April 21, 2010

Politics:
President of Uzbekistan completes visit to Russia
SCO emergency bodies meet in Tashkent
Economics:
Uzbek-Malaysian business forum held
Singapore and Uzbek ministers discuss initiatives to expand bilateral ties
ADB assist Uzbekistan build efficient and clean power plant
Society:
Westminster International University in Tashkent to host "Career Day"
Azerbaijan cinema days start in Uzbekistan

POLICY

PRESIDENT OF UZBEKISTAN COMPLETES VISIT TO RUSSIA

President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has been on official visit in Russia on 19-20 April at the invitation of President Dmitriy Medvedev.

Major part of events started in the Kremlin on 20 April with the meeting of Islam Karimov and Dmitriy Medvedev in tet-a-tet format. During the talks, the sides exchanged views on advancement of Uzbek-Russian relations, expansion of cooperation in the framework of international organizations, on regional and international issues of common interest, including the mitigation and overcoming the global financial and economic downturn.

Interaction with Russia in Uzbekistan’s foreign policy, as well as relations with Uzbekistan in Russia’s foreign policy, is of particular magnitude. Contemporary cooperation is premised on Strategic Partnership Treaty between the two nations signed in 2004, and the one on Allied Relations reached in 2005.

Delegations of various levels have frequently been exchanged. The regular Uzbek-Russian intergovernmental joint commission convened this past March.

Ministries of foreign affairs, external trade, and defense of the two countries regularly hold mutual negotiations and consultations.

Uzbekistan and Russia actively interact in the framework of international and regional organizations such as the United Nations, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Commonwealth of Independent States. These ties serve to bolster the security and stability in the area, and promote regional integration processes. The two nations cooperate also in efforts to help stabilize the situation in Afghanistan.

During the talks, Islam Karimov and Dmitriy Medvedev focused on the development of trade and economic as well as humanitarian cooperation. Russia is Uzbekistan’s reliable political, economic and investment partner. One fifths of Uzbek foreign trade accounts for the Russian Federation. Extensive contacts are established in the sphere of humanitarian cooperation that covers public and higher education, culture, healthcare, travel industry and other areas.

Similarity and harmony of views and positions of the two Presidents with regard to ways of advancing the mutual relations, on regional and international issues, as well as the friendship between our peoples are key to enhancing the cooperation. The relations are premised on 276 agreements at different levels.

Issues concerning rational use of water and energy resources in Central Asia have been discussed during the meeting. The leaders insisted that construction of hydroelectric stations on trans-border rivers of the region be coordinated with neighboring countries and that such projects be subject to an independent international expert assessment.

Presidents Karimov and Medvedev continued negotiations in an expanded format with the participation of official delegations of Uzbekistan and Russia.

The ongoing global economic slowdown notwithstanding, the volume of bilateral trade amounted to nearly USD 4.5 billion in 2009. Uzbekistan’s export to Russia includes natural gas, agricultural products, transport and communication services, vehicles, textiles. Cars produced in Uzbekistan have enjoyed a decent demand in Russia. This fact underscores the growing share of competitive industrial products with high added value in foreign trade. Uzbekistan imports non-ferrous and ferrous metals, mechanical and electrical equipment, wood and woodworking products from Russia.

The increasing number of Uzbek-Russian joint ventures backs the argument in favor of dynamic growth in investment cooperation. In particular, 843 such enterprises operate currently in Uzbekistan. In addition, 135 Russian companies opened their offices in the country. In Russia, 385 joint businesses are created with Uzbek partners.

Presidents Karimov and Medvedev agreed that the above-mentioned figures hardly reflect the full capacities of the two nations. Uzbekistan and Russia boast enormous potential for further expansion of trade-economic and investment cooperation. There exists an ample room for interaction among companies from the two countries in a number of industries of the manufacturing sector.

In addition, further expansion of cooperation in cultural and humanitarian spheres has been examined in the course of negotiations. Interactions have been fruitful also in the area of public and higher education, healthcare, science and technologies.

In October 2009, Uzbekturizm national company and Russia’s Tourist Corporation inked an interagency agreement intended to uphold interaction in travel industry. The document provides for an extensive involvement of Uzbekistan’s tourist potential in Russia and the increased flow of travelers.

Presidents of Uzbekistan and Russia signed a joint statement.

Agreements penned include the memorandum of mutual understanding in the promotion of the program of activities in the sphere of military-technical cooperation for 2010-2012 between the two governments; protocol on the organization of experiment on mutual preliminary report between the State Customs Committee of Uzbekistan and the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation; and program of cooperation in cultural and humanitarian sphere for 2010-2012.

At a meeting with mass media, the two leaders stressed that the talks passed in open and friendly atmosphere and that the deals reached would facilitate progress in bilateral relations.

“The visit constitutes a good chance to single out new priorities for advancing the mutual interaction, for reinvigorating the unrealized potential to a full extent,” Islam Karimov suggested. “Uzbekistan highly appreciates its ties with Russia. These relations serve the interests of the two nations and help consolidate security and stability in Central Asia as a whole.”

“The talks have confirmed that both Russia and Uzbekistan are interested in an extensive growth in cooperation,” Dmitriy Medvedev held. “We have exchanged views on economic issues. We agreed to keep on with all-embracing interaction in energy, aviation, engineering, telecommunications and many other areas. The visit is going to help further reinforce the principal dimensions of cooperation and reveal its new capacities.”

President Islam Karimov met with head of Russian government Vladimir Putin. Encouragement of trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation as well as other issues of common interest has been discussed at the meeting with prime minister.

Analysts suggest there is every reason to believe that the visit has reiterated the interest of the parties in enlarging the scope of interaction, in exploring new prospects for cooperation. (Source: National News Agency UzA)

SCO EMERGENCY BODIES MEET IN TASHKENT

The fifth session of the heads of bodies dealing with prevention and liquidation of emergency situations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was held in Tashkent on 21 April.

Representatives of the respective bodies of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan participated in the meeting.

The participants considered information on the largest emergency situations in SCO member states over the past year and measures to prevent similar situations.

They exchanged views on the perspectives of cooperation in preventing and liquidating emergency situations.

The meeting concluded with signing of a protocol of the fifth session. (Source: National News Agency UzA)

ECONOMY

UZBEK-MALAYSIAN BUSINESS FORUM HELD

The forum of business circles of Uzbekistan and Malaysia opened in Tashkent in Wednesday.

The event has been organized by the Commerce and Industry Chamber of Uzbekistan in cooperation with Malaysian People’s Trust Fund (Majlis Amanah Rakyat, MARA) and International Business Women Association.

The representatives of sectors like trade, investments, healthcare, applied art, food industry, transport and transport communications, chemicals, furniture, tourism and others are participating in the forum.

The trade and economic cooperation between Uzbekistan and Malaysia has been developing consistently. The state visit of President Islam Karimov to Malaysia in October 2005 helped raise bilateral relations on a higher level.

The business forum participants will get acquainted with the reforms in Uzbekistan, the privatization process, priority sectors for investments and other issues.

“Malaysia highly values cooperation with Uzbekistan,” Dato Otman bin Haji Ahmad, head of entrepreneurship support department of MARA, said. “This forum should help expand and strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries.”

In the framework of the business forum, a cooperation exchange was held between the companies of Uzbekistan and Malaysia. (Source: National News Agency UzA)

SINGAPORE AND UZBEK MINISTERS DISCUSS INITIATIVES TO EXPAND BILATERAL TIES

Singapore Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zainul Abidin Rasheed has met Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Elyor Ganiev.

CNA reported citing the Foreign Ministry that both ministers discussed initiatives to expand bilateral economic cooperation. Minister Zainul welcomed proposals to encourage more Singaporean companies to enter Uzbekistan.

Both countries have so far held three business fora and are planning a fourth one later this week.

Ministers from both countries have also noted the friendly and growing relations between Singapore and Uzbekistan and exchanged views on the dynamics in Central Asia and their implications for the surrounding regions. (Source: Uzreport Information Portal)

ADB ASSIST UZBEKISTAN BUILD EFFICIENT AND CLEAN POWER PLANT

The Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Board of Directors on Tuesday approved financing totaling $350 million to improve energy security and energy efficiency in Uzbekistan.

The financing by ADB will build Central Asia's first 800 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant. CCGT is the most efficient and cleanest option for Uzbekistan. It will improve power generation efficiency from 30% to over 50%, saving fuel and cutting carbon emissions by over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

"The project is the least-cost and low-carbon solution to ensure energy security. Advanced power generation technology will cut the high energy intensity levels and increase energy productivity," said Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, an energy specialist at ADB's Central and West Asia Department.

The project will cost $1.28 billion. The first ADB loan of $340 million will be sourced from ADB's ordinary capital resources. It has a repayment period of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years. The interest rate will be based on ADB's LIBOR-based lending facility. The second loan is a $10 million concessional facility from ADB's Asian Development Fund.

The Uzbekistan government has requested Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to cofinance the project with a loan of up to $300 million. The remaining $630 million will be financed by the government, the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the power utility company. (Source: Uzreport Information Portal)

SOCIETY

WESTMINSTER INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY IN TASHKENT TO HOST "CAREER DAY"

Annual "Career Day" event will be held at Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) on 27 April. On this occasion, state and international organisations are expected to offer their vacancies to motivated and ambitious graduates of WIUT.

Besides, this "Job Fair" will give all university graduates an opportunity to find suitable jobs for themselves. Being organised at the end of academic year, "Career Day" considers the interests of employers and students at the same time.

More than 60 companies are expected to participate with their job openings in this event. Actually, the Career Development Centre of WIUT functions all round the year and it has built a continuous partnership with many local companies. This means, any organization, which has an intention to co-operate with WIUT on this issue, is always welcome.

WIUT has been working in Uzbekistan for 8 years. This year 6th cohort of graduates with UK degrees are completing their studies, in several areas, such as: Economics, Business Administration, Commercial Law, Business Information Systems in Bachelor degrees and International Business and Management in Master's.

Career Development Centre of WIUT, taking its all gained experiences into account, is trying to make this "Job Fair" much more effective. Alisher Sabirov, Head of Social Development Department, states that "Career Day" that is held at our university has been quite fruitful so far. For this reason, it became a tradition for us to run this event annually.

"In this year's "Job fair" we expect more participants than used to be. Of course, we are happy with this, since our graduates, who are working in different organisations within the country and abroad, are in the target of attention of employers because of their achievement and success in using their knowledge in practice," he added.

Students also try to get something useful from "Career Day". Azizbek Nazarov, a 4th level student, says "This event is a very good opportunity for us, especially at this time when we are graduating soon, to get employed in one of the jobs being offered and to present our knowledge and potential to the participants of this project during the "Job Fair"."

Employers will have a chance to observe and assess the presentations made by the students about their own research thesis on various specializations. So, the representatives of the participating companies can get objective information about the knowledge and capabilities of WIUT students on that day.

The business portal UzReport.com, one of biggest Internet information sources in Uzbekistan, and the Recruitment service "UzJobs", which is successfully working for several years in labour market, are the main partners of WIUT on running this "Career Day" event.

Provision of full employment of population and creation of a need for more qualitative labour forces in the labour market have always been one of the important issues of state programmes, it is clear that using the potential of our intelligent, motivated and talented youth can be a huge contribution to the development of social and economic fields of the country. (Source: Uzreport Information Portal)

AZERBAIJAN CINEMA DAYS START IN UZBEKISTAN

The Days of Azerbaijan Cinema started in the Arts Palace named after Alisher Navoi in Tashkent on 20 April.

Cinematographers and art critics of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, representatives of various creative and public organizations, as well as diplomats took part in opening of the Days, organized by the National Agency Uzbekkino and the Embassy of Azerbaijan.

Uzbekkino director general A.Iskhakov, interim charge d’affaires of Azerbaijan Akif Aliyev and others said the two nations were connected with old friendly and brotherly ties and the mutual relations were consistently developing in various spheres, including culture and arts.

The Azerbaijan films to be presented in Uzbekistan reflect the national spirit, subtle humour and eternal traditions and values. Films like “Arshin-malalan”, “Mother-in-law”, “Where are you, Ahmed?” became classics of the world cinema and favourites of Uzbek spectators.

The Days of Azerbaijan Cinema will be held in Tashkent and Samarkand, accompanied by various cultural events, meetings and premieres of new feature, documentary and animation films.

The Cinema Days started with demonstration of the films “Azerbaijan motives”, “Taste of kindness”, “A dream come true”, “Intention” and “One step”. (Source: National News Agency UzA)