Azerbaijan traditionally stands at forefront of co-op between S.Caucasus, Central Asia - expert
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev arrived on a state visit to Uzbekistan on June 21, Trend reports.
During the visit, bilateral meetings were held, and a number of important documents determining the further development of relations between the two countries were signed.
Eurasian expert, writer, culturologist, philosopher, Director of the Dialogue of Civilizations Center Faridun Usmonov, commenting on the visit, said that one of the main agreements reached by the parties was an agreement to increase mutual trade, strengthen business regional ties, and also strengthen work to promote joint investment projects.
“Besides, one of the key documents is the agreement on cooperation in the transport and logistics sector. This is very important for both Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan,” he said.
Speaking about the agreements on increasing mutual trade between the countries, Usmonov noted that this is an absolutely normal and natural process.
“The countries understand that despite the existing potential, the trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan remains at a fairly low level. In general, despite decrease and rise, the trade turnover is kept at the level of $30-40 million, which doesn’t reflect the real potential of the two countries in the economy and trade relations, and so it’s natural that the leaders of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan set the task of achieving a trade turnover of $500 million,” he said.
Usmanov also noted that over the past decades, the number of enterprises with the participation of Azerbaijani capital has increased significantly in Uzbekistan.
“The number of enterprises increased from 40 in the 2000s to 180 in early 2022. This indicates the high interest of the business circles of the two countries in cooperation,” the expert said.
According to him, relations between the two countries have been always friendly, and they have expressed their commitment to friendship and partnership throughout the years of independence.
Uzbekistan has consistently advocated for the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, taking into account the provision of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan. At the same time, Azerbaijan constantly supported the initiatives of Uzbekistan on the Afghan problem, he noted.
Usmonov also stressed that Azerbaijan traditionally stands at the forefront of the development of cooperation between the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
“We see that Azerbaijan regularly comes up with initiatives between these countries, including with the involvement of business partners from Uzbekistan. Obviously, one of the key issues in cooperation is cooperation in the transport sector in logistics, and Azerbaijan has repeatedly emphasized the readiness of the Port of Baku to act as a transit corridor for products from Central Asian countries, including Uzbekistan,” the expert noted.
Summing up, he called it important for both countries to maintain the current level of mutual contacts and build the foundation for the development of both bilateral and regional relations with a focus on the future.
Farkhod Tolipov, political expert, director of Uzbekistan's "Bilim Carvoni" (“Karavan of Knowledge”) non-governmental scientific and educational institution, noted that along with traditional issues of trade and economic cooperation, cooperation between Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan has a geopolitical dimension.
"They used to be part of the European TRACECA mega-project, as well as the GUUAM (Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) association. Currently, they are active members of the "new" organization - the Organization of Turkic States, which today is turning into a significant player in international politics,” Tolipov said.
“In the context of the current geopolitical turbulence in the CIS region and the armed conflict in Ukraine, the diversification of transport corridors bypassing the territory of Russia, the problem which was on the agenda of not only Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, but also all the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus from the first years of independence, becomes especially relevant. Besides, experts speak about the possibility of giving a strategic character to cooperation between the two states," he noted.
According to him, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan discuss the expansion of cooperation in the military and military-political spheres, for example, in holding joint military exercises.
"The South Caucasus region is actually acquiring a new geopolitical status of a transit hub in the system of trans-continental cargo transportation and interstate communications," Tolipov said.
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