Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) — On 21-23 November 2018, a governmental delegation of the Republic of Uzbekistan headed by Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov paid a working visit to Brussels.
The delegation also included the officials of the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Trade, the State Committee on Investments.
The Uzbek delegation took part in the 14th meeting of the Uzbekistan-European Union Cooperation Council, the next EU-Central Asia interregional meeting. The Uzbek delegation held bilateral talks with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for International Affairs cooperation and development by Neven Mimica, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria’s Presidency of the EU Karin Kneissl, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders.
During the stay in Brussels, the delegation members also held other working meetings.
During the talks, the state and prospects of expanding bilateral relations, as well as current regional and international problems were discussed in detail.
The European partners highly appreciated and supported the deep social and economic reforms carried out in our country at the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, as well as the new regional policy of Uzbekistan, which allowed in a short time to solve the most difficult tasks of water sharing, delimitation and demarcation of state borders for the better, the political atmosphere itself in the direction of strengthening trust and cooperation in Central Asia.
The parties agreed to begin intensive work on the preparation and holding in 2019 of the Uzbek-European summit in Brussels and the official visit of the head of Uzbekistan to Belgium, which should open fundamentally new chapters in the history of our relations.
An agreement was reached on the start of negotiations on the Agreement on Extended Partnership and Cooperation between Uzbekistan and the European Union, which will replace the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the European Communities and their member states in force on July 1, 1999. The European side submitted a corresponding draft document.
At meetings, it was repeatedly stressed that the EU attaches particular importance to the early accession of Uzbekistan to the World Trade Organization and will contribute to this process.
The European Union also confirmed its readiness to assist Uzbekistan in obtaining unilateral tariff benefits within the framework of the “General System of Preferences Plus”, which will facilitate the duty-free entry of more than 6,200 kinds of Uzbek goods into the European market.
The parties agreed to intensify cooperation in the field of education and training, considered the prospects for increasing the network of branches of leading European universities in Uzbekistan to train specialists in the fields in demand today.
The European side supported Uzbekistan’s efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan, including concrete steps to build a global and regional consensus on the peace process and an initiative to implement trans-Afghan transport and trade routes, to develop a training program for Afghan women.
During the visit, the Uzbek delegation signed agreements on the European Union’s financing of joint projects “Development of the livestock sector”, “Improving the quality of public services rendered by the justice authorities in the regions of the republic” with a total budget of 25 million euros.
Representatives of the Central Asian countries and the European Union agreed to develop and adopt by mid-2019 an updated EU Strategy for Central Asia, which will become the new Road Map for deepening inter-regional cooperation for the medium term.
The European side emphasized that the document will focus more on the priority areas of development of the Central Asian states.