On the 30th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged the country’s leaders to continue its role as a strong regional security partner.
“We support Uzbekistan’s continued pursuit of bold reforms, including those in support of fundamental freedoms,” Blinken said in a statement for the September 2021 anniversary.
He expressed continued U.S. interest in enhancing its strategic partnership with Uzbekistan to bolster regional security and stability, not least because of the instability in Afghanistan.
In his statement, Blinken reiterated the U.S. donation of 3 million doses of vaccine to Uzbekistan to fight the
COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccines were sent to Uzbekistan as part of the international distribution program called COVAX.
Secretary Blinken’s statement follows his meeting in July with Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov at the State Department in Washington, D.C. The diplomats discussed strategic cooperation between their countries and regional security matters in Central Asia.
Secretary Blinken stressed that Uzbekistan remained “an important partner for regional security and growth.” Noting that the two countries celebrated 30 years of diplomatic relations this year, Blinken underscored the importance of deepening bilateral ties, which have significantly improved since Shavkat Mirziyoyev assumed the presidency in Uzbekistan in 2016.
During the meeting with Foreign Minister Kamilov, Blinken praised Uzbekistan’s outreach to neighboring countries. It includes the C5+1 regional diplomatic platform, which brings together five Central Asian states and the U.S. to address issues of common concern.
Sources: U.S. State Department, Podrobno.uz, Twitter