Tashkent, 19 December 2023 (TDI): On December 19 at the invitation of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani will pay a visit to Uzbekistan.
The Emir of Qatar will participate in the ceremony of awarding the Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani International Award for outstanding achievements in the fight against corruption. It should be noted that this event is being held for the first time in the post-soviet space.
This visit will be the second visit of the Qatari leader to Uzbekistan this year and the third Uzbek-Qatari summit in the last six months. This fact, above all, testifies to the observed unprecedented dynamics in the development of political dialog aimed at the early expansion and strengthening of comprehensive cooperation for the benefit of the people of Uzbekistan and Qatar.
The first and historic state visit of the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in June this year and the official visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in October this year gave a powerful impetus to the development of bilateral relations established on November 27, 1997, and opened new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation.
As a result, more than 24 bilateral documents aimed at further development and deepening of trade and economic, investment, cultural, humanitarian, and other spheres of cooperation were signed, as well as agreements worth 12 billion dollars.
The development of such an active dialog is due to the high interest of the parties in expanding bilateral relations and strengthening regional interconnectedness between Central and Southeast Asia. The results of the summits of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the visits of our head of state to the Arab countries have also demonstrated it.
High-level relations are also characterized by active dynamics.
On 14-15 September 2022, Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan Al-Murayhi visited Tashkent to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, where an agreement was signed on Qatar’s accession to the SCO as a dialogue partner.
The opening of the Qatari Embassy in Tashkent on May 7, 2023, contributed to the strengthening of diplomatic ties. A delegation headed by Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sultan Al-Murayhi took part in the opening ceremony of the diplomatic mission, as well as the third round of political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries held on May 6-8
On March 4-6 this year, the Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis Tanzila Narbayeva visited Doha to participate in the 5th UN Conference on Developing Countries. During the stay, the Uzbek parliamentary delegation held a meeting and negotiations with the Chairman of the Qatar Advisory Council Hassan Al-Ghanim.
Uzbek Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov’s visit to Qatar on December 10-11 was completed. Within the framework of the visit to Doha, negotiations were held with Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Center for Rule of Law and Fight against Corruption Ali Bin Fetais Al-Marri, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Muhammad Al-Thani, Minister of Transportation Jassim bin Saif bin Ahmed Al Sulaiti, as well as Executive Director of the Islamic Bank Bassel Gamal. The Uzbek Foreign Minister participated in the 21st Doha Forum “Creating a Shared Future” and met with the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar’s «Hassad Food» Company Ali Hilal Al Kuwari.
The meetings discussed topical issues on the agenda of bilateral cooperation in political, trade economic, cultural, and humanitarian spheres.
The official opening ceremony of the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Qatar was held during the visit.
Uzbekistan considers Qatar as a promising economic partner in the Middle East. To date, the intensification of relations has entered the topical agenda of the two countries, which is due to mutual interest in realizing the huge untapped potential in this area.
That is why Qatar sent a representative delegation to the Tashkent Investment Forum held on April 26-27 this year, headed by Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Sultan Al-Khatir and comprising heads of leading Qatari companies. At this stage, the agreements reached at the end of the forum on the implementation of major joint projects in the spheres of energy, transport, logistics, agriculture, labor relations, and others.
On May 8-9, 2023, in turn, Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of Uzbekistan Laziz Kudratov visited Doha, where he met with representatives of several ministries and leading companies of Qatar to discuss further prospects for expanding trade, economic and investment cooperation.
Today, several investment projects with the participation of Qatari companies are being implemented in Uzbekistan. One of them will be the launch in 2024 in the Syrdarya region of a thermal power plant with a capacity of 1600 MW, the construction of which is being carried out by the Qatari company «Nebras Power» together with French and Japanese partners «EDF» and «Sojitz Corporation».
The projects planned for realization in Uzbekistan in cooperation with Qatari company «Al-Mirqab» were discussed during the visit of former Prime Minister of Qatar, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani to our country in November this year.
Uzbekistan and Qatar are interested in the formation of the shortest, reliable, and safe transport and logistics corridors connecting Central Asia with the Gulf countries. Prospects of jointly promoting the realization of the strategic project to create the Trans-Afghan Railway Corridor are being discussed. This will contribute to a multiple increase in the volume of mutual trade, the indicators of which today do not correspond to the potential of our countries.
In this context, it is important to note that Qatar supports Uzbekistan’s efforts for a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan. Our country, in turn, fully supports Qatar’s actions to provide emergency humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.
The cultural and humanitarian ties between our two countries are based on common spiritual and cultural values and traditions, as well as the sacred religion of Islam.
Qatar highly appreciates the contribution of prominent thinkers and scholars who lived and worked in the territory of modern Uzbekistan to the development of Islamic civilization and historical ties between the Arabian Peninsula and Maverannahr.
This contributes to the further development of intercultural dialog and opens good prospects for interaction in the sphere of tourism, including pilgrimage tourism. Thus, since March 1, 2021, a 10-day visa-free regime has been introduced for Qatari citizens to enter Uzbekistan, and in June 2023 this period was extended to 30 days. On the basis of the signed intergovernmental agreement between the two countries air communication has been established
Cooperation is developing between the Centre for Islamic Civilization of Uzbekistan and the National Library of Qatar. Uzbek and Qatari scholars are conducting joint research on manuscripts on the history of Central Asia stored in the library, exchanging digital sources of works by Uzbek scholars and thinkers, and cooperating in the digitization and study of manuscripts.
The Days of Culture of Uzbekistan held in the capital of Qatar in the fall of 2022, which included concerts by the State Symphony Orchestra of Uzbekistan and an exhibition of folk arts and crafts, were warmly welcomed by the Qatari public.
The visits to Qatar in June and August this year by Uzbek delegations led by Uzbek Minister of Culture Ozodbek Nazarbekov and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Shakhlo Turdikulova also confirmed the parties’ commitment to expanding cooperation in science, culture, and education
In the field of sports, football, which is popular in both countries, continues to be a promising area of cooperation. In 2017, the Uzbekistan Football Association signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Qatar Football Association. In June 2021, Uzbekistan and Qatar signed a Cooperation Agreement on football development, solidarity, exchange of experience, organization of competitions, coaching education, and safety of playing processes.
Thus, there is no exaggeration to say that today Uzbekistan and Qatar are aimed at steadily increasing the level of established dialog in all areas, and the upcoming visit of the Emir of Qatar to our country will strengthen the foundation of bilateral relations to continue and build up mutually beneficial cooperation.