By Farkhod Tolipov
September 18, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoev’s state visit to Tajikistan on March 9-10, 2018, represented a
“closure of the circle” in a series of trips since Mirziyoev was elected and proclaimed Central Asia as the new
foreign policy priority for Uzbekistan. The visit marked the start of a thaw between these states. On August
17-18, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon made the first Tajik state visit to Uzbekistan in the entire
period since independence. The two Presidents signed a long-awaited Treaty on Strategic Partnership,
implying that Uzbekistan is now completely surrounded by strategic partners in Central Asia.
By Batir Tursunov
September 5, 2018, the CACI Analyst
At its June 22, 2018, plenary session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian Region.” According to Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry, all UN members unanimously supported the draft document, developed by Uzbekistan along with other Central Asian states.
By Sanjar Valiyev
June 11, 2018, the CACI Analyst
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Washington was historic, being the first official visit of an Uzbek president since 2002. Mirziyoyev’s reception, and the breadth and width of agreements signed, constitute an acknowledgement of the reform process in Uzbekistan, as well as of the country’s newfound regional role and in particular its constructive approach to resolving the problem of Afghanistan. Washington’s engagement in these efforts will further improve the prospects of success in Uzbekistan’s domestic reforms and regional initiatives.
Uzbekistan: A New Model for Reform in the Muslim World?
Dramatic and important changes are taking place in Central Asia. For more than a year the region’s historic core and geopolitical focal point has been immersed in a whirlwind of reform without precedent in the region. At a time when one-man rule has been reinforced in China and Russia, when the rule of law is in abeyance in countries as diverse as South Africa and Venezuela, and when most Muslim majority societies appear to be receding into a new authoritarianism informed by religious ideology, Uzbekistan has instituted reforms that are ambitious in aim and extensive in scope.
It is far too early to say how it will all come out, or even how far it will go. But there is little doubt that that the current reforms are all organized around solid commitment to the rule of law, the rights of citizens, elective governance, an open market economy, religious tolerance, cordial relations with the great powers without sacrificing sovereignty, and a new embrace of the Central Asian region itself as an actor on the world state. It’s time for the world to take stock of this startling development.
By Tristan Kenderdine
April 16, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Following high-profile visits by Premier Li Keqiang in 2015 and Xi Jinping in 2016, China’s is domestically devolving its trade and industrial relationship with Uzbekistan to provincial and prefectural levels of government. However, financing for China’s investment in Uzbekistan remains either directly invested or indirectly coordinated by one of China’s three central policy banks, Export-Import Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Agricultural Development Bank of China. Since 2014, the Exim Bank has committed to fund Belt and Road projects worth around US$ 120 billion, which corresponds to nearly a full year’s GDP for Uzbekistan. These quasi-sovereign wealth funds certainly pose a systemic debt risk, but are not necessarily a debt-trap.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.