Uzbekistan was the first country in Central Asia in which Switzerland opened an embassy in 1993. Along with Kirghizstan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan is one of the main beneficiaries of Swiss development cooperation in the region. Switzerland has invested CHF 40 million this year. These efforts are concentrated on better water management as water is a precious resource in a region known for its intensive cultivation of cotton.
Uzbekistan is the most populous country in the region and has received investment from a number of Swiss firms. The two countries share agreements on economic and trade cooperation, the protection of investments and double taxation.
During the meeting with President Karimov, the two partners addressed the development of bilateral relations on the basis of their common membership of the OSCE and respect for its principles. They also examined the regional political situation and the implications for Uzbekistan of the major environmental challenges faced by it and its neighbours. Cooperation between the two countries within their Bretton Woods constituency (World Bank, International Monetary Fund) was deemed to be fruitful.
They discussed the impact of the troubles in Afghanistan, as well as the respective roles of the OSCE and the different regional cooperation organisations of which Uzbekistan is a member.
During her meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vladimir Norov, Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey discussed the work conducted in the UN Human Rights Council and the implementation of the recommendations made following the Universal Periodic Review that Switzerland and Uzbekistan participated in over the course of 2008.
After her visit to Uzbekistan, Federal Councillor Calmy-Rey will travel on to Kirghizstan this evening, the last leg of her trip to Central Asia
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