Baku, Azerbaijan, March 28
By Fakhri Vakilov – Trend:
Second round of consultations on a new agreement on expanded cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan is planned to be held in Brussels in the first half of this year, Trend reports with reference to the ambassador of Uzbekistan in Belgium, Dilyor Khakimov.
The European Parliament (EP) approved the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee with recommendations to the executive bodies of the EU to work on a new agreement on an expanded partnership with Uzbekistan.
The new agreement on the expanded partnership between the EU and Uzbekistan is intended to replace the current treaty, which has been in force since 1999.
The report notes that the new foreign policy of Uzbekistan has led to improved cooperation with neighbors and international partners, in particular, to promote stability and security in the region, and also expressed support for the positive participation of Uzbekistan in the peace process in Afghanistan. The EP also supported Uzbekistan’s efforts to join the WTO, which would attract more foreign direct investment.
"Representatives of the European Parliament’s international affairs committee visited Uzbekistan in August-September last year. We are very positive here and expecting the support from our European colleagues in advancing all procedures under the agreement on extended partnership and cooperation between the EU and Uzbekistan," the ambassador commented on the vote in EP.
He noted that great attention in the treaty, which was discussed by the parties, is devoted to those issues that are priorities for Uzbekistan, including five areas of the development strategy until 2020, which include, among other things, attracting investment, reforming the social, economic and political spheres and attention to regional security issues.
"European partners are studying the documents that have been adopted in Uzbekistan over the past two years," the ambassador said, noting that the negotiation process on the agreement will take some time.
"The negotiation process began in February, when delegation headed by Luc Pierre Devigne, head of the European External Action Service responsible for Central Asian region, visited Uzbekistan. The first round passed, and we expect the process to continue. The next round should be held in Brussels, probably, in the first half of this year," the diplomat stated.
He stressed that there is a block of issues in the document which is of particular interest to the Uzbek side, in particular, the expansion of investment, trade and economic cooperation with the EU.
"The priority for us is the content of the document itself, so that it will be full-fledged, well thought out and fulfilled and could lay a good foundation for the coming years. The previous document served for more than two decades, the new document should become just as solid " Khakimov underlined.
Earlier he said that the EU plans to complete negotiations with Uzbekistan on a new comprehensive agreement as soon as possible, hoping that its conclusion will create a favorable environment for investment, as well as ensure interaction on foreign policy issues.
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