­i­denced by a no­tice­able growth of the repub­lic's for­eign trade. Over the first 10 months of 2017, Uzbek­istan's trade with for­eign coun­tries grew by 16.6% to more than $ 22 bil­lion. The vol­ume of trade with Rus­sia in­creased by 18% ($ 4.01 bil­lion), China by 15% ($ 4 bil­lion) Kaza­khstan 12.3% ($ 1.71 bil­lion), Turkey - 31% ($ 1.23 bil­lion), the Repub­lic of Korea - 36% ($ 1.1 bil­lion).

The most im­por­tant pri­or­ity of for­eign eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity of Uzbek­istan was the ac­ti­va­tion and ex­pan­sion of the ge­og­ra­phy of in­ter­ac­tion with the lead­ing in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions. A ma­jor event was the restora­tion of co­op­er­a­tion with the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment, which re­sulted in the re­sump­tion of fi­nanc­ing by this in­sti­tute of so­cially sig­nif­i­cant projects in the re­gions of the repub­lic. Es­tab­lished part­ner­ships with the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank have been open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties to at­tract in­vest­ment re­sources of Euro­pean coun­tries. The in­ter­ac­tion with the World Bank, the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, the Is­lamic De­vel­op­ment Bank, and the Asian Bank for In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ments ac­quires a dy­namic char­ac­ter.

It should be em­pha­sized that struc­tural re­forms and ma­jor mod­ern­iza­tion pro­grams of ma­jor sec­tors of the econ­omy in our coun­try have caused a high dy­nam­ics of co­op­er­a­tion with world and re­gional de­vel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tions.

Thirdly, the most im­por­tant re­sult of the coun­try's for­eign pol­icy ac­tiv­i­ties in the out­go­ing year was un­doubt­edly the break­through of Uzbek di­plo­macy in the re­gional di­rec­tion, which has formed a qual­i­ta­tive im­prove­ment in re­la­tions with the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia and the cre­ation of con­di­tions for ef­fec­tive, mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the coun­tries of the re­gion.

Pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev de­clared the Cen­tral Asian re­gion as the main for­eign pol­icy pri­or­ity of Uzbek­istan, which was the start­ing point of the new re­gional pol­icy of Tashkent, which pro­vided for the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of of­fi­cial bi­lat­eral con­tacts and the all-round de­vel­op­ment of co­op­er­a­tion. In sup­port of this, the first state vis­its of Shavkat Mi­riziy­oyev took place in the neigh­bor­ing coun­tries of the re­gion, which was pos­i­tively re­ceived both in Cen­tral Asia and in in­ter­na­tional diplo­matic and ex­pert cir­cles.

Over the past time, the head of state held more than 20 meet­ings with the lead­ers of the states of the re­gion, car­ried out 10 state, of­fi­cial and work­ing vis­its at the high­est level. The strength­en­ing of re­la­tions with the lead­ers of Cen­tral Asian coun­tries and in­creas­ing their dy­namism is also ev­i­denced by reg­u­lar telephone con­ver­sa­tions with them.

Dur­ing these of­fi­cial con­tacts, strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion with Kaza­khstan was strength­ened by new eco­nomic agree­ments, strate­gic part­ner­ships with Turk­menistan and Kyr­gyzs­tan were es­tab­lished, and in­ter­ac­tion with Ta­jik­istan be­came pos­i­tive. To a large ex­tent, thanks to the new agree­ments of the heads of state, in­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment of trade-eco­nomic, in­vest­ment, pro­duc­tion-co­op­er­a­tive, trans­port and com­mu­ni­ca­tion links and cul­tural-hu­man­i­tar­ian co­op­er­a­tion is pro­vided.

A key el­e­ment of Uzbek­istan's new re­gional pol­icy was Tashkent's de­sire to step up diplo­matic work to re­solve ma­jor bi­lat­eral and re­gional prob­lems, in­clud­ing is­sues of de­lim­i­ta­tion of bor­ders and wa­ter use that had not been re­solved for many years. Thanks to the po­lit­i­cal will shown by the Pres­i­dent of the coun­try, in Septem­ber of this year a truly sig­nif­i­cant, his­toric event took place. Dur­ing the state visit to the Kyr­gyz Repub­lic, the Treaty on the State Border be­tween Uzbek­istan and Kyr­gyzs­tan was signed, set­tling the pas­sage of more than 80% of the border. In his speech at the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion, Pres­i­dent

Sh. Mirziy­oyev high­lighted the agree­ment, stress­ing the Uzbek side's readi­ness «for rea­son­able com­pro­mises with the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia on all is­sues with­out ex­cep­tion».

Thanks to the ac­tive pol­icy of Uzbek­istan in the Cen­tral Asian di­rec­tion, the sys­tem con­di­tions and pre­req­ui­sites for pro­vok­ing the growth of the con­flict po­ten­tial in the re­gion were vir­tu­ally elim­i­nated. The ideas of deep­en­ing and en­hanc­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion in Cen­tral Asia, cre­at­ing an at­mo­sphere of friend­ship and good-neigh­bor­li­ness have found their prac­ti­cal em­bod­i­ment.

The new ini­tia­tives set forth by the Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan in his speeches dur­ing the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion and at the UN In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Se­cu­rity and Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment in Cen­tral Asia (Novem­ber 10-11, 2018, Sa­markand) .

As a re­sult of the con­fer­ence, a com­mu­niqué was adopted in which the Cen­tral Asian states spoke in fa­vor of deep­en­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, re­solv­ing all dis­putes on the ba­sis of mu­tual com­pro­mises and re­spect for each other's in­ter­ests. The coun­tries of the re­gion sup­ported the ini­tia­tives of the Uzbek­istan lead­er­ship on the de­vel­op­ment of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing the core idea of launch­ing the mech­a­nism of reg­u­lar con­sul­ta­tive meet­ings of the heads of state of Cen­tral Asia.

Fourth, an im­por­tant part of the for­eign pol­icy course of Pres­i­dent Sh. Mirziy­oyev was the ac­ti­va­tion of Uzbek di­plo­macy in the Afghan di­rec­tion. Uzbek­istan has sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded its bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with Afghanistan, ac­tively joined mul­ti­lat­eral ef­forts to re­solve the Afghan prob­lem. An im­por­tant part of this pol­icy was the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Tashkent in the ac­tiv­i­ties of var­i­ous mul­ti­lat­eral mech­a­nisms to pro­mote the peace process and eco­nomic re­con­struc­tion of Afghanistan, the sup­port of the Uzbek side to in­volve Kabul in re­gional eco­nomic pro­cesses.

Un­doubt­edly, a ma­jor event in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions was the of­fi­cial visit to Uzbek­istan of the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of Afghanistan, A.Gani, suc­cess­fully held in early De­cem­ber of this year, which con­sol­i­dated a qual­i­ta­tively new level of po­lit­i­cal re­la­tions and prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, in­clud­ing agree­ments on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ma­jor projects for the con­struc­tion of the Surkhan - Pul-e-Khumri power trans­mis­sion line and the Mazar-i-Sharif - Shiber­gan - May­mana Herat rail­way.

The Uzbek side be­lieves that the de­vel­op­ment of bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion with Afghanistan, in­clud­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the agree­ments reached dur­ing the visit of the Afghan leader, will make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the restora­tion of the econ­omy and the sta­bi­liza­tion of this coun­try.

Fifth, the sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in the in­ter­na­tional im­age of the Repub­lic of Uzbek­istan has be­come an im­por­tant re­sult of pur­su­ing an en­er­getic, open and prag­matic for­eign pol­icy course of the Head of State, as well as deep po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial re­forms in the coun­try. This is ev­i­denced by a no­tice­able in­crease in in­ter­est in our coun­try in in­ter­na­tional ex­pert cir­cles.

Ital­ian ex­pert D. Kankarini notes that, hav­ing been in power for only one year, Pres­i­dent Sh. Mirziy­oyev demon­strated a high strate­gic vi­sion by re­for­mat­ting the coun­try's for­eign pol­icy, in­clud­ing on the ba­sis that it meets the needs of de­vel­op­ing its econ­omy. In his opinion, the Uzbek leader's as­pi­ra­tion for the de­vel­op­ment of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance, «since few peo­ple doubt that the de­vel­oped mech­a­nisms of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion will bring a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn to Cen­tral Asia.»

A well-known Kazakh an­a­lyst S. Akim­bekov is sure that «at the mo­ment there is an un­prece­dented in­ter­est in Uzbek­istan in the world. This is mainly due to high ex­pec­ta­tions for changes in this coun­try, which are as­so­ci­ated with the name of the new pres­i­dent Shavkat Mirziy­oyev. Un­der him, Uzbek­istan is al­ready chang­ing sig­nif­i­cantly and every­one is watch­ing this with gen­uine in­ter­est.»

Ger­man ex­perts of the Com­mit­tee on East­ern Euro­pean Eco­nomic Re­la­tions be­lieve that the new Pres­i­dent of Uzbek­istan, Shavkat Mirziy­oyev, «is pur­su­ing a course of re­forms in its coun­try to make it more com­pet­i­tive,» he seeks to «mod­ern­ize and di­ver­sify» the Uzbek econ­omy. This «fresh wind on the Silk Road» opens up op­por­tu­ni­ties for co­op­er­a­tion with Ger­man com­pa­nies.

The cre­ation of a fa­vor­able in­for­ma­tion back­ground around Uzbek­istan en­hances the pos­i­tive per­cep­tion of the repub­lic in the world and en­hances its in­vest­ment at­trac­tive­ness. As a re­sult, the im­age of Uzbek­istan is be­ing strength­ened as one of the at­trac­tive po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic part­ners.

The Pres­i­dent's in­no­va­tive for­eign pol­icy cre­ates the con­di­tions for fur­ther in­ten­si­fy­ing Uzbek di­plo­macy and Uzbek­istan's co­op­er­a­tion with the most im­por­tant part­ners in the re­gion and in the world. At the same time, it makes much more se­ri­ous de­mands on for­eign and for­eign pol­icy work­ers, which is de­signed to pro­vide con­di­tions for the mod­ern­iza­tion of the coun­try and the so­lu­tion of press­ing so­cial prob­lems. In this con­nec­tion, it is ob­vi­ous that it is nec­es­sary to achieve a qual­i­ta­tively new level in for­eign pol­icy and for­eign eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, in ac­cor­dance with the high goals set forth in the Ad­dress by the coun­try's lead­er­ship.

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