Uzbekistan France Diplomacy

Uzbekistan asked France to be more involved in Central Asia

On May the 3rd 2021, the two ministers spoke about the future of the Franco Uzbek cooperation, the possible prospects and the actual obstacle. Their telephone conversation demonstrates a new step towards a partnership already robust.

This article was originally published on Novastan’s French website on 10 May 2021.

As reported by Uzbek media Uzbekistan Daily, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov, rang his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on 3 May 2021.

The two ministers discussed the current situation and the perspective of the Franco-Uzbek cooperation in political, commercial, economic, cultural, and humanitarian areas among others.

A full schedule for Uzbekistan and France

The joint events to come between both countries were inspected, such as the next meeting of the Franco-Uzbek intergovernmental committee on commercial and economic cooperation. The latter was held on May 10 at Tashkent, Uzbekistan’s capital, as described by the French minister of Foreign Affairs. Both counterparts also mentioned the second ministerial meeting as part of the France-Central Asia format.

Abdulaziz Kamilov and Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed some local problems in Central Asia regarding security. Afghanistan’s situation was part of the discussion, together with the recent confrontation at the Tajik-Kyrgyz border that has caused about fifty deaths. In such circumstances, both ministers expressed the necessity of a local stability.

Read more on Novastan: What are the underlying reasons for the deadly Kyrgyz-Tajik border clashes?

At the end of the discussion, Abdulaziz Kamilov expressed his will to see France be part of the International Conference “Central and Southern Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenge and opportunity.” This conference, which will take place in July 2021 in Tashkent, will be welcoming the involvement of Russia, as declared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Serguey Lavrov.

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This event should allow Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to talk about the development of the transport network between the three countries. This is a major issue which is part of a tourism development project announced by Uzbek government in late February. In late April, a railway line between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan has been provided with electricity, showing the ambition of developing the railway network.

Read more on Novastan: Russia commits to railroad corridor China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan

Jean-Yves Le Drian already had the will to strengthen the relationship of France and Uzbekistan. During a conference held on July 20 2018, the minister delivered a speech describing the willpower of France to reinforce the commercial and economic relationships with Uzbekistan. “I deeply wish France to become a partner in Uzbekistan. To achieve this goal, I know that administration and businesses […] are not sparing themselves.”, he concluded in his speech.

However, this speech was the last connection between Uzbekistan and Jean-Yves Le Drian before the telephonic talk with his counterpart on 3 May.

France and Uzbekistan, a long-time cooperation

The relations between the two countries are not new. Since the ratification of the friendship and cooperation treaty between Uzbekistan and France in 1993, both demonstrate a strong bond and work together in several fields.

French companies are particularly involved in Uzbekistan’s business. In December 2020, an agreement was signed to allow French company Rungis to set up in Uzbekistan. And vice versa, Uzbek businesses collaborate with France. In late April, Uzbek society Global Exports furnished thousands of tons of beans to Bonduelle, a massive vegetable distribution company in France.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan is not the first minister from Central Asia with whom Jean-Yves Le Drian talked recently. This establishing contact with Abdulaziz Kamilov is reminiscent of the conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Tleuberdi on late April 28, as reported by the French ministry’s website. In the same fashion, the two ministers discussed relationships between both countries and expressed their desire to strengthen cooperation.

Léonard Dillies
Writer for Novastan

Translated from French by Flavie Deschamps

Edited by Emma Bekrine

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