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Russian, Uzbek presidents to discuss boosting agricultural supplies to Russia

December 10, 2014, 3:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW

“They will also discuss the issue of expanding the supplies of agricultural produce from Uzbekistan in connection with the U.S. and European Union’s sanctions,” - presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said

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© TASS / Mihail Metcel

MOSCOW, December 10. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Tashkent on December 10 will discuss with Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov prospects for boosting the Uzbek agricultural supplies to Russia, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.

“Undoubtedly, they will also discuss the issue of expanding the supplies of agricultural produce from Uzbekistan in connection with the U.S. and European Union’s sanctions,” Ushakov said. “The work in this sphere has been carried out for several months,” he added.

In particular, the two countries held negotiations at the level of companies in September. And in late November 2014, the sides made a decision to implement a joint project for the creation in Uzbekistan of mini fruit and vegetable processing facilities for exports to Russia.

During Putin’s visit the sides also plan to settle the question of Uzbekistan’s debt that has already increased to $890 million with interest. President Vladimir Putin and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov are expected to sign a particular agreement during the Russian leader’s official visit to Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent on Wednesday.

The document envisages “a discount in the sum of Uzbekistan’s debt, clearing the debt in a single payment, and then all the issues can be finally considered as settled,” Ushakov said.

Uzbekistan’s debt comprises the primary amount of $500 million and the rest of the sum is the interest accrued.

The decision will allow Russia and Uzbekistan to boost bilateral cooperation, including “opening new loans in particular in the sphere of arms trade,” Ushakov said.

“It is most important that during the upcoming visit the countries will close the issue of mutual financial claims. This question has been affecting to an extent development of the trade and economic relations, especially cooperation in the financial sphere,” he said. “Now, we have agreed preliminary and practically that we are approaching an intergovernmental agreement, which offers a discount of the debt and settlement of the remaining debt by one payment. After that, mutual claims in this sensitive issue would be considered as settled finally. Thus, we are opening new opportunities for development of the trade and economic ties. Including also development of the Russian military and technical presence in Uzbekistan, which would mean also supplies on the basis of partly loans of weaponry and modern military equipment.” The aide did not inform on the discount or other details of the agreement.

During Putin’s visit, the parties are expected to discuss further development of the Russian-Uzbek strategic partnership, primarily in the trade, investment, cultural and humanitarian spheres. Putin and the Uzbek leadership are due to exchange views on regional stability, including the situation in Afghanistan, the Kremlin press service said.

Ushakov said that the sides were planning for signing four documents - an intergovernmental agreement on the settlement of mutual financial claims and obligations, an agreement on the principal directions of the development and deepening of economic co-operation between Russia and Uzbekistan for 2015 - 2019, an interdepartmental protocol on the exchange of the results of analysis of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances seized from illegal turnover, as well as the programme of co-operation between the Russian and Uzbekistani Foreign Ministries for 2015.

Putin and Uzbek officials “are due to exchange views on regional stability, including the situation in Afghanistan”, he said.

The leaders will also discuss problems around the stopped supplies of Uzbekistan’s gas to Kyrgyzstan’s southern regions, intergovernmental disputes in use of water resources in Central Asia.

“Uzbekistan demonstrates interest to the Eurasian Economic Union. This will be another topic on the agenda of the visit,” the Russian presidential aide said.

The agreement on Putin’s visit to Tashkent was reached at a meeting of the Russian president with his Uzbek counterpart at the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) summit in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in September 2014. The aide said the negotiations will open with a meeting between Putin and Karimov, and later on members of the delegations will join the leaders. After that, will be signing of documents and the presidents will make statements for the media. The visit will be finished by an official dinner, after which the Russian president will leave for India.

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