Uzbekistan, along with Kazakhstan, is a key partner of Poland in the region of Central Asia, Press Office Director of Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Andrzej Fafara told Trend in an interview.
"Significant demographic potential as well as political, economic and social reforms, initiated in 2016 by a change in the office of president, are factors that induce Warsaw to deepen contacts with Tashkent. Mutual interest in expanding cooperation were evidenced by two visits of Poland's Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs to Uzbekistan (2018, 2019), visit of the Secretary of the National Security Council of Uzbekistan Viktor Makhmudov to Warsaw and raising the status of head of the Uzbekistan diplomatic mission in Warsaw to the rank of Ambassador in 2019," noted Fafara.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Jacek Czaputowicz maintains his willingness to pay a visit to Uzbekistan as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic situation makes it possible, he said.
"Poland assesses positively the changes in Uzbekistan's internal policy that have taken place in the last four years. They were manifested, among others, by the adoption of the Development Strategy of Uzbekistan for the period from 2017 through 2021, providing for a comprehensive modernization of the country's economy and achieving sustainable economic growth. The program of reforms was recognized by 'The Economist', which declared Uzbekistan "the country of the year 2019" – the country which was the most outstanding in the world in terms of the importance of introduced changes," Poland's MFA said.
Fafara said Poland is convinced that the new approach of the Uzbekistan’s authorities to socio-economic issues will contribute to improving the standard of living of citizens, as well as a more complete fulfilling of the demographic, economic and political potential of the country.
"We are interested in deepening contacts with Uzbekistan in all spheres – in the field of political as well as economic, social and cultural cooperation and Uzbekistan is interested in deepening cooperation with Poland in many fields too, including trade, healthcare, social policy or education. Further priorities include good governance, agriculture, scientific collaboration as well as historical and cultural heritage," he said.
"Moreover, Poland has recently engaged in Uzbekistan in establishment of institutional mechanisms for achieving gender equality and preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, initiating joint projects and allocating funds from Polish Aid to development assistance and humanitarian aid on an annual basis," said Fafara.
Also, he noted the importance of the fruitful cooperation with the Uzbekistan’s authorities regarding the issues concerning cemeteries of the Polish soldiers from the General Wladyslaw Anders Army and promoting shared historical ties.
Furthermore, Fafara noted that Poland consider the field of education as its main priority.
"Poland, together with Latvia, served as the state-coordinator of the EU-Central Asia Education Platform (CAEP) in the period from 2015 through 2019. We are interested in continuing our commitment concerning education in the Central Asia region and look forward to the European Commission's proposals in this regard. Polish experts are also involved in the reform of the pre-school education system in Uzbekistan, particularly implementing Polish teaching methods and experience of alternative forms of early education," he pointed out.
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