A Magnificent Tradition of Neighborliness
Any bilateral relations should ultimately meet the interests of the people and work for the benefit of nations. Today, almost all news feeds are accompanied by sincere and joyful comments of representatives of two countries, namely, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Here are some of them: “Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Tajikistan and the signing of historical documents is an important milestone in the history of Central Asia. The two presidents have made a great contribution to strengthening friendship and good-neighborliness between our peoples”;
“This is a clear example of what relations between countries and between people should be! A resident of Tajikistan writes “welcome”, while Russian and Uzbek support each other! More and more I am proud of my Motherland”;
“Tajikistan is a huge market for goods and services from Uzbekistan. We sell more to Tajikistan than it does to us, so it is economically profitable for us to be friends with the Tajiks”;
“You need to be friends not only for the sake of economic gain, there are things more valuable: good-neighborliness, peace, peace of mind.”
In 2017, the trade turnover amounted to $ 240 million. This is the highest figure for the last 20 years. At the same time, reciprocal commodity deliveries without services have grown more than tenfold over the past two years.
Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Adham Ikramov: We are convinced that the identification of trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties initiated by the two presidents will give an opportunity in 2018 to reach new frontiers.
This is only a hundredth part of the people’s joy and support for foreign policy efforts of the leadership of Uzbekistan, aimed at developing friendly relations with neighboring countries. But along with a lot of positive feedback on the Web, you can also come across cautious statements. For example, the expert and head of the department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the Institute of the CIS of the Russian Academy of Sciences Andrei Grozin believes that it is impossible to overcome absolutely all differences in one meeting. This is simply not allowed by the laws of political dynamics. Laws, can, and do not allow, but to ignore the work that has begun and not to notice its results, no one can. Judge for yourself.
The 9-10 March visit was the first state visit in the history of Uzbek-Tajik relations. Before leaving, the press secretary of the head of Uzbekistan, Komil Allamjonov, said that 27 documents were expected to be signed in Dushanbe, the most important of which are the Joint Statement of the Presidents, the agreement on certain sections of the Uzbek-Tajik state border and the accord on mutual trips of citizens. However, he warned that the number of agreements could grow: “The President of our country works constructively and resolves many issues on the spot”.
The constructive approach turned out to be fruitful. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan once again demonstrated a decisive commitment to strengthen the partnership. It was decided to expand cooperation in the light and food industries, the production of building materials, agriculture, the processing of fruits and vegetables, and create favorable conditions for transit and interregional partnership.
Particular attention was paid to the volume of trade, which does not correspond to the available opportunities.
According to the heads of state, there is a huge potential between countries for bringing it to $ 1 billion. What measures are needed to achieve this figure?
First, the creation of joint ventures and trading houses, the support of foreign trade infrastructures and export-import operations, the continuation of the organization of bilateral business forums and exhibitions of industrial products.
Second, the full use of the common transport and communication capabilities and transit potential of the two countries. In this context, the issues of restoring the formerly functioning and creating new avenues for road, rail and air traffic acquire topical importance.
Third, support and stimulation of direct contacts of business people.
“The economy is our priority,” the President of Uzbekistan noted. “We will create all conditions for expanding trade and economic cooperation.” The words of the heads of state gave an immediate launch to a few projects: in Dushanbe, the two presidents gave an official start to the launch of the restored section of the inter-state railway line Galaba-AmuzangKhushadi, the movement along which was discontinued in 2011. The leaders pressed a symbolic button, launching a railway communication between the two countries. In the teleconference mode, they observed the departure of the train along the line connecting Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan and Khatlon region of Tajikistan. Emomali Rahmon called the resumption of the work of the line a big event. “Along with the increase in cargo traffic between our countries and the expansion of trade and economic ties, this creates prerequisites for improving social and economic life in the southern regions of Tajikistan, whose population exceeds 3.5 million people,” he said.
Within the framework of the visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Tajikistan, a business forum also took place. The event provided information on the conditions created in our country for foreign investors, manufactured products, tax and customs privileges for foreign business. The Tajik side held a presentation of the economic potential of its country. On the eve of this meeting, the first TajikUzbek business council was held in Dushanbe with the participation of more than a hundred representatives of small businesses, private entrepreneurship, interested ministries and departments. It signed contracts worth $ 20.5 million.
Negotiations at the highest level demonstrated that the partnership will be strengthened, the parties are ready to work shoulder to shoulder and act confidently to achieve new milestones. The basis of this work were the documents signed in Dushanbe following the negotiations. They create a new legal framework for further comprehensive development of mutually beneficial relations between countries. Among them are the Joint Statement on Strengthening Friendship and Good Neighborliness and the Treaty on Certain Areas of the Uzbek-Tajik State Border, as well as agreements aimed at further developing cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, investment, finance, transport and transit, agriculture, water and energy, taxes, customs, tourism, education and science, health, culture, interregional cooperation, security and countering crime.
Summing up the results of the state visit, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Emomali Rahmon noted at the meeting with the media that this historic visit was an important step for reaching agreements that are in the interests of the parties and will bring Uzbek-Tajik cooperation to a qualitatively new level.
“We discussed topical issues of strengthening UzbekTajik relations in the political, trade-economic, transportcommunication, energy and other priority areas. As a result, today signed significant documents: the State Border Treaty and the Agreement on mutual trips of citizens,” the President of Uzbekistan said. According to the latest document, citizens of two states can enter, leave, follow transit and temporarily stay in the territory of a neighboring country without visas for up to 30 days.
The head of our state said that there were no unresolved issues between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. “We discussed topical issues of strengthening UzbekTajik relations in the political, trade-economic, transportcommunication, energy and other priority areas. The agreements reached are of great importance not only for our peoples, but for the entire region,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. His opinion was supported by Emomali Rahmon.
The results of the visit were also highly appreciated by Tajik diplomats. “The long-awaited important event in the history of bilateral relations,” said Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Tajikistan to Kuwait Zubaydullo Zubaidov. “In Tajikistan, all the people were eagerly awaiting this visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. He opened a new page in our relations, became possible thanks to the constructive, pragmatic and open regional policy of the leadership of Uzbekistan, as well as personal friendly relations between the leaders of the two countries.
It is difficult to convey in words the festive atmosphere in Tajikistan in connection with the concrete measures taken by the parties aimed at restoring historically friendly relations between the two peoples that can never be divided. The adoption in a very short period of important decisions on the opening of checkpoints, the settlement of border issues, the resumption of land and air transport communications, the abolition of a visa for 30 days demonstrates the true desire of the President of Uzbekistan to expand and strengthen political, trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with Tajikistan.
President Emomali Rahmon always spoke and stands for strengthening friendly relations with the closest neighbor, Uzbekistan. Such a policy of the leader of our country fully reflects the sincere desire and aspiration of the Tajik people to preserve and deepen the closest relations with the Uzbek people. I am sure that bilateral relations are reaching a qualitatively new level. The Tajik and Uzbek peoples, under the wise leadership of our presidents, will achieve great success.”