Kazakhstan ratifies treaty with Uzbekistan on strategic partnership16 may 2014, 16:33
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed the law ratifying the Strategic Cooperation Treaty between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Tengrinews reports citing the presidential press-office.
The parties will build their relations based on equality, strategic partnership and mutual trust.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agreed to strengthen their mutually beneficial oil and gas, political and economic cooperation. Kazakhstan remains one of the key trade partners of Uzbekistan. Over 120 enterprises with the Uzbek participation are registered in Kazakhstan, and around 180 companies with Kazakh participation are registered in Uzbekistan.
Both sides have undertaken to contribute to resolution of water and energy disputes in Central Asia. The document also deals with construction of new hydro facilities on trans-border rivers, such as the Syrdarya River.
The treaty solves the outstanding transportation issue by establishing new bus routes, developing air and rail routes, and creating an inter-state transport corridor.
The sides also agreed to cooperate in the military and civil defense and develop contacts between the emergency services to be able to jointly react to disasters.
Health care, transport and communications, education, culture, tourism and sport are also among the fields where Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agreed to collaborate.
Besides, the document establishes joint coordination and sets out an action plan for prevention and elimination of international terrorist threats, violent extremism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal drug and human trafficking and other threats to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both states.
The relationships between Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have traditionally been viewed an strained, even though they have signed over 100 bilateral agreements since becoming independent in 1991. The two countries are the most influential states in Central Asia and they have always contested each other's role in the region. Uzbekistan boasts the largest population and strong military, while Kazakhstan is the richest in natural resources, especially oil and uranium, and has the most successful economy in the region.
Uzbekistan's Karimov and Kazakhstan's Nazarbayev have long pursued very different foreign policies, with Kazakhstan's being those of multi-vector universal balance and Uzbekistan's being largely confrontational towards Kazakhstan and other neighboring states.
But working together "Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan may play a crucial role in solution of a number of principal matters, connected with the stability in the Central Asian region and prospects of its sustainable development," President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov said way back in 2008 while visiting Kazakhstan.
During discussions of the bill in the Kazakhstan Parliament in April, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Aleksey Volkov said that Uzbekistan was open for cooperation with Kazakhstan. Uzbekistan was first to ratify this treaty, which showed that it was interested in strategic partnership with Kazakhstan, he said.
The agreement was signed on June 14, 2013 during the official visit of Nursultan Nazarbayev to Uzbekistan.
Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina