The European vector is one of the priorities in the foreign policy of Uzbekistan since the first years of the country’s independence. In building partnership relations with the EU countries, Uzbekistan attaches special importance to the expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation with France, which is rightfully one of the leading countries not only in Europe but also in the world.
The French Republic has always played a huge role in the world economic and political processes, at all times had a tremendous impact on the development of human civilization. France was at the origins of modern European integration. Its importance in the establishment of the European Union is invaluable. That is why, following the independence, Uzbekistan sought to establish and develop multifaceted cooperation with France.
In this context, it should be noted that the French Republic recognized the independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan on 3 January 1992, and two months later – on March 1 of the same year – diplomatic relations were established between our countries. Bilateral relations immediately became intensive in nature, including at the highest level, which testified to the mutual interest of the parties in the development of cooperation.
In particular, two visits of the first President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. A. Karimov to Paris (1993 and 1996) and the state visit of the President of the French Republic F. Mitterrand to Tashkent (1994) took place between 1993 and 1996. Our head of state also met in multilateral formats – in June 1996 at the summit of the heads of state of the European Union in Florence and in November 2002 at the NATO/EAPC summit in Prague.
It should be noted that active contacts at the highest level have laid a solid foundation for comprehensive cooperation between our countries for many years to come. High-level contacts were carried out on a regular basis, in particular between the heads of the ministries of transportation and defense. 10 rounds of political consultations have been held between foreign ministries, including at the level of foreign ministers.
The most important event in the Uzbek-French bilateral relations was the official visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sh. M. Mirziyoyev to France on 8-9 October 2018. This high-level visit, organized for the first time in the last 22 years, opened a fundamentally new page in the history of relations between the peoples of Uzbekistan and France, giving a powerful impetus to the development of multifaceted cooperation and further strengthening of friendship and mutual understanding between the two countries.
The fact that President Mirziyoyev’s first visit to Europe in the capacity of the head of the state was to France was another recognition of its importance and international role in promoting the European vector of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy. In an open, friendly and constructive atmosphere, fruitful high-level talks with President of the French Republic E. Macron, meetings with Senate President J. Larcher and other representatives of the Parliament, government, business circles and the public once again confirmed the unshakable will of the parties to comprehensively develop relations that meet the long-term and fundamental interests of the peoples of the two countries.
During the summit, the importance of developing new forms of regional and international cooperation, joint counteraction to modern challenges and threats was noted. The head of the French Republic expressed his support of the large-scale reforms carried out in Uzbekistan and highly appreciated the foreign policy of the leadership of our country, based on the principles of friendship, mutually beneficial partnership and mutual consideration of interests.
One of the key items on the agenda was the discussion of the development of bilateral dialogue in trade, economic, investment, energy, technology and other areas of mutual interest. In order to improve the effectiveness of cooperation in these areas, the Uzbek-French Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation has been established and is functioning. The parties also signed a Program of Cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries for 2019-2020.
In order to ensure the full implementation of the signed bilateral agreements and the agreements reached on further expansion of political, trade, economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian cooperation between our countries in 2018, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan adopted a Resolution “On Measures to Further Expand and Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation Between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the French Republic”.
In addition, “Road Maps” were developed for implementation of bilateral documents, investment projects and trade contracts, signed during the visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the French Republic, as well as agreements on further expansion of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the French Republic for 2018-2019.
Active inter-parliamentary cooperation has been established and is being carried out between our countries. Inter-parliamentary groups for cooperation with the upper and lower chambers of the French Parliament have been established in the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis. In turn, the inter-parliamentary group “France – Central Asia” functions in the Senate of the French Republic, and the friendship group “France — Central Asia” functions in the National Assembly.
The desire of the parties to further develop inter-parliamentary relations in specific areas, in particular, through regular events and mutual visits, improvement of the legal framework and exchange of experience is worth mentioning. Over the past few years alone, more than ten mutual visits of parliamentarians of the two countries have taken place. The implementation of such ties and giving them a systemic character will undoubtedly contribute to further development of comprehensive and fruitful ties of friendship and partnership in the interests of the peoples of the two countries.
In the context of active economic diplomacy carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the expansion of foreign economic relations with France is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic. Our country is interested in attracting investments and advanced technologies of French companies, increasing the volume of exports of Uzbek products to the French market and mutual tourist flow.