Today it is a fact that the newly elected president of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev has moved Central Asian neighbourhood into new era – “zero problems with each other.”
Many were sceptical when he said that Central Asian regional relations would be one his priorities, if to be exact, “We always remain committed to adopting an open, friendly and pragmatic position toward our immediate neighbours –Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan.” This address was delivered in September 8, 2016, in the first day of Mirziyoyev's interim presidency.
Then started visits of high-rank officials to and from neighbouring countries, which had become rare for a long period.
In late September 2016 Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov visited Dushanbe to discuss with Emomali Rahmon state and prospects of further expansion of bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Tajik president’s official website informed that they outlined water-and-energy and transportation spheres as well as issues of mutual travels of citizens of the two countries as directions requiring an active and constructive interaction… Ice in Tashkent’s relations with Dushanbe started melting. Long try of "well-wishers” who did a lot so that the relations between two brother countries could reach the cool stage has ended unsuccessfully…
Flights between Tashkent and Dushanbe were suspended in 1992. On November state bodies of two countries signed an agreement for flights to resume between the two countries for the first time in 24 years. Under the agreement there would be twice-weekly flights between Dushanbe and Tashkent serviced by Uzbekistan Airlines and Tajikistan’s Somon Air.
On December 28, 2016 a large government delegation of Uzbekistan, led by Deputy Prime Minister, Rustam Azimov visited Dushanbe and was received by tajik President Emomali Rahmon. During the visit there was reached agreement that a number of new border crossing points would be opened along Tajikistan’s common border with Uzbekistan, established cooperation between the customs services of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Another country that had tensions with Uzbekistan, mainly because of non-demarcated sections of the border was Kyrgyzstan.
At the invitation of the government of Uzbekistan a large delegation of Kyrgyzstan, with first vice-premier Muhammetkaliy Abulgaziyev as a head visited Andijan region of Uzbekistan on October 1, and there was signed a memorandum on border cooperation.
On October 26 delegation of Uzbekistan headed by deputy prime-minister Adham Ikramov paid a return visit to Kyrgyzstan, to bordering Osh region.
On the eve of New Year the President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev visited Uzbekistan. During the visit it was announced that the negotiations regarding the delimitation and demarcation of borders and cross-border cooperation in the Fergana Valley, which had already started at a lower level, would be accelerated.
Between these official visits artists of Kyrgyzstan’s Osh state Uzbek-language academic musical drama theatre named after Muhammad Bobur visited Uzbekistan to stage plays in Andijan, Namangan and Ferghana regions…
Having good steps in relations with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan has focused also on improving relationships with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid a state visit to Turkmenistan on March 6-7 at the invitation of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, where two state leaders adopted a Joint Statement and signed an Agreement on strategic partnership between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan. The principles of cooperation between the countries were agreed as “Good neighbourhood and fraternity”.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Astana that starts tomorrow, on March 22 proves again the importance of friendly relations in Central Asia for new Uzbek President. Improving current mutually respected partnership between the two largest states of the region, enhancement of bilateral relations and joint counteraction to challenges and threats posed to stability and security in Central Asia will serve to increase the role of Central Asia in the world scene.