Traditionally, Ukraine is one of our main trade and economic partners

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Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Ukraine Alisher Abdualiev has informed the FD about the positive dynamics that has been observed recently in the bilateral cooperation between Kyiv and Tashkent, about the ways through which the Embassy of Uzbekistan popularizes traditions of its ancient country and about his own vision of “cultural diplomacy”…

Mr. Ambassador, please tell us, what kind of changes has your country witnessed since the election of Shavkat Mirziyoyev as the President?

– First of all, I want to thank “Fashion of Diplomacy” for organizing the interview and for the interest to my country, Uzbekistan. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate our Ukrainian friends on behalf of the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Ukraine and me personally on the Day of Independence of Ukraine, that will be celebrated very soon and to wish everyone peace, wealth and prosperity for Ukraine.

As for your question, I can note that the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev conducts pragmatic and well-balanced foreign policy. He builds relations with close neighbours and partners on the basis of mutual respect and interests. He wants to maintain friendly ties between countries and peoples, including Ukraine.

If we analyze the results of the country’s foreign policy over the two years during which Uzbekistan’s diplomacy was led by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, I can emphasize the following: customs tax rates have been lowered for more than 8,000 types of demanded goods imported by the domestic market for the purpose of foreign trade developing in Uzbekistan. In particular, zero rates of customs duties were set at 3550 positions and zero excise tax rates for 1122 items.

The Head of State has maintained a line of constructive cooperation with the superpowers and with the small countries, with the international organizations, based on the principle of openness and balance. At the same time he took on a new level the relations with many countries of the world.

How would you define the actual status of the bilateral trade and economic relations between our countries?

– I can say that our bilateral cooperation is developing quite successfully outside of the intergovernmental political and economic formations. Traditionally, Ukraine is one of our main trade and economic partners.

The volume of trade between Uzbekistan and Ukraine in the first quarter of 2018 achieved 61.7% comparing to the first quarter of 2017.

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In the structure of Ukraine’s exports, Uzbekistan has taken the first place in supply of pharmaceutical products and sugar. In its turn, Uzbekistan has substantially increased the export volumes of mineral fertilizers to Ukraine, which the Ukrainian agrarians need so much today.

During the recent Economic Forum held in Kyiv in June this year, a number of agreements were signed concerning the export of Uzbek textiles, modern buses and special vehicles.

Also, the negotiations about the creation of a joint venture that will deal with women shoes production have been held. I can note that the business atmosphere, that prevailed on this forum, gives us confidence in the prospects of bilateral cooperation.

Uzbekistan is ready to take part in the implementation of joint projects in such spheres as agricultural machinery, agricultural products processing, in the setting up of the farms, in pharmacology and others. In this connection, a series of measures aimed at intensifying the direct contacts between the administrative territorial entities of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Ukraine and business entities of the regions of both countries has been realized. I think that we will do everything we can to ensure that trade and economic relations between our countries develop on the ascendant in the future as well.

Traditionally, Ukraine is one of our main trade and economic partners

There is a large Ukrainian community in Uzbekistan. Many citizens of the Republic of Uzbekistan live, work and study in Ukraine. To what extent does this factor influence the positive dynamics of cultural and humanitarian cooperation between our states?

– The presence of the Ukrainian and Uzbek Diasporas, respectively, in Uzbekistan and Ukraine, cannot but influence the humanitarian and cultural cooperation between our states that actually had been initiated during the Soviet times.

In Ukraine, there are two officially registered Uzbek communities that unite the Uzbek diaspora: the Kyiv Regional Uzbek Society “Uzbekistan” that has been operating since 1985 and “Uzbek National Centre Navruz” in Kharkiv that was established in 2006. There are about 110 thousand ethnic Ukrainians in Uzbekistan; 40 thousand of them live in Tashkent. The republican Ukrainian cultural centre “Slavutich”, as well as the Ukrainian city cultural centre “Batkivshchyna” operate in the capital. There are similar centres in the cities of Almalik and Yangiyul.

Currently, more than 2,700 students from Uzbekistan study in higher educational institutions of Ukraine. They are mainly distributed in such large cities as Dnipro, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Poltava, Sumy, Vinnytsia and Kyiv.

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Speaking about humanitarian and cultural cooperation, we can note such a direction as contacts in the sphere of education and science that are established between the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and academic institutions of Ukraine. There is also a very close connection in the sphere of health care. In recent years, a number of doctors-pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, from different regions of Uzbekistan, have been trained in medical institutions in Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv.

On 29th of April, 2014 the presentation of the state program “A Year of a Healthy Child” was held in Kyiv. Within the framework of the program, the Medical Centre for Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiology of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the EurAsia Heart Medical Centre (Switzerland), during 2014–2017, carried out on a free basis surgical operations for children with congenital heart defects and elderly people suffering from cardiovascular disease. In addition, within the framework of this project, our Embassy has examined and consulted 40 patients. Today, the issue of establishing a branch of the Centre for Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery in Tashkent is being discussed.

On 25th of May, 2016, the commemorative date, the 575th anniversary of the birth of the famous Uzbek poet, thinker and statesman Alisher Navoi was solemnly celebrated in Kyiv. As part of the festivities, an international scientific and practical conference and a presentation of the poem “Farhad and Shirin” in Ukrainian language was held. Advisor of the President of Ukraine, Yurii Bohutskyi, congratulated the audience on the holiday and read out to the participants of the international conference the congratulatory message of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

Nowadays, our Ukrainian friends are considering the issue of establishing a monument to the famous Uzbek poet, artisan and statesman Alisher Navoi in the capital of Ukraine. And this will undoubtedly become a new symbol of the inviolable friendship of our countries and peoples, and will promote the upgrading of the bilateral Uzbek-Ukrainian relations to a new level.

Traditionally, Ukraine is one of our main trade and economic partners

In Ukraine such a new direction of international cooperation as “cultural diplomacy” is spoken a lot about. Our magazine pays much attention to this direction in international cooperation. What is “cultural diplomacy” for you?

– Cultural relations, as one of the most flexible and therefore most effective instruments in the mechanism of foreign policy, are called upon to work on creating of a favourable and objective image of a certain country in the world.

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In this context, culture, as an instrument of foreign policy, should develop a sense of sympathy for the country, strengthen the positive image of the state abroad, promote the establishment of long-term relations between states, public organizations and civilians, and thus contribute to the establishment of intergovernmental interaction in other fields including in the field of economics.

Today, cultural diplomacy, much more than ever, is becoming a battleground for the minds and hearts of people all over the world. In the era of conflict and instability, the role of culture as a tool of “soft power” cannot be overestimated.

This is an important resource of diplomacy that is used to promote the interests of the state, to improve mutual understanding between different peoples of the world.

Our Embassy is actively involved in the popularization of Uzbek culture and Uzbek traditions. In particular, my wife, Gluznova Abdualieva, on the occasion of the Independence Day celebration of the Republic of Uzbekistan held a presentation of traditional clothes from various regions of Uzbekistan at the Embassy.

The main purpose of the presentation was to familiarize the Ukrainian community and foreign guests with the traditional national clothes of our people. The guests were presented with a large exposition of Uzbek national fabrics, with the collection of costumes of the bride and groom from different regions of Uzbekistan and with the collection of jewelry made according to ancient drafts and skills. Also, within the framework of the event there was a presentation of the special catalogue “Revival of the original traditions of clothes of Uzbekistan regions” that had been prepared and published by our Embassy.

Summing my interview up, I am glad to invite you to the charming and unique Uzbekistan.

I advise you to visit ancient Samarkand, Tashkent, Bukhara, Khiva, in order to feel the soul of our country. You will not only be able to touch the eternity and the greatness of priceless historical and cultural monuments, but also to get acquainted directly with our people and our youth modern life, to get acquainted with the activities of modern enterprises, schools, lyceums, colleges and universities. Uzbekistan is glad to open its doors for you!