Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Celebrate Relationship
During a March 2017 Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan business forum in Astana, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev hailed what he described as the fall of barriers dividing his nation and Uzbekistan.
During the meetings, he and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed 92 commercial agreements worth $840 million and planned to sign 10 more deals worth $94 million, said Alisher Shaikhov, the chairman of the Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce.
Both countries hope to increase bilateral trade from
$2 billion to $5 billion, Shaikhov said.
Nazarbayev in particular appears optimistic about the deepening relationship. Between November 2016 and March 2017, trade between the two nations increased by 30 percent on both sides, Nazarbayev told TengriNews. Four trading centers have opened, 30 percent more grain has changed hands, and Uzbek fruit and vegetable deliveries have increased by 25 percent, he added.
“There are no unresolved issues between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan — not territorial, not with the borders, not with politics or the economy,” he said. “We are free, like a blank page that is to be filled with good deeds that will benefit our nations.”
Nazarbayev has long been a champion of regional integration in Central Asia. In the wake of the 1994 Soviet disintegration, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic formed the Central Asian Union, which later became the Central Asian Economic Union in 1998 and then the Central Asian Cooperation Organization in 2001. Though these organizations were often mere forums for dialogue — and did not always lead to concrete economic or political changes — they “laid down the foundations” for increased trade, Nazarbayev said.
“The foundations of our relations were laid down by me and the first president of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov. He was my great friend,” Nazarbayev told Mirziyoyev at the meeting. “You and I will continue these traditions like brothers, close countries, like good neighbors, helping one another, opening our hearts to another, the embrace of two peoples.”