In November 2022, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, at the invitation of the President of France, made a formal visit to Paris, during which meetings were held, important issues in various fields, including tourism were discussed and agreements were signed. The magazine «Economic Herald of Uzbekistan» in the framework of the issue dedicated to the development of tourism, interviewed Her Excellency the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of France to Uzbekistan, Mrs. Aurélia BoUSHEZ.
– Madam Ambassador, President Mirziyoïev’s official visit to France in last November was historic; according to you, what were the main takeaways from this visit?
– This actually was the second visit of President Mirziyoyev to France, after the one of 2018 which gave a fundamental impetus to our bilateral relations. President Mirziyoyev’s visit of 2022 was indeed historic for many reasons:
● It was symbolic because the visit took place on the year of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between France and Uzbekistan. Over time, these ties have been strengthened and diversified, and include political dialogue on major regional issues,
● the visit coincided with the inauguration of two exceptional exhibitions dedicated for the first time to Uzbekistan, at the Louvre and at the Arab World Institute,
● a dozen institutional agreements were signed. These agreements come in addition to a joint declaration adopted with the aim of encouraging the development of a high-level global partnership between our two countries. It will structure the bilateral relationship in the political, economic and international cooperation fields.
In addition to this, some thirty economic agreements for a potential amount of more than 5 billion euros have been signed. I must add that the year 2022 was busy for French-Uzbek economic cooperation: Total Eren opened its solar power plant in Tutly, Veolia began to operate Tashkent’s central heating system through a public-private partnership agreement, and Schiever distribution established more than 20 of its Bi1 stores in Tashkent, among others.
Finally, the visit of president Mirziyoyev saw, amongst other agreements, the signature of a partnership agreement between Uzbekistan and the French Agency for Development for three years, which consolidates the long-term partnership with Uzbekistan and provides in particular for the financing of additional projects in the water and energy sectors.
Overall, this visit made for a positive approach to future relations between our countries in areas of economic and cultural exchanges, the strengthening of French investments in Uzbekistan, the augmentation of Uzbek trade flux with France, and the flux of tourists between our countries.
– Do you think the Louvre’s “The Splendor of the Oases of Uzbekistan” exhibition and the Institute of the Arab World’s “The Road to Samarkand: Wonders of Silk and Gold” exhibition are successful in France?
– The inauguration of both the Louvre and the Institute of the Arab World exhibitions coincided with the official visit of his Excellency president Mirziyoyev to France. The Uzbek and French presidential couples together were the first ones to visit the exhibitions, which they did for several hours and left delighted.
These two exhibitions are the largest displays of Uzbek historical artifacts that any European country has ever hosted. Indeed, our museums have been loaned 138 exclusive pieces, 70 of which were restored specifically for the exhibitions. Years of hard work and collaboration have resulted in this prestigious symbol of our success for the bilateral cultural cooperation. Last but not least, the waiting lines in front of the exhibitions everyday speak for the success of those two exhibitions!
– Do you believe Uzbekistan is becoming a famous tourist destination for French people ? Has the abolition of the visa regime for French tourists visiting Uzbekistan contributed to making it a more attractive destination?