TASHKENT, June 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin does not rule out that some time in the future Uzbekistan may join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, although it is “subject to negotiations.”
“So far, we are speaking about a free trade zone within the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Putin told journalist.
Today, “Uzbekistan joined the CIS free trade zone,” he said. “It is a good sign, which proves that more and more CIS countries are interested in integration processes.”
The Russian leader said he was “satisfied with the results” of his brief visit to Uzbekistan. “We consider Uzbekistan as a key country in the region, with which we have a big volume of cooperation,” he noted and admitted that “not all problems are easy to settle.” In his words, today’s talks focused on “the entire spectrum of relations, on concrete projects.” As an example, he gave Russia’s oil major Lukoil, which plans to invest up to 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in projects in Uzbekistan within the next seven years. “We want to expand economic cooperation to industries, there are some plans but it is too early to speak about them,” he noted.
Putin also said he had agreed future contacts with his Uzbek counterpart.