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Leonid Skakovskiy. American-Uzbek cooperation in 2016: conclusions and prospects

The 2016 started positively for the American-Uzbek relations. On January 19-20 another round of the Uzbek-American consultations took place in Washington. The USA delegation was headed by N. Biswal the Assistant Secretary of State for the Southern and Central Asian Affairs, the delegation of Uzbekistan was headed by A. Kamilov the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan. [1]

On May 12 Foreign Minister A. Kamilov had a meeting with the US Ambassador in RU P. Spratlen, which took place in the MFA of RU. The parties discussed questions of bilateral relations in various areas: the program of boundary and regional security, economic relations, civil society, etc. Ambassador P. Spratlen stated: “Uzbekistan is an important partner of the USA in ensuring stability, prosperity and safety in the region of Central Asia” and reminded that the USA rendered significant assistance to Uzbekistan in the area of safety. [2]

On August 19 Ambassador P. Spratlen gave an interview to the “Zhakhon” agency under the MFA of RU on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of independence of Uzbekistan. The ambassador declared: “The American-Uzbek relations cover a wide range of issues which are considered through active, frank dialogue taking into account mutual interests and respect.” [3]

On September 2 U.S. President B. Obama expressed support for the people of Uzbekistan with regard to the death of President I.Karimov. In particular, he declared: “At this challenging time the United States reaffirms its support for the people of Uzbekistan. As Uzbekistan begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to partnership with Uzbekistan, to its sovereignty, security, and to a future based on the rights of all its citizens.” [4]

At the same time American experts reasonably noted that the new head of Uzbekistan will have to navigate skilfully between Russia and the West. Analysts reminded that there were moments of ups and downs in the relations between Washington and Tashkent: they reached the highest point when Americans got access to the Uzbek base for operation in Afghanistan, and the lowest point – during the events of 2005. [5]

On September 9 the prime minister of RU S. Mirziyoyev spoke at the meeting of chambers of Parliament and declared: “The priority value in our foreign policy is kept by development of multilateral mutually beneficial and constructive cooperation with the United States of America”. At the same time S. Mirziyoyev emphasized: “A firm position of our country, as before, is non-alignment to any military-political blocks, prevention of placement of military bases and objects of other states in the territory of Uzbekistan, and also of stay of our military personnel outside the country.” [6]

On October 26 T. Shannon the Under Secretary of State arrived to Central Asia to hold the meeting in the “C5+1” format, he stated: “During this transition time we continue to maintain sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Uzbekistan and we remain committed to maintenance and strengthening of our partnership” [7]. During his visit to Tashkent T. Shannon was welcomed by the interim president of RU Sh. Mirziyoyev.


Economic cooperation

On March 10 Uzbek farmers signed protocols with contractors from the USA on intention for trade cooperation for $130 million within the Forum “Horticultural branch of Fergana Valley: the export potential”, organized by the USAID project on regional economic cooperation (REC). Representatives of retail chains, business associations, transport and logistic companies, farms and producers of agricultural products from the EU, Central Asia and other CIS countries participated in the Forum. [8]

On March 22-24 the representatives of 13 American companies arrived to Tashkent to discuss business opportunities of the republic. The round table was organized by the government of RU together with the U.S. Embassy, Commerce Department of the USA and the American-Uzbek trade board. [9] It should be recalled, that on September 14 USAID provided 112,5 tons of food for republican social and medical institutions within the “World Food Program”. [10]


Security cooperation

In 2016 Washington and Tashkent continued an intensive dialogue on security issues:

  • On February 25 the American-Uzbek meeting on safety issues in Central Asia and problems of improvement of military education system in RU took place in Washington [11];
  • On June 14 the commander of the Central Сommand of Armed Forces of the USA (CENTCOM) Joseph Votel held negotiations in the MFA of RU, where the parties discussed some questions of bilateral relations and exchanged opinions on international and regional problems [12];
  • On July 2 CENTCOM of the USA finished the transfer of 6 “MAN” trucks to frontier guards of RU. It should be recalled, that in 2015 CENTCOM delivered 20 units of the same vehicles to frontier guards of RU [13];
  • In August a new Uzbek boundary post along the border with Tajikistan was opened. CENTCOM of the USA financed this project, and Uzbekistan was responsible for its construction [14];
  • On July 18-29 specialists in English from the Ministry of Defence of the USA held a seminar for 16 Uzbek teachers of English from various institutions under the Ministry of Defence [15];
  • On October 18 the Khwarezm regional diagnostic laboratory constructed with assistance of the US Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) opened in Urgench. [16], etc.


Summary. In general, considering the fact that both the USA, and Uzbekistan undergo a process of updating of governing elite, 2017 will become a year of a new level of the American-Uzbek relations. Anyway, Uzbekistan will remain one of the major parts in the Central Asian strategy of future administration of Donald Trump, who won a victory at presidential elections in the USA on November 8 of this year. It may happen, that we will witness extraordinary steps of Washington and Tashkent in all areas of bilateral cooperation.


  1. Узбекско-американские переговоры: О чем говорят политики за закрытыми дверями //http://rus.ozodi.org/a/27499829.html.
  2. Вашингтон и Ташкент будут углублять сотрудничеств //https://eadaily.com/ru/news/2016/05/12/vashington-i-tashkent-budut-uglublyat-sotrudnichestvo.
  3. Посол США: страна стремится вести активный диалог с Узбекистаном //https://ria.ru/world/20160819/1474761480.html.
  4. Statement by the President on the Death of President Islom Karimov of Uzbekistan //https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/09/02/statement-president-death-president-islom-karimov-uzbekistan-0.
  5. Can Uzbekistan’s New Leader Balance China, Russia, and the U.S.? //http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/09/08/can-uzbekistans-new-leader-balance-china-russia-and-the-u-s.
  6. Текст: Выступление премьер-министра на заседании палат парламента //https://www.gazeta.uz/ru/2016/09/09/speech.
  7. Мы следим за подготовкой Узбекистана к президентским выборам и надеемся, что они пройдут спокойно, – заместитель госсекретаря США Т.Шеннон //http://ca-news.org/news:1339860.
  8. Узбекистан планирует реализовать в США сельхозпродукцию на $130 млн //https://regnum.ru/news/2094759.html.
  9. В Узбекистан прибыла делегация предпринимателей из США //https://regnum.ru/news/economy/2104622.html.
  10. США поставили в Узбекистан продовольствие для социальных учреждений //https://ria.ru/world/20160914/1476946036.html.
  11. Узбекистан и США провели переговоры в Пентагоне по безопасности в Центральной Азии //http://ca-news.org/news:1179622.
  12. Генерал США провел переговоры в МИД Узбекистана //https://ria.ru/world/20160614/1447593910.html.
  13. Центральное командование США налаживает партнерские отношения по обеспечению безопасности границ в Узбекистане //https://uz.usembassy.gov/ru/united-states-central-command-partners-border-security-uzbekistan-ru.
  14. Содействие США в сооружении нового узбекского пограничного поста //https://uz.usembassy.gov/ru/u-s-helps-construct-new-uzbek-border-post-ru.
  15. Центком США способствует обучению английского языка //https://uz.usembassy.gov/ru/united-states-central-command-partners-english-language-education-ru.
  16. США построили в Узбекистане диагностическую биолабораторию //http://ca-news.org/news:1337450.

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