Today High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell met with Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Vladimir Norov, in Brussels.

The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the state of play of EU-Uzbek relations. Both sides welcomed the recent completion of the negotiation of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA). The EPCA will provide a new, modern and ambitious framework to step up the EU-Uzbekistan partnership. The agreement includes new areas of cooperation and significantly upgrades the regulatory framework for trade and economic relations.

HR/VP Borrell welcomed the economic and political reforms in carried out by Uzbekistan and expressed hope that the reform process will be irreversible. Regarding the violent protests in the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan in early July, the HR/VP inquired about the investigation launched after the protests. He also recalled the importance of meaningful consultation with all stakeholders especially for changes to the constitution.

HR/VP Borrell thanked Uzbekistan for hosting the EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting on 17 November and the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference on 18 November, both planned to take place in Samarkand. Connectivity is a priority for the EU in its relations with the region of Central Asia.

HR/VP Borrell and Minister Norov also briefly discussed the upcoming summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and of the Organisation of Turkic States (OTS), which both will be hosted by Uzbekistan this year.