Uzbek President’s visit to Saudi Arabia inaugurates a new phase in relations between Uzbekistan and the Kingdom

Uzbek President's visit to Saudi Arabia inaugurates a new phase in relations between Uzbekistan and the Kingdom

Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – The visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia tomorrow, Wednesday, is expected to inaugurate a new phase of cooperation and joint work in the bilateral relations that unite the two countries.

On Monday, Uzbekistan announced that President Mirziyoyev would make an official visit to Saudi Arabia from August 17-18, at the invitation of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

According to Uzbekistan National News Agency (UzA), High-level talks will take place in Jeddah. Issues of further enhancing multilateral cooperation between the two countries will be discussed. The primary attention will be paid to the issues of the green economy, the sphere of high technologies and digitalization, innovations, small businesses and entrepreneurship.

 Following the summit, a large package of bilateral documents is expected to be signed.

The President of Uzbekistan will also hold meetings with the heads of leading Saudi companies and prestigious international structures – the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank.

Relations between the two countries have witnessed an increasing momentum during the recent period with their intensification of mutual visits and joint activities.

At the political level, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia follow the same approach to many regional and international issues, adopting similar positions on regional security and confronting modern threats and challenges.

The two countries are working to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the United Nations and its various bodies and organs, including by exercising mutual support for their respective positions and candidacies.

In July 2021, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Uzbekistan in the context of activating bilateral relations. The Saudi Foreign Minister also participated in the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Interdependence, Challenges and Opportunities” held during the same month.

In July of this year, a high-level delegation from Uzbekistan visited Saudi Arabia and held meetings and discussions with the Saudi Shura Council, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan are also characterized by fruitful cooperation within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) framework and its specialized institutions, in particular ISESCO, COMSTECH, the Islamic Center for Development of Trade, the Islamic Development Bank and the Center for Islamic Studies.

On the economic level, the two countries seek to enhance trade exchange between them, as trade indicators from January to June 2022 amounted to more than 95 million US dollars.

 Recently, the two countries exchanged visits by economic delegations headed by senior officials from both sides to enhance economic cooperation in various fields, especially with the great potential of the Saudi economy, as Saudi Arabia is a member of the Group of Twenty of the largest global economies.

Last March, Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih made an official visit to Uzbekistan, during which he met with the Uzbek President, co-chaired the fifth meeting of the Saudi-Uzbek Joint Committee, and attended the Tashkent International Investment Forum.

During the visit, the Saudi Minister of Investment headed the Kingdom’s delegation, which includes officials from government agencies and leaders of the private sector, to discuss ways of cooperation with their counterparts from the Republic of Uzbekistan in the sectors of health, agriculture, trade, energy and petrochemicals.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uzbekistan have launched a partnership aimed at implementing ambitious economic plans to diversify the economy and sources of national income by implementing a wide range of reforms”, Al-Falih said during that visit.

He indicated that there is no doubt that the two countries can advance the Saudi-Uzbek partnership to broader horizons.

The two countries also sought to enhance investment activities in the energy field. In this regard, close cooperation was established between the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan and the Saudi company ACWA Power, with the signing of a number of investment agreements totalling about $3 billion.

Under the agreements, ACWA Power will undertake the implementation, development, construction and operation of a wind energy project with a production capacity of 1,500 megawatts in the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan, which will become the largest of its kind in the Central Asian region, and one of the largest wind power plants in the world.

This project aims to enhance the efforts of the Uzbek government to diversify the energy mix in the Republic of Uzbekistan and increase its capacity to produce renewable energy, in line with the strategic reforms the country has been witnessing recently.

Following the signing of the agreement, Uzbek Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said: “As an energy-producing country, we in Uzbekistan are learning a lot from our partners in the Middle East, especially our partners from Saudi Arabia, in our quest to transition to a low carbon economy. ACWA Power will significantly contribute to our plan to generate 25% of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030.”

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