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02/December/2021   Analytics

A view from Norway: The current foreign policy course of Uzbekistan is constructive and meets the interests of the entire region


 

TASHKENT, December 2. /“Dunyo” IA/. On November 30, the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan (ISRS) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (Norsk Utenrikspolitisk Institutt, NUPI) organized an online meeting to discuss the cooperation between experts of the two countries, reports “Dunyo” IA correspondent.

The event was also attended by representatives of the International Institute for Central Asia (IICA), the Institute of Forecasting and Macroeconomic Research (IFMR) and the Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR).

The agenda of the meeting covered issues of regional cooperation and security in Central Asia, the situation in Afghanistan, as well as the development of green energy.

Sanjar Valiyev, Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan highlighted the importance and significance of the meeting organized by the leading think tanks of the two countries for the first time.

According to the ISRS Deputy Director, the expert dialogue will contribute to the cooperation and close partnership between Uzbekistan and Norway, on a bilateral basis as well as within the framework of multilateral cooperation in the UN, OSCE and the EU.

Supporting this view, Kristin Fjæstad, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Research Group on Russia, Asia and International Trade at NUPI, agreed with the possible beneficial effect of established working contacts between the research institutes of the two countries. She emphasized the overlap in many research areas conducted by two institutes, which would serve as a good foundation for continued collaboration on various topics of mutual interest.

Timur Rakhimov, Head of the Research Group on Regional Political Analysis and Security (IICA), pointed out the relevance of studying the successful Norwegian participation in regional organizations, particularly in the Nordic Council. In his opinion, the application of successful practices will contribute to enhancing regional cooperation in Central Asia.

In this context, Indra Overland, Head of the Centre for Energy research at NUPI, praised the regional neighborhood policy pursued under the leadership of Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. It was emphasized that «the current foreign policy course of Uzbekistan is constructive and meets the interests of the entire region». Moreover, according to the Norwegian expert, «thanks to the ongoing reforms, Uzbekistan can further expand its potential».

Touching upon the current issues of regional security, Sharif Akhmedov, ISRS Chief Researcher, drew the participants’ attention to the active role of Uzbekistan in providing direct assistance to neighboring Afghanistan. The expert stressed that Tashkent was one of the first to send humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, consisting of food, medical supplies and clothing.

Furthermore, the main UN logistics center for assistance to Afghanistan started functioning in Termez. Uzbekistan has also begun reconstruction of the airport in Mazar-i-Sharif, to make it able to support international humanitarian aid supply. At the same time, Uzbekistan covers 52% of Afghanistan’s electricity imports, making it possible to operate social facilities there.

Roman Vakulchuk, Senior Research Fellow at NUPI, expressed a positive view of Tashkent's ambitions in the direction of green development. As noted by the representative of the Norwegian Institute, «Uzbekistan is increasingly sharing the global climate agenda and stepping up activities in the field of renewable energy. According to the expert, today the green energy has good potential for development in the region of Central Asia, taking into account the climatic conditions of the region and the readiness of international partners, such as the ADB, the EBRD, the World Bank to invest in this area.

Nozimjon Ortikov, Head of the Economic development sector of the Center of Economic Research and Reforms, pointed to Uzbekistan’s development of a roadmap for reducing carbon emissions, which will include practical measures to develop a green economy.

Following the event, the participants praised the fruitfulness of the dialogue, which confirmed the proximity of the approaches and positions of the experts of two countries on major international and regional issues. The parties agreed to establish permanent contacts within the framework of research activities.

 

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