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UZBEKISTAN


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 9,949 9,713 11,300 91
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 420 450 550 173
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (date from the World Bank)

Books on Uzbekistan


Update No: 365 - (26/05/11)

Touch and go for Tashkent
Various developments make the Uzbek government a touchy subject right now for the West. It perpetrated a grisly massacre in Andijon, in the Ferghana Valley in the east of the country, squashing rebels in May, 2005. Its human rights record is appalling, a fact perpetually reiterated by Human Rights Watch.

The West put the former Soviet republic in purdah, of a sort. It has no vital mineral resources, unlike Kazakhstan next door, which does, and whose president became the president of the OSCE no less last year, despite vile human rights abuses.

Uzbekistan did have a useful base or two in its southernmost regions, of the use of which the US was allowed in its struggle against Al- Qaeda and the Taleban. They no longer seemed so vital for a while, Pakistan having made up the deficiency.

The Osama bin Laden angle
But there is a big question mark there now. It is evident that the Pakistanis are not reliable, having harboured Osama bin Laden for years next to the very bosom of their military establishment. It is inconceivable that nobody therein knew of his whereabouts. The Americans were aware themselves of where he was since at least 2009; they were waiting for the right moment to strike.

Uzbekistan is curiously a more reliable partner, because its ruling elite has no truck whatsoever with Islamic extremists; on the contrary they boil them alive. Tashkent is being deemed a surer bet for cooperation with operations in Afghanistan. As long as the Afghan war continues, Uzbekistan is safe from undue censure by the US and the UK for the duration.

Cosying up to Karachi
The Uzbeks are exploiting the new coolness in relations between the Americans and the Pakistanis, which predates the assassination of bin Laden, by overtures to Karachi. During a recent visit to Uzbekistan, Pakistanís Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani met with President Islam Karimov, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Speaker of the Legislative chamber of the Oliy Majlis. Prime Minister Gilani visited Uzbekistan on the invitation of President Karimov.

The visit was aimed at further strengthening of ties and exploring new avenues of cooperation. In addition, Gilani said Pakistan aims to reach out to the strategically located Central Asian Republics and enhance bilateral ties in all spheres. During the meetings, Gilani discussed ways to boost trade volumes and to move towards finalizing a trilateral transit trade agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan that can not only ease transportation of goods, but also help bring the people closer.

Pakistanís Premier has recently visited Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and is likely to be visiting the remaining of the five Central Asian Republics soon.

Gilani had met his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the eighth summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SOC) in October 2009 and it was his first visit to the largest of the five Central Asian Republics.

Cosying up to China
As the SOC indicates, China is the biggest player in the region. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi recently welcomed Karimov to Diaoyutai State Guest House in Beijing. During the talks, both sides exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern and reached common ground on some important issues. They are both implacable foes of religious fanaticism.

Yang said that during Karimovís visit, both sides made plans and arrangements for further development of the China-Uzbekistan friendly and cooperative partnership, which laid a good foundation for the strengthening of bilateral relations. He commended the Uzbek Headís visit to China as successful.

In turn, Karimov said Uzbekistan attaches great importance to its relations with China and considers China as a reliable cooperation partner. He said that Uzbekistan appreciated Chinaís diplomatic policies and shared common views on major international and regional issues with China. He assured his interlocutors that Uzbekistan will continue to adhere to its one China policy.

China and Uzbekistan will also continue to deepen cooperation in matters of economics and trade, said a joint statement signed by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Uzbek counterpart Karimov in Beijing. The leaders said both countries will foster bilateral trade through improving commercial infrastructure, diversifying types of imports and exports and promoting trade in strategic products, according to the joint statement. Both countries will also broaden trade in high-technology, traffic, communications and other sectors, speed up the implementation of large-scale cooperation projects and create conditions for continued sound and steady development of bilateral trade cooperation.

The two parties will also expand coordination in financial investment and implement the projects to facilitate loans from China to Uzbekistan and a joint venture between the countries in Uzbekistanís Navoi Free Industrial Economic Zone.

China and Uzbekistan will strengthen coordination and cooperation between government departments, particularly those in the areas of law-enforcement and security, timely exchange of information and coordinate actions to combat all forms of religious extremism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crimes that pose a threat to regional security and stability, the statement said.

During his visit, Karimov met separately with Chinaís top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao.
China and Uzbekistan also signed eight cooperation agreements ranging from investment, economic cooperation, finance to natural resources.

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