USAID increases its presence in Central Asia amid the COVID-19 pandemic to foster its influence

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is increasing investments and support of the economy and social sphere in Uzbekistan through various economic, trade, healthcare and social projects. Only for the year of 2019 USAID invested over $10 million in Uzbekistan’s private sector for establishment of new orchards, installation of water saving technologies marketing, and branding to meet international standards. According to the Agency, USAID investment strategy in Uzbekistan involves large-scale and ambitious projects for the next 3-4 years that aim to increase the living standard in the country.

As part of its global campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic, the USAID in partnership with the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health has identified priority areas to provide support for the needs of Uzbekistan’s citizens, health professionals, and the government.  

However, nurturing relations with the US may have a negative side effect for Uzbekistan. By tightening economic and political relations with Tashkent, the United States might take advantage of the Uzbekistan’s geopolitical location and its border with Afghanistan and start lobbying its interests in Kabul heating up complicated relations between the two countries.

Moreover, fostering the Washington’s idea to create a transparent economy in the country and the accountability of the Uzbek state to civil society may cause potential leaks of tax and financial information to the US tax authorities. Considering that the American side relies on the principle of the supremacy of the national law over the international law, this might trigger a threat to the economic security of Uzbekistan and create a ground for pressure on the Uzbekistan authorities by the United States.

Like in the case with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, a small country in the Central, could become a perfect potential target for the US so-called democratization policy. Positive social and economic changes integrated by the United States in Uzbekistan are building up a solid ground for lobbying Washington political ambitions in the country. History has already proved the United States could be unreliable business partners. The US-China trade relations scenario is a great example of it: when contradictions arose, the US changed their policy from building partnership into the policy of trade wars.

Parliamentary elections in Uzbekistan

This year’s most crucial political event in Uzbekistan is to become the parliamentary elections due on the first Sunday of the third decade of December. Uzbekistan has a bicameral parliament. The Legislative Chamber (lower house) consist of 150 members. One hundred and thirty five of them are elected in accordance with territorial electoral districts on the multiparty basis. Fifteen seats are granted to the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, given the importance of nationwide issues related to ecology, public healthcare and protection of the environment. The Senate (upper ouse) is formed from among the deputies of local representative bodies of government during their joint sessions, in equal quantity – per six persons – from the Republic of Karakalpakstan, regions and the city of Tashkent. Sixteen members of the Senate are appointed by the President of Uzbekistan from among the most authoritative citizens of the country. The term of office of the Parliament is 5 years. In accordance with the results of parliamentary elections in 2009, four political parties are represented at the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan: the Movement of Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople – the Liberal Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (UzLiDeP), the People’s Democratic Party of Uzbekistan (PDPU), the Milliy Tiklanish (National Revival) Democratic Party of Uzbekistan, and Adolat (Justice) Social Democratic Party of Uzbekistan. The forthcoming elections are to substantially differ from the previous ones, since they are going to be held amid the enhancement of powers of the parliament and further deeping of democratization of electoral system. As part of implementation of the Concept of Further Deeping of Democratic Reforms and Establishing Civil Society in the Country, put forward by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the joint session of both chambers of the parliament on November 12, 2010, amendments were introduced in 2011, 2012 and 2014 to some articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Articles 32, 78, 80, 93, 96, 98, 103 and 117) and laws on elections, which serve as a legal basis for further democratization of the activities of legislative and executive branches of power, as well as the electoral system. A number of amendments and addenda have been introduced into the electoral legislation to clearly identify the forms and methods of election campaign, inadmissibility of its conduct not only on the election day, but also a day before the voting, elevation of effectiveness in the mechanisms of securing equal opportunities for candidates and political parties during this crucial phase of the election campaign, along with the creation of additional legal guarantees for early voting, the establishment of polling stations in places of detention. Legal mechanisms of securing transparency during elections have been enhanced. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has been vested with a status of permanently operating and independent constitutional body. The mechanism of its activities has been defined that provides for the preparation and holding of elections without interference of any other government body, and principles of its activities have been approved: that is, independence, legality, collegiality, publicity and fairness. A law is to be passed in the nearest future to envisage a substantial expansion of powers and the consolidation of financial independence of the CEC. In May this year, the CEC approved an action plan to prepare and hold elections to the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, regional, district and municipal Kengashes (Councils) of people’s representatives in 2014, which includes a set of measures to ensure the legality, transparency, openness and publicity at all stages of the election campaign. The openness and transparency in the work of all electoral commissions is to be provided by way of holding their meetings with participation from political parties, mass media and observers. The participation of observers from international institutions and foreign states is also envisioned along with the observers and authorized representatives of political parties. The action plan also stipulates the creation of extensive and equal opportunities for political parties and candidates for deputies in utilizing the possibilities of mass media during the election campaign in order to inform the electorate and general public about their election programs, along with providing the voters with timely updates the voters about the progress of preparation and conducting of elections. Therefore, a great significance is attached in Uzbekistan to the conduct of forthcoming parliamentary elections at a high level in accordance with international norms and principles, for their results are to define the strategy and path of development of the nation for the next 5 years.     Embassy of Uzbekistan  Republic  in Azerbaijan

The Initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov on Establishing a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia Implemented

On May 6, 2014 a truly historical event took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York – for the first time since the United Nations was established the representatives of the «five» nuclear states – the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia have unanimously and simultaneously signed the most important international document – the Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia. This step served as a completion of full realization of the initiative put forward by the Presidenimages (1)t of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly in 1993 and makes enormous contribution to consolidating regional security and reinforcing the global regime of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

Since the early years of independence Uzbekistan chose the path of peaceful and creative development based on the values of humanism and peace. Proceeding from the deep comprehension of community of interests and destinies of all countries and peoples of Central Asia, as well as indivisibility of regional and global security, the Republic of Uzbekistanrenders all of its international efforts to ensuring peaceful and sustainable development of the region.

Today in the conditions when the confrontations and armed conflicts are on the rise, the problems of terrorism, extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats disrespecting national borders worsen in various parts of the world, including in Central Asia, the life itself does confirm the reasonableness and foresight of Uzbekistan’s consistent policy. Preserving and consolidating peace and stability in Central Asia, turning the region into security and sustainable development zone have been enshrined as priority tasks in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

It should be admitted that many initiatives put forward by President of Uzbekistan enjoy a deserving support of the international community. From among such initiatives – the idea of creating the International Center for combating terrorism proposed by President Islam Karimov at the OSCE Istanbul Summit in 1999, which was implemented as establishment of the UN Security Council’s Counter-terrorism committee in September 2001. On the proposal of President Islam Karimov enunciated during the visit of the UN Secretary-General to Uzbekistan in October 2002, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Center for Combating the Illicit Trafficking of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors (CARICC) was established.

The initiatives of the President of Uzbekistan aimed at putting an end to the many-year-long bloody war in Afghanistan, which brought enormous calamities to the Afghan people and became a source of grave threats for the entire region, drew a special attention of the international community. Yet in 1993 speaking at the 48th Session of the UN General Assembly President Islam Karimov has literally «tolled the tocsin» calling upon the international community to actively assist the resolution of Afghanistan’s problem. In 1995 at the 50th Session of the UN General Assembly Uzbekistan articulated the idea to introduce arms embargo to Afghanistan and proposed the model of creating the coalition government to achieve the national reconciliation in this country. In 1997 on the initiative of the Uzbekistan’s Leadership the «6+2» Contact Group began operating under auspices of the United Nations. Thanks to it, on July 21, 1999 the «Tashkent Declaration on Fundamental Principles of Peaceful Resolution of the Conflict in Afghanistan» was inked. In 2001 President of Uzbekistan addressed the UN Secretary-General with a proposal to include to the Security Council agenda the issue on Afghanistan’s demilitarization. At the NATO/EAPC Summit in 2008 in Bucharest President Islam Karimov proposed to renew the activity of the Contact Group in a new format «6+3» aiming to jointly seek the political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan, lowering the level of conflict potential in this country and rendering it a coordinated economic assistance.

In the process of further development of events around Afghanistan it were those states brought together in this format that have found themselves to be more involved in international efforts in terms of addressing the ways to resolve the Afghan crisis.

Uzbekistan’s proposals on maintaining environmental and socio-economic sustainability as a core of secure development of the region are gaining a broad support in the world. On the initiative of President Islam Karimov the heads of five Central Asian states founded in 1993 the International Fund to Save Aral Sea to bring together the efforts to overcome the consequences of one of the most devastating and large-scale ecological catastrophes of modern time – the Aral crisis.

Undoubtedly, the idea of establishing a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ) put forward by President Islam Karimov on September 28, 1993 at the 48th Session of the UN General Assembly occupies a special place among large international initiatives of Uzbekistan, which gained a broad recognition and support in the world. Speaking from the UN rostrum, President of Uzbekistan said: «In today’s modern world the security of one country cannot be ensured at the expense of another and the regional security cannot be viewed apart from the problems of global security. Proceeding from this, Uzbekistan is for full liquidation of a nuclear weapon, for effective actions and term-less prolongation of Nuclear Weapon Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Uzbekistan is a staunch supporter of announcing the Central Asian region a nuclear-free zone».

The CANWFZ Treaty took final international legal shape following the signing by the five nuclear powers of the Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia on May 6, 2014 at the United Nations headquarters in New York during the Third Session of the NPT Preparatory Committee and Review Conference. In his special statement on this issue the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China and the Russian Federation undertook legal obligations to respect and observe the status of a nuclear-free zone in Central Asia, and not to use or threaten to use a nuclear weapon against any party to the treaty. The UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane put it as follows: «Signing of the Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia marks an important milestone for reinforcing both regional security in Central Asia and the global nuclear non-proliferation regime». Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation T.Countryman said that signing by the United States of Protocol to the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia is «an acknowledgment of sincere and praiseworthy efforts by the states of Central Asia on keeping their region free of a nuclear weapon». The representatives of other nuclear powers have also highly praised the establishment of the CANWFZ as a cornerstone of international non-proliferation regime and ensuring peace and security in the region.

Turkey becomes partner of China, Russia-led security bloc

Turkey's PM Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the Global Alcohol Policy Symposium in Istanbul

Turkey’s PM Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the Global Alcohol Policy Symposium in Istanbul (MURAD SEZER, REUTERS / April 26, 2013)

ALMATY (Reuters) – NATO member Turkey signed up on Friday to became a “dialogue partner” of a security bloc dominated by China and Russia, and declared that its destiny is in Asia.

“This is really a historic day for us,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in Kazakhstan’s commercial capital Almaty after signing a memorandum of understanding with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretary General Dmitry Mezentsev.

“Now, with this choice, Turkey is declaring that our destiny is the same as the destiny of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) countries.”

China, Russia and four Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – formed the SCO in 2001 as a regional security bloc to fight threats posed by radical Islam and drug trafficking from neighboring Afghanistan.

UzA: Tourist potential of Uzbekistan presented in Istanbul

UzA, Madina Umarova, 29 January 2013, 02:28

On 24-27 January 2013 the EMITT-2013 International tourism exhibition was held in Istanbul, Turkey.

The East Mediterranean International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (EMITT) is considered to be the one of the largest tourism exhibitions in the world. This year the exhibition hosted 4,500 travel agencies and companies, experts and professionals from more than 70 counties..

Uzbektourism, Uzbekistan Airways, Uzbekistan Railways, hotels such as Grand Mir, Radisson Blue as well as Miramax, Uzin tour, Mokocco Elite travel companies from Uzbekistan took part at the event, which was held at Tüyap Fair Convention and CongressCenter.

Visitors of the international tourism fair highly commended about Uzbekistan stand, which reflected the historical monuments and the national values ​​of the country. Tourist packages provided by the Uzbek travel companies and companies have aroused great interest among the participants of the fair, a number of contracts has been signed.

MK

via UzA: Tourist potential of Uzbekistan presented in Istanbul.