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First official visit. Results of Sooronbai Jeenbekov’s trip to Tashkent

The new president of Kyrgyzstan began to visit neighboring countries. The first official visit was made by the head of state to Tashkent. Results — $ 100 million loans for business and new flights.

Negotiations on the border will continue

President of Kyrgyzstan was met at the airport of Tashkent by the Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. Sooronbai Jeenbekov did not hesitate to attend important meetings. On the same day, negotiations with the head of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev were held. They spoke in a narrow format for almost an hour and a half, and then confessed to the audience that the conversation was difficult but productive.

«We are pleased that the wise Kyrgyz people have elected a worthy president. We are satisfied with the results of the presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan. The first official visit of Sooronbai Jeenbekov to Uzbekistan is a manifestation of personal commitment to the adopted course of cooperation and the manifestation of friendship,» Shavkat Mirziyoyev said.

And then, he told that negotiations on the delimitation of the border took place. The two presidents expressed to each other everything they thought about the controversial and conflict issue.

I think that today we have also moved forward and will move forward in pressing border issues.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev

As of today, 85 percent of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border is demarcated. Presidents Almazbek Atambayev and Shavkat Mirziyoyev even managed to sign the corresponding agreement. But there is no need to wait that the remaining 15 percent will be described at the same speed.

Government working groups work, they have demarcated more than 40 kilometers. But everything else are controversial and complex areas, which none of the sides wants to give. And even the political will of the two presidents has not moved forward this question.

But Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are actively opening their markets to each other. And they even intend to win the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) together. Plans are more than ambitious — to bring the turnover to $ 500 million per year.

Millions for import

Following the visit of Sooronbai Jeenbekov to Uzbekistan, an agreement on financial cooperation was signed between the governments of the two countries.

Uzbek banks will open financing up to $ 100 million to their colleagues from Kyrgyzstan. This money can be used by entrepreneurs of the Kyrgyz Republic to purchase goods, raw materials and other components in Uzbekistan.

Minister of Economy of Kyrgyzstan Artem Novikov

«In such a way we are increasing the financial and economic potential of our enterprises for cooperation with Uzbekistan. But in parallel we are working on one more initiative to support the export of Kyrgyzstan. We want to support joint ventures that are launched in the Kyrgyz Republic and those who work with Uzbek partners to supply raw materials, equipment and components for processing products in the Kyrgyz Republic and for its further export,» the minister said.

A trade and economic session was held during the visit of the President to Uzbekistan. More than 300 entrepreneurs from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan participated in it. For the first time within the session, government representatives responded to questions from businessmen. There they were able to sign contracts between themselves.

«During the trade and economic session, the signing of both export and import contracts for the supply of products to Kyrgyzstan took place. An agreement was signed between the Ministries of Economy on the unhindered opening of correspondent accounts between banks. The Uzbek side confirmed the absence of any obstacles and restrictions in the banking and financial transfers between our countries and the return of the invested financial resources, including foreign, by Kyrgyz entrepreneurs, who will sell products in Uzbekistan. This is an essential agreement that guarantees our entrepreneurs the opportunity of free movement of currency,» the minister concluded.

Following the results of the trade and investment session between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, 12 agreements were signed on three blocks.

Minister of Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan Jamshid Khodzhaev and Minister of Economy of Kyrgyzstan Artem Novikov signed an agreement on the development of cooperation in the field of trade finance and a joint action plan for the development of trade economic, investment and transport-communication cooperation.

Other four documents concern the cooperation of the chambers of commerce and industry of the republics and regional branches of arbitration courts.

Business structures of the two republics have signed six agreements. So, Uztrade JSC and Adel Plus LLC have agreed on cooperation. «UZAGROEXPORT» and «Osh Selkhoz Product» LLC signed a contract for the supply of fruit and vegetable products to Kyrgyzstan. «Linkroad Group» (Imzo LTD) agreed with MarwinBrands on the supply of juices and nectars to Kyrgyzstan, with RicomelBeverages — juice-containing beverages.

In addition, Viva Tex LLC has concluded contracts with FLATNITTEXTILE and NavoiyArtTextile for the delivery of half-wool yarn to Uzbekistan.

New old routes

Most of all agreements concerned the transport sphere. As a result of the talks, the parties agreed to increase the number of flights, freight and passenger traffic both by road and rail.

«Since December 29, the Kyrgyz Company Air Manas has launched a regular flight Bishkek-Tashkent. It will fly twice a week. Starting from 2018, we will resume two flights from the Kyrgyz and Uzbek sides in Osh — Tashkent direction. I think this is a good start. If passenger traffic increases, the number of flights will also increase,» Minister of Transport and Roads Zhamshitbek Kalilov told journalists.

As for road transport, it’s not about opening of new routes, but about resuming the old ones. Until 1999, there were 44 routes from Kyrgyzstan through the territory of Uzbekistan. But 18 years ago, Uzbekistan unilaterally interrupted them.

From 2018, passenger bus services will be resumed. Now it is about southern directions. For example, Osh-Kokand-Bukhara-Tashkent and Leilek-Tashkent-Bishkek routes are expected to be launched. There will be routes from Jalal-Abad, Kyzyl-Kia and other cities.

«In October, Tashkent-Osh-Irkeshtam-Kashgar auto race was successfully held. Since the New Year, we will resume cargo transportation from Kashgar to Tashkent. From next year, Tashkent-Bishkek-Balykchi seasonal train will run there. In addition, in the Soviet years there was a train Jalal-Abad — Tashkent — Bishkek. These routes will also be studied and renewed,» stressed Zhamshitbek Kalilov.

The issue of the movement of freight cars through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the southern regions was also raised. Tashkent agreed to give a discount to the internal tariff, but the decision was not finally made. Delegations of the two countries will meet on December 25 to continue negotiations.

«The Uzbek side expressed its desire to participate directly in the construction of China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway. We are already negotiating with the PRC. On December 25, direct talks of all interested parties will be held in Tashkent. We found contact points. There is a preliminary route, Kyrgyzstan insists on its own — Torugart — At-Bashi — Ak-Tala — Kazarman — Jalal-Abad. The construction of the road is estimated at more than $ 5 billion. Of course, there were many arguments, but we found a way out,» Zhamshitbek Kalilov concluded.