Azerbaijan's relations with CIS partners, in particular with the countries of Central Asia, have intensified recently. It is proved by the state visits of the heads of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan has played and plays an important role in the foreign policy of Azerbaijan, which is based not only on historical and linguistic affinity of the two nations, but also on the mutual political support and broad prospects for economic cooperation between them. Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan historically have similar positions on major aspects of regional and international politics, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which occupies a special place, the position of Baku on which is consistently and strongly supported by Tashkent.
The current visit of President Islam Karimov to Azerbaijan aims to address the multifaceted issues of bilateral cooperation, to give a new impetus to bilateral relations, as well as open new promising directions.
We have already seen the results of the last exchange of visits by the heads of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, including in the economic sphere.
Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan are trading partners - Uzbekistan supplies vehicles, nonferrous metals, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, electrical and mechanical equipment, and agricultural products to Azerbaijan, provides services in transportation, tourism and other areas. Azerbaijan exports mechanical devices, pastries and various organic chemicals, tanning and dyeing extracts to Uzbekistan.
The companies with investment capital of Azerbaijan are also represented in some economic sectors of Uzbekistan.
Azerbaijan is also an important partner of Uzbekistan in the area of ??transport infrastructure. Its geographical location, as well as political and economic stability make Azerbaijan an important transit country through which Uzbekistan will be able to carry out freight to Europe and back.
In recent days the Central Asian countries have a particular interest in transport links to Europe via the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus to the Black and Mediterranean seas. This interest is justified, as these routes will reduce the length of the existing transport corridors around the Caspian Sea, and diversify the transportation routes in the region.
In this respect, it is worth noting the importance of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is able to transport goods from Uzbekistan through Azerbaijan to Europe and the Middle East.
The two presidents have given particular attention to this issue during Karimov's visit to Azerbaijan. The parties anticipate that this project will create new conditions for transport and communication projects, which are economically efficient.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is important not only for Azerbaijan as a transit country, for the Central Asian region as a short and convenient way to Europe, but, of course, for Tashkent, which will gain a great opportunity to further expand into new markets.
In addition, the sides touched upon the issue of building a new line, the new Silk Road, which, as noted in a press statement, "will unite the continent for many years and provide a large transport capacity, realization of this capacity for our countries, as well as promote confidence-building measures in the region."
During the visit the presidents of Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan also discussed the issue of investment, which was predictable.
Both Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have great economic and financial potential as well as extensive technical capabilities for the development of investment cooperation.
The sides signed an action plan to implement the program of economic cooperation between the governments of Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan for 2012-2015 in the frame of the visit of Islam Karimov to Azerbaijan.
The signing of these documents gives reason to expect an expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries, which is essential to strengthen their economies and diversification of foreign economic relations.
Now it's safe to say that Karimov's visit to Azerbaijan in case of implementation of agreements, will make a major contribution to the strengthening of constructive political dialogue between the parties, as well as promote the development of economic and cultural relations between Tashkent and Baku, which will be another important element in effective cooperation of two fraternal republics.Viktoriya Zhavoronkova