Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!

× Learn more
No, thanks Photo: Abbas Atilay
back  |  printBookmark and Share

Uzbek Leader Plays Up Regional Cooperation

Foreign minister denies speculation linking country to Russia-led trade and security organizations.

28 November 2017

Five Central Asian leaders have agreed to hold regular meetings, starting as early as next year. The announcement was made by Uzbekistan and if confirmed would mark a significant boost for multilateral cooperation in a region known more for isolationism and squabbles between strongman rulers.


It was especially noteworthy that Uzbekistani President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (pictured) came out with the proposal, which came during a security conference in Samarkand earlier this month, Nikkei Asian Review writes. Since coming to office a year ago, Mirziyoyev has begun rolling back many of his hardline predecessor Islam Karimov’s policies and has overseen a gradual, if uneven opening to the outside world.


Since Karimov’s death, “foreign delegations have been beating a path to the capital Tashkent, drawn by the potential of the Central Asian country’s oil and gas and vast cotton crop as well as areas such as car and food production, machinery and chemicals,” Reuters comments.


“I think you can feel it in the air how the atmosphere is really changing,” Uzbek businessman Hikmat Abdurahmonov told Reuters, adding, “people are planning new businesses, you can see a lot of start-ups coming.”


In the last year, Uzbekistan has scrapped most of its restrictions on capital and said it would abolish the exit visa system that is especially hard on the migrant workers whose remittances are vital for the economy.


The government also bowed to international pressure by freeing students, teachers, and medical workers from mandatory work in the cotton fields, another major source of revenue.


The regional summits would also be noteworthy for the absence of the Eurasian great powers. Most countries in the region belong to either Russia- or China-led organizations.


Uzbekistani Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Komilov told Nikkei Asian Review there was no truth to speculation the country was considering joining the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union, or the Collective Security Treaty Organization.



  • Mirziyoyev’s charm offensive has taken him on official visits to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. In September he became the first Uzbek president to visit Kyrgyzstan in 17 years, and he is also making overtures to Tajikistan, Nikkei Asian Review says.



  • His visit to Seoul last week strengthened Uzbekistan’s position as South Korea’s major Central Asian trading partner, The Diplomat writes.
Compiled by Ky Krauthamer
back  |  printBookmark and Share


--  Announcement: Summer journalism program in Prague: 7 July 2018 – 22 July 2018

Super Early Bird discount! Save 520 USD, if paid before January 25, 2018



"The course was amazing! I did benefit a great deal and also learned a lot about foreign journalism. In addition, I really liked the combination of course in the morning and working on the field in the afternoon. Definitely would recommend this course to everybody who is interested in journalism or who is already working as a journalist."

Claire Micallef (Switzerland), Going on Assignment in Prague, July 2017

Not yet decided whether to join us for our July 2018 course? Don't hesitate!

Apply or check our website for more info


Moldovan diaries

The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.


© Transitions Online 2017. All rights reserved. ISSN 1214-1615
Published by Transitions o.s., Baranova 33, 130 00 Prague 3, Czech Republic.