Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of mutual diplomatic relations. There is strategic partnership relevance between the two countries based on common cultural and historical ties and shaped by good neighbour relations. This partnership is getting stronger day by day with the spirit of alliance.1 In this context, it is seen that political, cultural, scientific, and economic ties between the two states have developed.
On November 28, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan published the draft agreement on the establishment of political, economic, and military cooperation with Uzbekistan.
As it will be remembered, the first strategic partnership agreement between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan was signed in 1998. The first changes in the document were made in 2013 and some revisions were made over time depending on the conjuncture. At the point reached, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov stated that the main purpose of the agreement is to increase the interaction between the parties to the level of alliance and that it is envisaged to develop cooperation.2
The legal framework for bilateral cooperation consists of more than ninety documents covering almost all areas of interaction. On the other hand, the President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev ensured that the consultation meetings of the heads of state of Central Asia came to the fore as an important mechanism for the solution of bilateral and regional cooperation. In addition, the two leaders led the establishment of the Interstate Supreme Council between the parties.3 This is reflected in the draft agreement. Moreover, close cooperation on oil and natural gas, including in the Aral Sea, is planned.
Clause 3 of the said agreement states that Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan shall refrain from participating in any alliance or action against each other: this includes military-technical cooperation. Additionally, most of the agreement is devoted to creating the necessary conditions for the restructuring of logistics routes based in Central Asia. In this sense, it is possible to prescience that investments in corridors will increase in the region.4 The parties intend to expand the economic and political partnership as well as to jointly counter the possible aggression of third states.
On the other hand, the draft agreement does not mention Moscow’s integration projects in the former Soviet geography, the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Clause 20 has sorted the international organizations with which Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan plan to interact the United Nations (UN), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Islamic platforms. The draft agreement was published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan during Tokayev’s visit to Moscow and stated that it will be open for discussion until December 12, 2022. As a matter of fact, Moscow noticed the rapprochement between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan when Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to Tokayev the establishment of a trilateral gas union including Russia.
As can be expected, the reason for the revision of the said agreement in question is the geoeconomic and geopolitical changes in the global conjuncture. In this situation, the key countries of the region, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan are trying to consolidate their positions and avoid possible competition with respect to the power centers of the world, the US, the European Union (EU), Russia, and China.
As a result, the agreement provides for the coordination of the positions of the parties by regularly exchanging views on bilateral relations and current issues of mutual interest. This shows that the alliance relationship between the parties tends to expand and deepen.
1 “Казахстан и Узбекистан отмечают 30-летие дипломатических отношений”, WorldNews, https://dknews.kz/ru/politika/261619-kazahstan-i-uzbekistan-otmechayut-30-letie, (Date of Accession: 14.12.2022).
2 “Казахстан и Узбекистан готовят новый союз”, Express, https://exk.kz/news/149153/kazakhstan-i-uzbiekistan-ghotoviat-novyi-soiuz, (Date of Accession: 14.12.2022).
3 “О подписании Договора между Республикой Казахстан и Республикой Узбекистан о союзнических отношениях”, Открытые НПА, https://legalacts.egov.kz/npa/view?id=14312865, (Date of Accession: 14.12.2022).