France and Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations on 1 March 1992. A series of intergovernmental agreements, which constitute the basis for relations between France and Uzbekistan, were signed during President Karimov’s visit to France in 1993. After 11 September 2001, French involvement in Afghanistan contributed to strengthening political dialogue with Tashkent. Relations cooled following the adoption of European sanctions (2005-2009) over the suppression of protests in Andijan, but were later rekindled by France through regular political dialogue and a variety of cooperation projects.
The Uzbek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kamilov, who has held office since 2012, has visited Paris on several occasions and participated in celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Central Asia on 29 March 2017. French Ministers of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius and Jean-Marc Ayrault visited Uzbekistan in March 2013 and April 2017, respectively. President Mirziyoyev’s official visit to Paris on 8 and 9 October 2018 spurred on bilateral cooperation. During this visit, institutional agreements and other contracts were signed, laying the foundations for cooperation that is set to strengthen in line with Uzbekistan’s desire for openness and liberalization.
Trade between France and Uzbekistan is largely based on a few large contracts and has fluctuated at around €200 million per year. Some 30 French companies are established in Uzbekistan. The AFD’s regional headquarters for Central Asia is based in Tashkent. The AFD has started its first project at Samarkand in the field of waste management. A MEDEF International delegation visited Tashkent in May 2017 to identify new business opportunities.
The Alliance Française branch in Tashkent, created in 2015 following the closure of the Institut Français in Uzbekistan, is the French agency responsible for linguistic and cultural outreach. France supports several important archaeological excavation and heritage restoration projects, including the renovation of the Ambassadors’ or Afrasiab Painting, unveiled in 2017.