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Russia’s Putin to visit Uzbekistan, revive relations

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Qingdao, China, on June 9, 2018. (By AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Uzbekistan under its new leadership on Thursday in an attempt to revive multifaceted relations and discuss prospects for the strengthening of ties.

The Russian leader will pay an official visit to Uzbekistan’s Tashkent on October 18-19 at the invitation of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The two heads of states are to exchange views on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation as well as implementing new joint projects and programs in various fields.

The agenda also includes international issues, including ensuring stability and security in the region and promoting the peace process in Afghanistan.

During the two-day state visit, the joint Educational Forum and Uzbekistan-Russia Interregional Cooperation Forum will also be held for the first time, and a launching ceremony will be held for the construction of a nuclear power plant in the ex-Soviet Central Asian country.

The construction project is worth 11 billion dollars and is expected to come into effect in 2028, with Uzbek officials saying that the nuclear power plant is a “breakthrough” in the energy sector of their country.

The last time Putin visited Uzbekistan was in 2016, when the country was facing political uncertainty following the death of long-term leader Islam Karimov.

Bilateral ties between Russia and Uzbekistan hit a record low in 2012 after Tashkent walked out of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Moscow-led military bloc that now consists of six ex-Soviet members.

Relations between the two countries picked up toward the end of Karimov’s reign, and have been lifted to a new level after Mirziyoyev's ascent to power.

Uzbekistan is a landlocked country, with Kazakhstan to its north, Tajikistan to the southeast, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. It has a population of 30.5 million and its economy relies mainly on production of cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas.

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