Putin Says Nuclear Power Plant In Uzbekistan…

Putin Says Nuclear Power Plant In Uzbekistan Will Provide Central Asia With Energy

Vladimir Putin arrived in Uzbekistan, where he plans to discuss the current state and prospects of bilateral relations with President of the Republic Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Although Russia remains Uzbekistan’s largest trading partner, this status is a ready to challenge China, while the United States is becoming the largest investor in the economy of Tashkent.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in Tashkent on an official visit, has said a nuclear plant that will be built in Uzbekistan with Russian assistance will provide Central Asia with energy.

Putin told reporters in Tashkent after holding talks with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev that the plant in Uzbekistan’s western region of Navoiy will create “a new industry in Uzbekistan.”

“Two reactors with a capacity of 2.4 Megawatts each will produce cheap and clean electricity for customers in Uzbekistan and Central Asian countries, which will ensure energetic stability not only for Uzbekistan but for the whole region,” Putin said.

The Russian leader will stay in the Central Asian Republic for two days – October 18 and 19. During this visit, the Russian president will hold talks with his counterpart from Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyayev. The heads of state will also take part in the plenary session of the first Forum of interregional cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan on the topic “Agriculture as a priority direction in the development of Russian-Uzbek relations.”

According to the Kremlin press service, during the talks, the heads of state will discuss the current state and prospects for the further development of Russian-Uzbek relations, strategic partnership and alliance. By tradition, the discussion will deal not only with bilateral relations, but also with relevant regional and international issues.

Thus, presidential aide Yury Ushakov clarified that Putin and Mirzieev will discuss the situation in Afghanistan, as well as cooperation between Moscow and Tashkent within the framework of the SCO.

In addition to the conversation of the two leaders in a tete-a-tete format, the visit will also include negotiations in an expanded format with the participation of national delegations. Following the meeting, it is planned to sign intergovernmental, interdepartmental and commercial agreements. According to Ushakov, we are talking about 6-8 documents.

This visit by Putin to Uzbekistan will be the first in the last two years. The last time the Russian leader visited the Central Asian republic in September 2016 was to honor the memory of the first president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov.

Since then, Putin and Mirziyeev met six times.

And one of them is in the framework of the state visit of the President of Uzbekistan to Moscow in April 2017. Their last meeting took place on the margins of the CIS summit in Dushanbe at the end of September this year.

Active contacts between the leaders of the two countries contribute to the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries. According to Ushakov, by the end of 2018, bilateral trade could reach $ 5 billion, while by the end of 2017, this figure was $ 3.7 billion.

Russia is currently the main trading partner of Uzbekistan. However, other states are ready to challenge this status, first of all, China and the United States.

Following the results of the first half of the year, China came close to the indicators of Russia. If the share of our country in the total trade of Uzbekistan was 16%, then China has reached a figure of 15.9%.

At the same time, Beijing and Tashkent intend to actively increase their economic cooperation. In September, representatives of the two countries agreed to increase the volume of mutual trade turnover to $ 20 billion.

At the same time, relations between China and Uzbekistan began to develop much more intensively after the change of power in the Central Asian republic. Beijing, apparently, intends to use the same model of relations as with other countries of the region, such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan: investment in exchange for resources and loyalty.

At the same time, the second factor is even more important for China, since the whole of Central Asia is an important element of the Chinese project “One Belt – One Way”. To support this plan, China cooperates with the countries of the region in the field of security and the fight against terrorism.

The republic has a key position in Central Asia, it is located next to Iran, Russia and China, which are considered to be competitors of the United States.

But perhaps the main point of contact between the interests of Tashkent and Washington is the situation in Afghanistan. The main transport corridor of Americans to Afghanistan through Pakistan is becoming increasingly problematic and costly. The differences between Pakistan and the United States are growing.

Therefore, it is possible that an alternative logistics route through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which was used during Soviet times, could be revived. Kazakhstan has already given the United States consent to special transport of army cargo by rail to Afghanistan to ensure the presence of American troops there. It remains to agree with Uzbekistan.

Tashkent has recently also been increasingly expressing its readiness to cooperate with Washington.

In May 2018, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyev visited the United States on a three-day visit – he met with President Donald Trump. This was the first official visit of the leader of Uzbekistan to the United States over the past 16 years.

At a meeting with Trump, Mirzieyev said that Uzbekistan seeks membership in the WTO, and Trump promised him assistance in this. During the visit, memorandums of intent were signed with US companies and the World Bank for a total of $ 8.5 billion.

On the eve of his visit to the US, Mirziyeev met with the head of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces, General Joseph Votel, and discussed military cooperation and the situation in Afghanistan with him.

Mirziyoye met with Trumpfor the first time more than a year ago at the summit of Arab-Muslim countries and the United States in Riyadh. In September 2017, speaking at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the President of Uzbekistan expressed support for Trump’s strategy for a peaceful settlement of the situation in Afghanistan. As part of these agreements, joint projects are planned with Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Caterpillar and others.

The effect of all these diplomatic efforts of the head of Uzbekistan is already felt: at the moment the United States is the largest investor in the economy of Uzbekistan.

Moscow lags behind Washington by almost five times. However, this is not the only time that has poisoned relations between Russia and Uzbekistan.

Thus, the republic’s leadership has repeatedly stated that the country is not going to join the EEU. Under the leadership of the former leader of Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan refused altogether from membership in regional unions, in which Moscow played the leading role.

In 2008, Tashkent withdrew from the EurAsEC. In addition, Uzbekistan joined and ceased participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) twice.

Nevertheless, judging by the statements of officials, the current visit of Putin to the republic may give an additional impetus to relations between the two countries. This is especially important against the background of the increasingly obvious rivalry of the major powers in Uzbekistan.