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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is set for long-term cooperation with Uzbekistan, the Bank’s Managing Director for Central Asia and Russia, Natalia Khanzhenkova said in an interview to Jahon IA. She arrived in Tashkent on February 6 to discuss cooperation prospects.

"Now we are discussing with government of Uzbekistan the key priorities for cooperation, - Natalia Khanzhenkova said after the talks with the Uzbek Foreign Minister, Abdulaziz Kamilov. - In consultation with the government, we will define specific sectors in the Uzbek economy, into which the Bank could invest."

So far, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and improving the business environment in the country have been the priority areas, the managing director added. She stressed that the parties "will not  content themselves with the traditional sectors of the economy and are looking forward to new innovative sectors."

"Current economic conditions allow us to have a fresh look at the state and prospects of cooperation. We are focused on long-term cooperation with Uzbekistan in the areas of mutual interest, "- Natalia Khanzhenkova said.

The upcoming visit of the EBRD President, Suma Chakrabarti to Tashkent shall serve to extending of ties between Uzbekistan and the Bank, she added.

Uzbekistan joined the EBRD in 1992. The Bank has implemented 55 projects in the country, investing a total of nearly 900 million euros. The last EBRD strategy for Uzbekistan was adopted in the summer of 2005, and the last project was completed in 2007.

At present, in Uzbekistan EBRD is focusing only on the support of the existing investment portfolio, which amounts to 8 million EUR in 5 projects.

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