Results of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Uzbekistan (Russian press digest)

Putin forgiven Karimov’s debt (“Nezavisimaya Gazeta”)

Russia will write off 865 million USD of the debt of Uzbekistan, will provide an opportunity to create a free trade area (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEC) and the Russian company Lukoil will invest about $ 5 billion in projects in Uzbekistan by 2039. These are the main results of the visit Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tashkent.

The debt relief will open up new lines of credit, particularly in the arms trade, said presidential aide Yury Ushakov. Already during the negotiations Vladimir Putin expressed the hope that the development of military-technical cooperation (MTC) will be supported on both sides. Islam Karimov confirmed that “he is in favor of the planned expansion of contacts in this important area, especially through the implementation of previously signed long-term programs.”

In the course of negotiations, the presidents took time to discuss situation in Afghanistan taking the time and. Reformatting of the US military presence in Afghanistan would only exacerbate the situation in that country, particularly in the Northern Afghan. The border issue however, was never a main concern for Uzbekistan. The whole “transit threats” from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, as in Russia, carried out through the third countries. That is why Vladimir Putin said today that “particularly urgent cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan is ensuring peace and stability in Central Asia.”

“During Putin’s visit, attention is drawn to the appeal of both presidents to the role of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in regional security. I think this means that the suspension of Uzbekistan’s membership in the CSTO last year is not going to be a subject to revision. Russia is in agreement with the status quo, as it is considering the CSTO just as a local mechanism, which is unable to influence the situation in the region. SCO with its Chinese participation is not a military organization, but Uzbekistan is not particularly in need of a military assistance. The focus should be more on political cooperation and intelligence services to work together within the SCO, “- says Knyazev. By the way, the headquarters of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is located in Tashkent.

According to the expert, the appeal of Uzbekistan to the format of the SCO regional security logically fits into the main paradigm of Tashkent’s foreign policy: the bilateral relations are paramount, and regional or international alliances are of interest only if they are truly efficient while at the same time do not create a burden of obligations which go beyond national interests. This explains why Tashkent suspended its membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Putin’s message referring to the Free Trade Area between Uzbekistan and the EAEC; “We made an agreement to start consultations on the possibilities of signing of the appropriate documents”, sounded as a finishing chord in the talks between Putin and Karimov.

“Uzbekistan is involved in the agreement on CIS free trade zone, and the current decision on the establishment of an FTA with the EAEC would be the ideal option for Uzbekistan. Due to the nature of its positioning in the foreign policy, Uzbekistan can still afford multi-vector strategy. Although, apparently, the potential of it is exhausting, “- said,” NG “Knyazev.

With the feeling of relieved debt (“Kommersant”)

Negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Islam Karimov held at the residence of the Uzbek president. Russian journalists have experienced the greatness of Uzbek hospitality: right next to the press center there was a restaurant where the early morning tables were set with all that needed to distract people from performance of their journalistic duty!

Open negotiations began with Islam Karimov emphasizing that relationship between the two countries are based on deep relationship that presidents of Russia and Uzbekistan have developed in the course of many years.

And again, just like at the previous meeting with Vladimir Putin, Islam Karimov took a time to speak about the problem of Afghanistan. I must admit [the author of the article says] that the concerns that he had expressed 2-3 years ago about the consequences of the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces from Afghanistan, at that time sounded as an exaggerated to say the least, but now they are rapidly coming true.

– Any vacuum of power in Afghanistan – said the president of Uzbekistan, is instantly filled by terrorist groups creeping expansion of militant extremism! It is repeating of scenario that takes place in Iraq! Some elements from the Syrian and Iraqi ISIS are already present in Afghanistan! We should be proactive!

– The fratricidal war continues in Afghanistan for 35 years – the president of Uzbekistan continued.- Removal of peacekeeping forces from Afghanistan is ordeal for all of us …

Is there other issue that concerns Karimov beside Afghanistan? It seems that there is: the CIS and the Eurasian Union.

– CIS – said Islam Karimov – exists as long as it is needed for the Russian Federation. Once Russia lose its interest – and the CIS ceases to exist. And it would be wrong!

From his speech it became clear, that he is concerned that the functioning of the Eurasian Union would bury the CIS:

– It is necessary to consider the program for the CIS that wouldn’t overlap with the one of the Eurasian Union. For example leaders of Eurasian Union gather and spend a half-day to resolve some issues, and right after that CIS gathers and actually duplicates the same decision … this must be avoided!

Islam Karimov, by all indications would not want to stay on the sidewalk, in terms of politic and in general. He might be inclining to join the Eurasian Union, but until that happens he fights for the CIS.

About Ahmed Islamov

I was born and raised in Uzbekistan and lived in that country for about two thirds of my life. I left the country about 14 years ago but sustained tight bonds with my family and friends living there. I know and communicate personally with hundreds of people including blue-, white- or pink-collar workers. I am naturally very attached to and concerned with everything that is going on there.
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