Pamela Spratlen: The United States strongly supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of UzbekistanDiplomatic relations between the United States and the Republic of Uzbekistan were established on February 19, 1992. The legal basis of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States includes more than 60 documents, in particular, Declaration of strategic partnership and principles of cooperation, signed in 2002. Currently, bilateral relations are developing on the basis of norms and principles of the mentioned declaration in the spirit of equality, constructive cooperation and mutual respect of interests.
On the eve of the 24th Anniversary of State Independence of Uzbekistan, UzA correspondent talked to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Uzbekistan Pamela Spratlen.
– Madam Ambassador, what could you tell us about Uzbekistan’s achievements during its years of independence?
– The United States strongly supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uzbekistan and was one of the first countries to recognize Uzbekistan’s status after it became a fully independent nation. In its past 24 years as an independent state, Uzbekistan can be proud of the reforms it has taken to reflect the challenges of today’s increasingly connected world. When we look at the fast rail connection between Tashkent and Samarkand, advances in information technology or efforts to teach Uzbekistan’s youngest generation English language skills, we recognize that progress in these areas are examples of solid achievements in Uzbekistan. We also see a country working hard to cultivate ethnic and religious tolerance among various nationalities and confessions, and to improve friendly and mutually beneficial relations with other countries, including the United States.
– What is your assessment of the fruits of the U.S.-Uzbek cooperation in the fields of economy, investment, automobile production, science and technology, and others?
– Over the past years, we have seen significant examples of growth in the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Uzbekistan. Just this year, we have welcomed several senior U.S. delegations seeking to advance U.S.-Uzbekistan cooperation. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), we work with our Uzbek counterparts to develop and build greater potential in agriculture and food processing. The Embassy, often in cooperation with the American Chamber of Commerce in Tashkent, provides support to U.S. companies, which already have strong economic and commercial ties in Uzbekistan, as well as to companies considering investing in Uzbekistan. Science and technology is also a very promising area for expanded U.S.-Uzbek cooperation.
– How would you assess reforms in Uzbekistan carried out in the fields of development of democracy and civil society and improvement of the judicial system?
– We know that democracy is a process, not an end state and we know that lasting change takes time. As a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a signatory to many UN conventions related to democracy and civil society, we urge Uzbekistan to do more to advance these goals and stand ready to work with the government and people to support this work on behalf of all of its citizens.
We are actively supporting contacts in the area of judicial education, bringing American judges and legal practitioners to meet with their counterparts in Uzbekistan and inviting Uzbek professionals to the United States. The United States and other foreign partners have also organized a series of public discussions on the interactions between the media and the judicial sector to promote long-term constructive dialogue about the role of the media in furthering justice sector reforms in Uzbekistan.
– What do you think about the government’s efforts to improve women’s role in state and public life, as well as to support economic and social initiatives?
– Uzbekistan takes pride in its family values and the role of women in families. But, Uzbekistan also has a strong tradition of women’s participation in all walks of life outside the home.
Both the people of the United States, and those of Uzbekistan believe that both men and women should equally enjoy universal rights and values. We also know that implementing these rights in practice is not an easy process. In the United States, women have made great strides in all fields, from business and education, to politics, medicine and sports. Shortly after my arrival, I met with the Women’s Committee and learned of the special opportunities and challenges faced by women in Uzbekistan. We strongly support Uzbekistan’s initiatives in strengthening women’s role in the society. I have spoken with many women in Uzbekistan, who proudly shared their positive experiences and successes with me in their respective fields of activity: in science and technology, in arts and culture, in politics and economy. As partners, we can continue to improve such opportunities for women, to help them receive better education and enjoy a fulfilling life.
– Do you read the news on the UzA website?
– I try to read as broadly as I can. As the UzA news agency is Uzbekistan’s official news source, I refer to it to keep up with the country’s events and official statements. Your site is regularly updated and covers news from around the country. UzA boasts a staff of professional and enthusiastic journalists. We hope that your resources and those of independent journalists will grow and expand.
– Your wishes to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of Independence Day.
– On behalf of the American people and my colleagues at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, I wish all the people of Uzbekistan long-lasting peace, prosperity, success, and strong health on the 24th anniversary of Independence. Mustaqillik bayramingiz muborak bo’lsin!
Nodira Manzurova, UzA