George Krol: Uzbekistan has accomplished much during the years of independenceUnited States was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. The legal basis of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States includes more than 50 documents, in particular, Declaration on principles of strategic partnership and 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 23rd Anniversary of State Independence of Uzbekistan, UzA correspondent talked to the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Uzbekistan George Krol.
– Uzbekistan has accomplished much during its relatively short 23 years of independence, – says George Krol. – In the midst of difficult external and internal circumstances Uzbekistan has established stable political and economic institutions and has maintained security for its people. Although blessed with natural resources, Uzbekistan benefits mostly from its human resources – its hard working population and from its rich cultural heritage that should foster a new generation proud of its past, but ready to meet the challenges of the future.
I know Uzbekistan is working hard to address social, political, and other challenges. The United States may be ten times older than Uzbekistan as an independent state, but we too continue to perfect our political and economic institutions, our educational system, and ensure our nation’s security. The world is a challenging place today for both Uzbekistan and the United States. I am glad to say that since Uzbekistan became an independent state 23 years ago, the United States, which was one of the very first countries to recognize Uzbekistan’s independence, will continue to be a reliable partner to Uzbekistan as together we face many of the same challenges.
– Please tell us about the current conditions and perspectives of trade, economic, investment, and cultural-humanitarian cooperation between Uzbekistan and the United States.
– Uzbekistan and the United States have many shared ideals. We are committed to working together and deepen our relationship in all fields--from trade and regional security to economic development and cultural ties.
We encourage Uzbekistan to create and maintain all the necessary conditions for foreign investment. The best proof of the quality of our relationship is the investment of well-known U.S. companies here. The Coca-Cola Company as well as other American companies in Uzbekistan, such as General Motors and Boeing, continue to offer goods, services, and jobs to the people of Uzbekistan. As Uzbekistan’s economy continues to grow and its trade and financial institutions meet international business standards, I trust that more Americans companies will choose to do business in Uzbekistan.
Earlier this year, we held the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Uzbekistan Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation in furtherance of the 2010 U.S.-Uzbekistan Science and Technology Agreement. The goal of the Joint Committee Meeting was to define two-year action plans for cooperation in three mutually-identified areas: agriculture, renewable energy, and evidence-based medicine.
In the educational sphere, in response to Uzbekistan’s priority to expand English language knowledge from the first grade on, the American Embassy has worked with its Uzbek partners on implementing advanced English language programs in the country. Currently, two American English language specialists are teaching at local universities and we are discussing the possibility of expanding this program to other fields with the Uzbek government. The Embassy’s Educational Advising Center helps all interested people find appropriate institutions to study or carry out research in the U.S.
USAID finances programs to increase agricultural productivity, farmers’ incomes, and strengthen businesses critical to the farm-to-market economic chain. We have facilitated a number of exchanges bringing farmers from Uzbekistan to the U.S. and U.S. specialists to Uzbekistan. We have also encouraged contacts between business people in Uzbekistan with counterparts in Afghanistan and the region to improve the business environment and promote more robust bilateral and regional trade.
In addition to visits by American artists, experts, writers and musicians, this year, through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, we provided financial support to restore the “Painting of the Ambassadors” currently housed in the Afrosiyob Museum in Samarkand. It has become a tradition for the Embassy to bring cultural ambassadors to Uzbekistan on a regular basis. We are seeking to invite more American cultural envoys to Uzbekistan in the years to come to unite the peoples of our countries through the universal language of culture.
– How do you assess the cooperation, exchange of experience, and the results of the dialogue between our countries in the fields of the development of the parliamentary, judicial, and legal systems?
– The cooperation between parliaments of Uzbekistan and the United States is developing consistently. Visits of parliamentary delegations are carried out regularly, creating a good opportunity to exchange experiences in the field of parliamentarism.
During their official visits to Uzbekistan, members of the U.S. congress and their staffs have expressed interest in deepening the dialogue among our legislators. 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 these counterparts to the United States. The United States and other foreign partners in Uzbekistan 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.
In 2013, an international conference “Development of parliamentarism: experience of Uzbekistan and the U.S.” was held in Samarkand. The conference discussed the organization and fulfilment of control over implementation of legal documents by executive bodies, the exchange of experience in the field of cooperation between civil society institutions and mass media, as well as the perspectives of development of parliamentary relations. I hope there will be more visits of U.S. Congress members and Senators to your country, since such relationships will serve to strengthen mutual ties.
– Please tell us about the reforms and laws adopted in Uzbekistan on democratization, provision of election freedom, and the development of electoral legislation, based on the Concept of deepening democratic reforms and development of civil society, as elaborated by President Islom Karimov.
– As President Karimov stated, the reforms carried out in the field of democratization of state governance and management are directed to the one very important purpose, i.e. to consistently implement the constitutional principle of separation of power; to form an effective system of balance of interests and mutual restrain between powers; to improve the role of authorities of legislative body and representative powers, as well as controlling tasks; to liberalize the judiciary system and to take necessary measures to provide its independence.
We encourage Uzbekistan to take steps to register and support independent civil society organizations and provide its citizens with the opportunities, as guaranteed by Uzbekistan’s constitution and its international commitments, to express themselves freely and practice other fundamental freedoms. The United States also welcomes and supports Uzbekistan’s efforts to develop an “e- government system” to improve the quality of interactive public services offered to the people of Uzbekistan, especially to entrepreneurs.
Implementation of Uzbekistan’s laws on government transparency, social partnership, and social oversight are key to the long term development of Uzbekistan as a democratic state committed to respecting universal rights.
– What do you think about Uzbekistan’s initiatives and efforts to provide security and strengthen peace in the region?
– The U.S. shares Uzbekistan’s priority policy of enhancing stability and promoting a secure and peaceful Central Asia. Together we work as partners to enhance regional stability, counterterrorism, counter narcotics, and nonproliferation efforts. The U.S. applauds Uzbekistan’s bilateral contributions to help bring peace and economic stability to Afghanistan and we appreciate Uzbekistan’s support of the transit of supplies through its territory to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
We were proud this year to sign the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty, an initiative first proposed by President Karimov. We have broadened, deepened and accelerated our bilateral consultations on security related issues as befits two strategic partners.
The United States believes that constructive dialogue among the countries of Central Asia based on mutual respect and frank discussion especially on management of regional natural resources, which affect all countries in the region, will also assist in promoting regional stability and security. The U.S. supports all constructive efforts in that direction.
On behalf of the Embassy and the people of the United States, I would like to offer heartfelt congratulations and good wishes to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence. From the bottom of my heart, please accept my warmest greetings on this national holiday. I wish all the people of Uzbekistan peace, happiness, prosperity and good health.
Mustaqillik Bayramingiz Muborak Bo'lsin!