23 September 2020
H.E. Ambassador Kakhramon Shakirov of the Republic of Uzbekistan briefed Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, who is RSIS Executive Deputy Chairman at NTU in Singapore, on recent developments in his country under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The key points are summarised below.
Ambassador Shakirov stated that since elected as Uzbekistan’s President in December 2016, His Excellency Shavkat Mirziyoyev has undertaken comprehensive and revolutionary politico-economic reforms devoted to the best interests of the country, and these policies have created favourable social and economic conditions within Uzbekistan, as well as deepening friendly relations with foreign states. As a result of the large-scale political and economic modernization, a new Uzbekistan has come into being. Democratic transformations have become irreversible.
Ambassador Shakirov said that the parliamentary elections in December 2019 demonstrated the increased political activity of the population and parties, the role of civil society institutions, and the influence and importance of the media. The human rights situation has changed for the better as the National Human Rights Strategy has been adopted and the Uzbekistan Public Chamber has been created. The role of women in public administration is increasing. In the new Parliament, the number of woman deputies has doubled. The independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, and the freedom of conscience and religion are ensured. There is interethnic harmony, and interfaith tolerance is maintained. The uncompromising struggle against corruption is raised to a new level with the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Agency.
Ambassador Shakirov stressed that reforms in the economic sphere are continuing. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has declared his determination to reduce poverty among the Uzbek people, and to fully meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To this end, measures have been taken to support the development of entrepreneurship and create new jobs, improve the investment climate and business environment, and provide targeted social assistance. Much is being done to ensure that every young person can take a worthy place in society and realize his potential. There are youth parliaments and the Agency for Youth Affairs in Uzbekistan.
Ambassador Shakirov said that under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has conducted an open, pragmatic and deeply thought-out foreign policy that meets the national interests. Many initiatives of the country have been supported and approved by the United Nations General Assembly and within the frameworks of UN institutions. In order to strengthen cooperation among foreign states on current important issues facing the international community, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced 12 new initiatives during the 75th United Nations General Assembly session on 23 September 2020. Three of these initiatives are relevant to the activities and research of RSIS.
1. Support for international initiatives by wide admission to the results of the development of necessary drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus
Governments around the world are combatting COVID-19 with the best intentions, and as effectively as they can. Similar measures were also taken by the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan under the direction of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is among a number of countries to adopt early strict measures to prevent the sharp spread of the virus. Measures taken by the Government to halt the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis have allowed the country to continue implementation of the large-scale political and economic reforms started four years ago. In addition, adopting the “Economic Recovery and Continuing Systemic Structural Reforms Program 2020-2021” has helped to stabilize and restore sustainable growth, and reaffirmed the intention of Uzbekistan to continue to make progress despite the uncertainties associated with the pandemic.
2. Hold in Tashkent the International Conference dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Joint Action Plan of the Central Asian countries for the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy
Uzbekistan is an active participant in efforts to combat international terrorism including through the work of the Committee on Combating Terrorism under the United Nations Security Council, and in the CIS Anti-Terrorist Center where relevant work is conducted within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Uzbekistan’s contribution to the common efforts to combat terrorism was the initiative to create an International Centre for Combating Terrorism within the United Nations, announced at the Millennium Summit in New York in 2000 which was later reflected in the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the United Nations Security Council. There is no doubt that preventing terrorism in Central Asia is essential to safeguard the well-being and security of the population while ensuring national and regional stability.
3. Create a new format of international cooperation on Afghanistan – to create a permanent committee at the UN
Another important area where Uzbekistan plays a key role is intra-Afghan negotiations on the establishment of peace and stability in Afghanistan. Talking about progress in promoting an intra-Afghan settlement, it should be noted that initiatives of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan helped to “reset” the Afghan negotiation process itself and radically change the attitude of external players towards it.
Without any doubt, the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan paved way to mobilizing international efforts on launching the inter-Afghan inclusive talks. It is clear that in this situation, the participation of the Uzbek side in the peace process will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the negotiations.
The efforts undertaken by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev play a very important role in achieving the goals for intra-Afghan reconciliation, and future peace in Afghanistan which was also highly appreciated by UN Secretary-General A. Guterres.
RSIS Executive Deputy Chairman Ambassador Ong Keng Yong expressed his appreciation for the details provided by Ambassador Shakirov’s useful briefing. From the RSIS perspective, the establishment of durable peace in Afghanistan is essential for stability and prosperity of the entire vast region of Central Asia. The international community will gladly continue to observe the measures being taken by Uzbekistan to resolve intra-Afghan differences, and the wish of all peace-loving people in the world is for a successful outcome of the negotiations for peace in Afghanistan.
Ambassador Ong stated that Uzbekistan’s initiatives have given a new impetus to the intensification of efforts by the countries of the Central Asian region to follow a complementary and coordinated strategic approach in the fight against terrorism, and to eliminate the root causes that contribute to terrorism. They demonstrate the growing role in regional cooperation among states to ensure regional security and remove the threats of international terrorism.
Ong Keng Yong
Executive Deputy Chairman
Director, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies,
Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
The Republic of Singapore
Last updated on 23/09/2020