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25/December/2020   Politics

Ambassador Daniel Rosenblum: Despite the challenge of the pandemic, US-Uzbekistan bilateral relations continued to advance

TASHKENT, December, 25. /«Dunyo» IA/. Ambassador of the United States of America Daniel Rosenblum gave an exclusive interview to «Dunyo» Information Agency and spoke about development of the bilateral Uzbek-American relations in the outgoing year and theirs prospects.

- As known, the outgoing year was a year of great challenges for the whole world in connection with the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has affected all spheres of human life, including international cooperation. How do you assess the development of bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and the United States during this difficult period?

- This has been a difficult year for all of us. Covid-19 has taken many loved ones from us and caused great economic hardship. Yet shared hardship can bring friends even closer, and so it was with the United States and Uzbekistan this year. Despite the challenge of the pandemic, US-Uzbek bilateral relations continued to advance.

One high point was the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Tashkent. Just last month, our governments elevated our annual bilateral consultations to a Strategic Partnership Dialogue. This reflects the growth of our mutual trust and the expansion of our mutual interest in a stable and prosperous Central Asia.

I would also say that, despite the pandemic, in 2020 we continued to find important ways to support President Mirziyoyev’s ambitious and comprehensive reforms of your country’s economic, social and political system. There are far too many examples to list here but if anyone is interested in learning more, they can visit our US Embassy website. It is worth noting that in response to the pandemic, the U.S. greatly increased its support of Uzbekistan’s public health system, providing over $9 million of assistance so that your country’s courageous doctors and nurses have the supplies they needed to save lives. We look forward to cooperating with Uzbekistan even more closely in 2021. 

- Interaction between Uzbekistan and the United States is actively developing not only in a bilateral format, but also on various platforms, in particular, in the C5 + 1 format. What can you say about the prospects for this interaction and what are the key priorities of the United States in developing cooperation with the Central Asian region?

- The C5+1 has shown regional security in Central Asia is a cross-border, international issue - and that by addressing security concerns together, we see an opportunity to make our countries and populations more stable and secure.

We are pleased that the five Central Asian countries see the C5+1 as a useful forum for such common action, and also encouraged to see them come together on their own to discuss regional cooperation on issues like trade and counterterrorism

In 2020 we expanded our C5+1 projects to include the Central Asia Regional Electricity Market, led by USAID, working to enhance energy security and attract investments in the power sector across Central Asia.

We are proud of the progress the C5+1 has made in implementing its joint projects, which support our shared goals of increasing economic connectivity and trade, mitigating environmental challenges, and jointly addressing security threats.

- As you know, Uzbekistan promotes the socio-economic reconstruction of Afghanistan, implementing a number of infrastructure projects in this country and providing social support to the population. At the same time, a new US-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan format was created this year. How could the United States support the economic component of this interaction and the investment projects initiated by Uzbekistan?

- We have a common interest in combating regional threats like terrorism, and in building stability in Afghanistan. Over the past year, Uzbekistan has developed into one of our closest and most valuable partners with respect to promoting peace and economic prosperity in Afghanistan. 

Support from Central Asia for the Afghan peace process is an important factor in achieving peace and we appreciate the leadership role Uzbekistan plays in this respect.  The Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation continues to work with all interested parties, and in close coordination with the Afghan people and the Afghan government, to facilitate intra-Afghan negotiations to end the war and ensure that Afghanistan is never again used as a platform for terrorism.   

With an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, expanded trade and regional connectivity between Central and South Asia will bring economic benefits to all through access to new markets. The US is encouraged by Uzbekistan’s efforts to connect Afghanistan to Central Asian markets, and will explore ways that it can support its various projects, either bilaterally or through international financial institutions.

- What can you say about the future scenario for the development of bilateral and multilateral relations in Central Asia in connection with the arrival of the new US administration?

- I do not expect a sharp change in US policy towards Uzbekistan. I have now served in four different Administrations, under four different Presidents, over the past 23 years, two Democratic and two Republican. And I have been far more struck by the continuity of policy than any change in policy. The basic premise of US policy towards Uzbekistan and in Central Asia as a whole has remained consistent: we want stability in the region and we want to help countries maintain their sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. And we believe the best way to support bоth stability and sovereignty is to find ways to cooperate on security issues; to promote more trade and investment, as well as reforms aimed at modernizing and opening economies; and to help countries achieve more accountable governance structures that respect rights and respond to citizens.

President Mirziyoyev’s ambitious reform agenda creates a compelling case for expanded bilateral cooperation that any American administration, whether Democratic or Republican, will seek to pursue.

- Mr. Ambassador, we thank you for this conversation and wish you good health and success in the new year. What would you like to wish the Uzbek people on these New Year's Eve days?

- On behalf of the people of the United States of America and my colleagues at the American Embassy in Tashkent, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to the people of Uzbekistan on the New Year. I wish you and your families good health, peace, prosperity, and happiness.

Happy New Year!

Yangi yilingiz muborak bo’lsin!

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