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Uzbekistan|foreign policy|November 19, 2021 / 12:20 PM
Cooperation Council between the European Union and Uzbekistan held its sixteenth meeting

AKIPRESS.COM - The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and Uzbekistan held its sixteenth meeting on 16 November in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Mr Augusto Santos Silva, Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Mr Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The delegation of Uzbekistan was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr Abdulaziz Kamilov.

The Cooperation Council took stock of developments in relations between the European Union and the Republic of Uzbekistan over the past two years, noting with satisfaction the intensity of contacts at all levels despite the disruption to regular scheduled face-to-face meetings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two sides agreed on the importance of pursuing a green, sustainable economic recovery from the pandemic. The Cooperation Council discussed the Republic of Uzbekistan's ambitious reform programme, and issues relating to the rule of law, trade, investment and energy relations, and international issues. The Cooperation Council also discussed questions of good governance and the role of civil society, as well as measures to improve the business climate in Uzbekistan. The EU welcomed Uzbekistan’s GSP+ membership (EU General System of Preferences that unilaterally grants duty-free access for most goods) since April 2021, and discussed progress in Uzbekistan’s application to join the WTO. Human rights questions were also discussed.

The Cooperation Council took note of the progress in negotiations for a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Uzbekistan. This new Agreement will further deepen bilateral relations and support the ongoing ambitious reform programme in Uzbekistan. Nine formal negotiating rounds have taken place to date, with both sides meeting also remotely during the pandemic to achieve steady progress towards finalising a text.

The Cooperation Council welcomed Uzbekistan's role in advancing regional cooperation in Central Asia, including through the promotion of sustainable connectivity.

The Cooperation Council also exchanged views on Afghanistan and other current political and security issues.

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