Uzbekistan, NATO's relations with
NATO's relations with Uzbekistan Left to right: President Islam Karimov shaking hands with NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. NATO and Uzbekistan are actively developing practical cooperation. The Alliance welcomes the country’s attendance at Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council meetings and its engagement in discussions with Allies and partners. Defence-related fields of cooperation are being carried out primarily through the Planning and Review Process (PARP), which Uzbekistan joined in 2002. Other areas of practical cooperation include education, training of personnel, civil emergency planning and science. In 2008, Uzbekistan and NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme reached an agreement to convert several tons of toxic mélange into a harmless chemical. The conversion process was successfully completed during the summer of 2010. Framework for cooperation Dialogue takes place within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, conducts high-level political dialogue with Uzbek authorities through regular visits to the country. The NATO Liaison Officer in Central Asia is based in Tashkent and is responsible for regularly engaging with the government on cooperation. Under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, NATO and Uzbekistan are developing practical cooperation in a number of areas through the country’s Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP) and PARP. Key areas of cooperation Security cooperation From 2002 onwards Uzbekistan played a key role in supporting Allied operations in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan permitted Germany the use of its airfield at Termez. Uzbekistan also allowed overflight and transit permission for Allied forces and supplies. Uzbekistan continues to be a main transit route for humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan, the majority of which is delivered via the Hairaton Bridge. Specialists from Uzbekistan have also assisted in implementing tangible infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, including the reconstruction of ten bridges connecting the northern part of the country with Kabul. In 2009, Uzbekistan, along with Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus, completed an agreement with NATO allowing the transportation of non-lethal ISAF cargo to Afghanistan by rail. The first trial shipment was successfully completed in June 2010. Defence and security sector reform NATO supports the democratic and institutional reform processes in Uzbekistan. Specifically in the area of defence and security sector reform, NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise that Uzbekistan can draw upon. Uzbekistan’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) since 2002 aims at attaining interoperability between elements of its armed forces and those of NATO Allies. While there was a pause in PARP cooperation following the events in Andijan in 2005, Uzbekistan reaffirmed its participation in the programme in 2010. Along with several other countries in Central Asia, Uzbekistan has received counter-terrorism training through NATO-funded courses. In May 2010, officials from Uzbekistan attended an Advanced Training Course, funded through NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme, to learn the latest counter-terrorism methods and strategies. Uzbekistan has also benefited from counter-narcotics training. In 2008, Uzbek officers were able to put to use the counter-narcotics training they received through an initiative of the NATO-Russia Council, when they seized nearly 600 kilograms of heroin that was being smuggled through the country. Uzbekistan continues to participate in seminars and workshops on defence policy and strategy within the PfP framework, as well as military education of Uzbek officers, with an emphasis on English language training. Work has also begun on the establishment of a PfP Training Centre in Tashkent. Civil emergency planning Civil emergency planning and disaster-relief coordination are significant areas of cooperation. Uzbekistan hosted the first EAPC exercise held in Central Asia in April 2003. Exercise “Ferghana 2003” simulated an international response to a major earthquake in the region. NATO and Uzbekistan are continuing cooperation in this area today. Uzbekistan is developing its civil response capacity for natural and man-made emergency situations in consultation with the Allies. This includes updating planning procedures and organization methods for rescue operations. Science and environment Under the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, Uzbekistan has received grant awards for over 50 projects for scientific and environmental collaboration, while scientists and experts from Uzbekistan have had leading roles in 164 activities, including in various cooperative activities as participants and key speakers. In May 2010, scientists and engineers from Uzbekistan, as well as other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region, took part in a NATO science programme designed to train participants in securing cyber networks. The primary goal of the training was to strengthen the cyber networks of the educational and scientific communities in the CIS region. Uzbekistan also participates in the Virtual Silk Highway project, which aims to improve internet access for academic and research communities in countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia through a satellite-based network. Public Information In every partner country an embassy of one of the NATO member states serves as a contact point and operates as a channel for disseminating information about the role and policies of the Alliance. The current NATO Contact Point Embassy in Uzbekistan is the embassy of Italy. Evolution of relations NATO-Uzbekistan relations began in 1992, when Uzbekistan joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later replaced by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997). Relations further developed in 1994, when Uzbekistan signed up to the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme, and in 2002, when the country acceded to the Planning and Review Process (PARP). The process of supporting Uzbekistan’s domestic reforms intensified, and the country’s role in PfP activities continued to increase. While Uzbekistan-NATO relations declined to some extent following the events in Andijan in 2005, currently NATO and Uzbekistan engage in regular dialogue through the EAPC and are actively redeveloping cooperation in a number of specific fields. Key milestones 1992 Uzbekistan joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997. 1994 Uzbekistan joins the Partnership for Peace. 1995 Uzbekistan signs a security agreement with NATO. 1996 Uzbekistan and NATO agree on the country's first Individual Partnership Programme (IPP). Uzbekistan signs the PfP SOFA agreement with the Allies. 2002 Uzbekistan is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway. Uzbekistan joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP). 2003 NATO and partner countries complete a major disaster response exercise in Uzbekistan. 2005 NATO’s Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, calls for an independent investigation into the events at Andijan in May; the NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopts a declaration also recommending an independent investigation into these events. 2008 Uzbekistan signs an agreement to carry out a Science for Peace and Security project aimed at the destruction of the country’s stocks of mélange, a very toxic substance. 2009 Conversion of the country’s stock of the toxic mélange into a harmless chemical begins near Samarkand. 2010 NATO completes arrangements with several countries, including Uzbekistan, for the transit of non-lethal ISAF cargo to Afghanistan by rail. Mélange conversion project successfully completed. 2011 President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, visits NATO Headquarters and meets with the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in January. 2012 Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and Defence Minister Kabul Berdiev attend the 25th NATO summit meeting in Chicago.