Uzbekistan, Tashkent, Nov. 29 /Trend D.Azizov /
Uzbek President Islam Karimov and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton discussed the prospects of bilateral cooperation at a meeting on Wednesday, the head of state' s press service said.
"This meeting provides a good opportunity for a thorough analysis of the state of relations between Uzbekistan and the European Union and a definition of priority directions," Islam Karimov said.
Ashton thanked President Karimov for the warm reception and confirmed the interest of the EU to build relations with Uzbekistan on a long term and mutually beneficial basis.
The parties noted that over the years, Uzbekistan and the European Union have accumulated considerable experience of cooperation in different areas, a solid institutional framework for cooperation through bilateral and multilateral institutions. The main legal document regulating relations is the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation, signed in 1996 in Florence.
At a meeting of the EU and Uzbekistan leaders in Brussels in December 2011, the documents signed on its results brought relations to a qualitatively new level.
In 2011 mutual trade between the EU states and Uzbekistan increased by 19 per cent to $2.36 billion. The positive tendency continues in the current year.
Also, the willingness of the parties was confirmed to continue work for improved conditions and diversification of bilateral trade, further expansion of European investment capital in Uzbekistan and the implementation of joint projects through the available resources and technology.
The parties also expressed their mutual interest in the maintenance of direct contacts between government and non-government organisations in the cultural, scientific, educational and other spheres.
Current regional issues were discussed at the meeting. In particular, some issues of security and stability in Central Asia, including those related to the development of the situation in Afghanistan were considered.
On the same day a meeting of the EU representative with senior officials of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry took place during which the parties discussed implementation of the previously signed agreements at the high and the highest levels, enhancing bilateral and multilateral cooperation and support to joint projects in trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian areas.
The meeting was attended by the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Patricia Flor and the head of the EU delegation in Uzbekistan Ambassador Norbert Jousten.