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Visit of the President of Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan: Significance for bilateral relations and regional cooperation

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The December visit of the Dear President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to Uzbekistan is of great historical and political significance. It is the first foreign state visit of the Head of State after the inauguration ceremony, clearly confirming the priority in Kazakhstan’s foreign policy of mutually beneficial cooperation and strategic partnership with neighboring fraternal countries of Central Asia. In addition, the visit is especially significant due to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two sister states.

It is also symbolic that the first state visit of the Dear President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Kazakhstan after his re-election to the presidential post was a landmark event of December 2021, designed to give a new impetus to the relationship between the two countries. On December 6, 2021, the heads of state signed the Declaration on Allied Relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, which became one of the most discussed topics in the discussions among the Central Asian expert community.

Over three decades, the cooperation between Astana and Tashkent has developed progressively, acquiring new content. The solid legal and contractual framework adopted over the past time is synchronous and exemplary in the region. These are the treaties on eternal friendship of 1998 and strategic partnership of 2013.

In addition, retrospective analysis of the past years shows the absence of serious political contradictions, mutual claims and territorial disputes. To a large extent, the building of constructive Kazakh-Uzbek ties is conditioned by the complementarity of economies and common economic pragmatism. This logic is the key driver of mutual rapprochement between the countries.

Speaking about today, Kazakh-Uzbek relations are at the highest level and are characterized by intensive dynamics and trust. In recent years, mutual trade turnover has more than doubled, approaching $5 billion. Measures are being taken to increase this figure to 10 billion dollars.[i] At the same time, according to experts, there are still a number of unused reserves for increasing bilateral economic cooperation.[ii] In this context, one of the promising directions is the creation of joint industrial clusters in the manufacturing industry.

Therefore, I would also like to note the historic Treaty on the Demarcation of the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan State Border signed by the leaders of the countries in Tashkent. This agreement will further intensify cross-border economic ties and humanitarian exchanges between the brotherly states, as well as serve as an exemplary model for resolving border issues in the region.

The experience gained in maintaining regular working contacts between the foreign ministries of the two countries is also gaining importance. The sides closely cooperate and coordinate efforts in addressing pressing issues on the regional and international agenda, including within the framework of the UN, the Organization of Turkic States, the OSCE, CICA, the SCO and other multilateral structures.

Thus, it is natural that at the end of 2022, the heads of state signed a full-fledged Treaty between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on allied relations, which undoubtedly opened a new page in the history of relations between the two brotherly countries. This document marks further deepening of interaction in political, economic, investment, scientific and technical, cultural and humanitarian spheres between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Attention should be paid to a number of clauses of the Treaty, which have important practical significance for bilateral relations. Thus, Article 1 enshrines the principle of mutual consideration of national interests, respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of state borders.[iii] Article 2 further provides that “in the event of a situation which, in the opinion of one of the Parties, constitutes a threat of armed attack by third States, the Parties shall immediately hold appropriate consultations with each other, both bilaterally and within the framework of international organizations to which they are parties, with a view to adopting measures conducive to its peaceful settlement”.[iv] In addition, the parties undertake not to participate in any blocs or alliances and to refrain from engaging in actions directed against each other.

We are very pleased to note that in the current geopolitical situation in the world, characterized by instability, turbulence and the erosion of international law, the Treaty is designed to strengthen security and defence co-operation between countries. Thus, the document talks about joint countering of such challenges and threats as combating international terrorism, religious extremism and separatism, transnational organized crime, cybercrime, illegal migration, human trafficking, drug trafficking and other problems.

Expanding contacts in the area of protection against hybrid threats and ensuring information security seems relevant. As you know, during the IV Consultative Meeting of Heads of State of Central Asia, held on July 21, 2022 in Cholpon-Ata, the Dear President of Kazakhstan called on colleagues to strengthen cooperation to prevent negative phenomena in the information space that are harmful to the entire region.[v]

Strengthening military cooperation in order to strengthen the defense capabilities of the two countries is becoming an important area. A vivid example of interaction between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in this area is the joint military exercises of special-purpose units of the armed forces of the two countries “Kalkan-2021” in the Zhambyl region of Kazakhstan and exercises “Hamkorlik-2021” at the Termez training range of Uzbekistan.

In addition, the Treaty contains provisions on deepening interaction in ensuring environmental security, including mutual assistance in preventing and eliminating natural and man-made emergencies.

Among other priority issues of interaction enshrined in the Treaty is cooperation in the field of food security, organization of joint ventures for agricultural production, as well as creation of favorable conditions on their territories, including simplification of procedures for transit transportation of agricultural goods.

Contacts at the highest level play a significant role in the development of Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan multifaceted cooperation. Taking into account this circumstance, as well as to strengthen strategic coordination of control over the implementation of agreements reached, and to address urgent issues between Astana and Tashkent, a Supreme Interstate Council headed by the leaders of the states is being established.

Parliamentary diplomacy plays a special role in strengthening allied relations, which has recently been gaining more and more progressive character. In this regard, the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Council will give an additional impetus to the promotion of ties between parliaments for legislative support of the implementation of all agreements, exchange of experience in lawmaking and parliamentary procedures.

In addition, the Treaty provides for the launch of the mechanism of work of the Special Representatives of the Heads of State to promote the whole complex of bilateral trade and economic interaction, as well as to increase the effectiveness of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission and the Forums of Interregional Cooperation.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the new level of Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan allied relations meets not only the national interests of the two brotherly states, but also brings a powerful creative potential to the trends of regionalization, contributes to stability and security in Central Asia.


[i] “Mutual trade between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan exceeds $4 billion”, Official Information Source of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, https://primeminister.kz/en/news/mutual-trade-between-kazakhstan-and-uzbekistan-exceeds-4-billion-22115929, (Date of Access:29.12.2022).

[ii] Assel Satubaldina, “Leading Experts from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Explore President Tokayev’s Recent Visit to Tashkent”, The Astana Times, https://astanatimes.com/2022/12/leading-experts-from-kazakhstan-uzbekistan-explore-president-tokayevs-recent-visit-to-tashkent/, (Date of Access:29.12.2022).

[iii] “О подписании Договора между Республикой Казахстан и Республикой Узбекистан о союзнических отношениях”, Открытые НПА, https://legalacts.egov.kz/npa/view?id=14312865, (Date of Access: 05.12.2022).

[iv] Ibid.

[v] “Speech by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Fourth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia”, Official website of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, https://www.akorda.kz/en/speech-by-president-kassym-jomart-tokayev-at-the-fourth-consultative-meeting-of-the-heads-of-states-of-central-asia-216535, (Date of Access:29.12.2022).

Dauren ZHAİLİN
Dauren ZHAİLİN
2007 yılında Al-Farabi Kazak Ulusal Üniversitesi (KazNU) Tarih Bölümü’nden mezun olmuştur. 2009 yılında KazNU Felsefe ve Siyaset Bilimi Fakültesi’nde Siyaset Bilimi alanında uzmanlaşarak yüksek lisans tezini savunmuştur. Aynı zamanda Kazakistan Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanı “Bolashak” Uluslararası Bursu’na sahiptir ve İngiltere’deki Reading Üniversitesi’nde Kamu Politikası alanında uzmanlaşarak Siyaset, Ekonomi ve Uluslararası İlişkiler Okulu’nda yüksek lisans programından mezun olmuştur. Eylül 2020 tarihinde Kazakistan Cumhuriyeti Cumhurbaşkanlığı’na bağlı Kamu Yönetimi Akademisi Diplomasi Enstitüsü’nde doktora programına başlamıştır. Araştırma alanları arasında Kazakistan Cumhuriyeti’nin dış politikası ve ulusal güvenliği; Orta Asya’da uluslararası ilişkiler; Orta Asya’da bölgesel işbirliği ve güvenlik yer almaktadır.