Tuesday, 25, February, 2020

Uzbekistan is requesting for waivers when joining the EAEU and a migration amnesty, it became known durign the visit of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov to Tashkent, Kommersant said.

According to Kommersant, originally the Russian delegation also planned to use this visit to learn the opinion of the Uzbek officials on the new US strategy for Central Asia which was supposedly to be presented by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 6 in Tashkent during the C5+1 format meeting with the Central Asian foreign ministers.

But the U.S. Secretary of State had to postpone the visit to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine due to the rise of tensions in the Middle East. Most likely, the visit may take place in late January-early February.

However, these factors reportedly did not affect the main purpose of Sergey Lavrov’s visit: preparation for the state visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Russia.

Kommersant added that the visit is due in the first half of the summer. This will be a separate event from the 75th WWII victory celebrations on May 9, which the Uzbek leader is also expected to attend.

The parties reportedly have high expectations from the upcoming state visit, with a declaration on comprehensive strategic partnership between Uzbekistan and Russia expected to be signed. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, about 20 more bilateral documents are currently being worked out by Russian ministries and departments. They will be discussed in detail at the spring meeting of the intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation.

Some areas of cooperation are of particular importance to the parties.

According to the Kommersant’s source, the Uzbek authorities would like the Russian authorities to grant a broad amnesty for Uzbek labor migrants.

Several hundred thousand citizens of Uzbekistan cannot enter Russia for violation of the Russian migration laws, with virtually the same number of violators still in Russia not willing to leave, fearing from being deported.

Kommersant says that Moscow has interest in Tashkent integration into the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) adding that Tashkent has not yet made a decision and is now weighing all the pros and cons.

At the same time, according to Kommersant’s sources, Uzbekistan has already made it clear to potential future partners in the union that it would like some sort of transitional period waivers for a number of its industries (in some cases up to ten years).

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