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Deep Cooperation on the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan Line

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There are important developments in regional integration in the geography of Central Asia. The constructive attitudes of the countries of the region in their relations with each other also draw attention in the international arena. A process of developing solution-oriented approaches to border problems, strengthening partnerships and increasing cooperation agreements is occured. In this context, it can be said that the ties and peaceful stance developed by Uzbekistan with the states of the region come to the fore.

As a matter of fact, the President of Uzbekistan Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid a visit to Kyrgyzstan on 26-27 January 2023.[1] The visit is the latest development in Central Asia in terms of regional integration and strengthening of relations. As a result of the negotiations, the issue of determining the border between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan was formalized. On the issue of finalizing the border problems, the President of Kyrgyzstan Mr. Sadr Japarov made the following statements:[2]

“This is truly a historic event. We demonstrated readiness for a dialogue and search of mutually acceptable solutions for border issues.”

Solving this problem, which has been between the parties for many years and affects regional security and stability; It has had a positive impact on regional balances as well as bilateral relations. The relations that peaked in the last visit also mark a new stage in the dynamics of regional cooperation.

In addition to the development of Tashkent-Bishkek relations, the visit itself is important in itself. However, between 2000 and 2017, there was no leader-level visit between the parties. Therefore, with his visit in September 2017, Mr. Mirziyoyev became the first President of Uzbekistan to visit Kyrgyzstan after 17 years.[3] For this reason, it can be said that a new page has been opened between the two countries on the occasion of the said visit. After this landmark step, mutual visits were made for different reasons. The 4th edition held in June 2022. The Central Asian Leaders’ Meeting is one of them. On the occasion of the meeting that brought together the leaders of the region, Mr. Mirziyoyev also went to Cholpan-Ata.[4]  

In this sense, it is possible to say that the meetings held at the regional level created a positive atmosphere in the Uzbek-Kyrgyz rapprochement. In addition, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Organization of Turkic States have increased the interaction between the parties. For example, at the 22nd SCO Leaders’ Summit held in Uzbekistan in September 2022, China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed a trilateral cooperation agreement for the Railway Line Project. Another factor affecting the ties between Bishkek and Tashkent is the closeness and solidarity shown during the epidemic period. In 2020, Uzbekistan sent humanitarian aid consisting of medical equipment and medicines to Kyrgyzstan, which accelerated the development of bilateral relations.[5]

On the other hand, the development of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Line is also very important in terms of regional connectivity and cooperation dynamics. One of the most important elements effective in the revival of the project; Increased diplomatic relations on the Tashkent-Bishkek line. In addition, the determination to complete the project is also effective in the crises and supply problems due to the Russian-Ukrainian War.[6] These issues, which cause the project to gain urgency, enable the parties to come together more. In the following processes, steps can be taken to develop common mechanisms. As a matter of fact, the Head of the Foreign Policy Department of Kyrgyzstan Muratbek Azımbakıev mentioned that bilateral negotiations will be held in different formats to discuss the plans.[7] Which is indicates that the strategic partnership relationship on the Tashkent-Bishkek line will deepen.

During the meetings during the visit, it was also confirmed that they will continue to work together in the implementation of the projects for the construction of the Kambarata HEPP-1 Project. Kambarata HEPP-1 is an initiative to co-construct the Kambarata Hydroelectric Power Plant in Kyrgyzstan. The project will provide electricity to Central Asia and take an important step in meeting the water needs of the region. There is also a road map signed by the parties in this regard.[8]  During Mr. Mirziyoyev’s visit, an investment agreement was signed for the implementation of the project. Also, the parties agreed on the construction of small hydroelectric power plants in Kyrgyzstan, including the Chatkal River.[9]

The Uzbek-Kyrgyz Partnership, which opens the door to positive developments in many areas such as diplomacy, politics, economy and security, can bring about new processes. The progress of the countries of the region towards the creation of a new model of regional economic cooperation can be seen as one of these developments. Because, in addition to economic cooperation and trade, there is now talk of economic integration moves. With the Kambarata HEPP-1 Project, the hydroelectric potential of the region will be used jointly. This means the creation of a common energy market. However, their cooperation does not stop there. Because the steps taken have the potential to increase the visibility and competitiveness of the Central Asian economy in the world market.[10] Therefore, the project does not only mean a small cooperation between countries and has much more strategic effects.

The fact that the Central Asian geography has become more prominent in recent years is crowned with the developments among the countries of the region. The resolution of border problems between Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the development of joint projects and the enhancement of cooperation mechanisms create regional and global impacts. At this point, the situation carries the region to a different stager. At the same time, it is witnessed that Central Asia has gained a new identity. Rapidly developing regional integration makes this geography an important model in the international arena.[11] There are also efforts to take important steps in security. This serves the purpose of increasing the stability of the region.

In this sense, a new stage is being passed in regional integration, a new model is emerging in economic cooperation, security problems are being solved, joint projects are being developed and political dialogue is deepening on the occasion of the periods that can be described as the “golden age” in Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan relations.


[1] “President Mirziyoyev Starts His State Visit to Kyrgyzstan”, Aki Press, https://akipress.com/news:692769:President_Mirziyoyev_starts_his_state_visit_to_Kyrgyzstan/, (Date of Accesion: 01.02.2023).

[2] “Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Finalize Border Delimitation”, Anadolu Agency, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/kyrgyzstan-uzbekistan-finalize-border-delimitation/2799015, (Date of Accesion: 01.02.2023).

[3] “Pannier: Uzbeks, Kyrgyz Cooperating to Level Unthinkable 10 Years Ago”, Intellinews, https://www.intellinews.com/pannier-uzbeks-kyrgyz-cooperating-to-level-unthinkable-10-years-ago-268449/, (Date of Accesion: 01.02.2023).

[4] “Fourth Consultative Summit of the Leaders of Central Asian States in Kyrgyzstan Laid Out a Joint Vision and Multiple Initiatives on Better Regional Aligning Against External Shocks”, News Central Asia, https://www.newscentralasia.net/2022/07/22/fourth-consultative-summit-of-the-leaders-of-central-asian-states-in-kyrgyzstan-laid-out-a-joint-vision-and-multiple-initiatives-on-better-regional-aligning-against-external-shocks/, (Date of Accesion: 01.02.2023).

[5] “Uzbekistan to Help Kyrgyzstan Build Two Hospitals Specialized in Treating Patients with Infectious Diseases”, Kun.uz, https://kun.uz/en/news/2020/11/18/uzbekistan-to-help-kyrgyzstan-build-two-hospitals-specialized-in-treating-patients-with-infectious-diseases, (Date of Accesion: 02.02.2023).

[6] “China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway Back to Life”, Asia Times, https://asiatimes.com/2023/01/china-kyrgyzstan-uzbekistan-railway-back-to-life/, (Date of Accesion: 02.02.2023).

[7] “Mirziyoyev Lands in Kyrgyzstan for Long Delayed State Visit”, The Diplomat, https://thediplomat.com/2023/01/mirziyoyev-lands-in-kyrgyzstan-for-long-delayed-state-visit/ , (Date of Accesion: 02.02.2023).

[8] “Kazakistan, Kırgızistan ve Özbekistan Birlikte Hidroelektrik Santrali İnşa Edecek”, Anadolu Ajansı, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/ekonomi/kazakistan-kirgizistan-ve-ozbekistan-birlikte-hidroelektrik-santrali-insa-edecek/2781497, (Date of Accesion: 02.02.2023).

[9] “Uzbek-Kyrgyz Summit, Indicator of New Trends in Central Asia”, The Korea Herald, https://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20230201000837&np=1&mp=1, (Date of Accesion: 02.02.2023).

[10] The site mentioned.

[11] The site mentioned.

Şeyma KIZILAY
Şeyma KIZILAY
Şeyma KIZILAY, 2016 yılında Erciyes Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. Yüksek lisans derecesini, 2019 yılında Kırşehir Ahi Evran Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda sunduğu ‘’Uluslararası İlişkilerde Ulus İnşası Bağlamında Irak Örneği” başlıklı teziyle almıştır. Doktora eğitimine Uludağ Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda devam eden Kızılay, tez aşamasındadır. Başlıca çalışma alanları; güvenlik, terörizm, Afganistan ve Pakistan’dır. Kızılay, iyi derecede İngilizce ve orta seviyede Arapça bilmektedir.