Tashkent, 15 December 2021 (TDI): On December 15, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
During the conversation, the current state and prospects for the development of a multifaceted Uzbek-Pakistani strategic partnership were discussed.
Special attention is paid to the issues of interaction between the parties within the framework of UN, OIC, and other international institutions. The schedule of upcoming events at various levels is considered.
PAKISTAN-UZBEKISTAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
Pakistan was one of the first countries that recognize the independence of Uzbekistan in 1991. Both established diplomatic relations shortly after the Uzbek Independence. Their relations passed a tense time due to Afghanistan but have improved a lot since then.
Pakistan wishes to gain further access to Central Asian Markets, while Uzbekistan wanted to access ports on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan and Uzbekistan also interact on an international level through their participation in different forums, and organizations.
PARTICIPATION IN THE INTERNATIONAL SPHERE
Uzbekistan and Pakistan are members of the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Economic Cooperation Organization. Both countries also participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
ECONOMIC BILATERAL RELATIONS
Pakistan and Uzbekistan have a Joint Ministerial Commission, in which both meet regularly. Their trade relations are strengthening and showed an increase during 2018-2019. Their trade in 2018 was around 90 million, which was low due to the difficulties of transit across Afghanistan.
Regarding the flights, the first ones between both countries started in 2018. The two destinations are Tashkent and Lahore, at the initiative of Uzbekistan Airways, and they will strengthen their trade.
Currently, around 70,000 Uzbeks are living in Pakistan, from that number, a fraction comes from Uzbekistan, and the rest are refugees from Afghanistan. That is because 7.3% of Afghans in Pakistan are Uzbeks.
FARGHANA VALLEY AND VISIT FROM THE PAKISTANI PRIME MINISTER
Farghana valley in Uzbekistan is a commercial transit hub that has contributed to the economic progress and development of the continent. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan visited Uzbekistan in July, due to the invitation from the Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
During his visit, Khan and Mirziyovev expressed their content on the 30th Anniversary of their diplomatic relations. Also during their meeting, both signed several Memorandums of Understanding; and they also agreed to cooperate in several sectors.
MEMORANDUMS OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES
Those sectors included trade, energy, education, science and technology, and cultural exchanges. Some examples of the MoUs that Khan and Mirziyovev signed during their meeting were the Agreement on Transit Trade (AUPTT); the Cooperation in the field of Military Education, and the Protocol on the Exchange of Pre-arrival Information on Goods moved across the State Border.
Khan and Mirziyovev also signed the Simplification of Visa Procedures for Businessmen and Tourist Groups, and the Memorandum between Foreign Service Academy of Pakistan and University of World Economy and Diplomacy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan. Finally, the last agreement of both was the Cultural Exchange Programme 2021-2026.
Khan emphasized during their meeting the importance of engagement between Uzbekistan and Pakistan, and also discussed the covid-19 impact. Khan and Mirziyovev gave a joint press conference in which Khan stated that Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkey, and Tajikistan will help to facilitate peace in Afghanistan.