Political relations

After a slowdown following the adoption of sanctions in 2005, France is developing its relations with Uzbekistan through regular political dialogue and cooperation projects.

France contributed to efforts to release Mutabar Tadjibayeva in June 2008, who was arrested after criticizing the government’s management of the Andijan events and sentenced in 2006 to eight years of prison. She received France’s Human Rights Award.

Bilateral visits

The year 2012 marked significant revitalization of our high-level political dialogue with visits to Uzbekistan by the Transport and Defence Ministers and a meeting in Paris of the Foreign Minister with his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulaziz Kamilov, on 16 October.

Laurent Fabius made a visit to Uzbekistan on 2 March 2013, which was the first by a French Foreign Minister to this country. On this visit, he was received by President Islam Karimov. This also provided the opportunity to relaunch bilateral economic relations.

The Uzbek Defence Minister visited France on 1-3 April 2014 at the invitation of Jean-Yves Le Drian. The Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade came to Paris on 13 March for a meeting of the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation.

Foreign Minister Kamilov then met again with Mr Fabius in Paris on 7 November 2014.

Matthius Fekl co-chaired a meeting of the Joint Economic Commission in Tachkent on 20 July 2016. The Minster of State André Vallini met with Foreign Minister Kamilov in Brussels on 5 October 2016 at an international conference on Afghanistan.

Jean-Marc Ayrault met with his counterpart Mr Kamilov in Hamburg on 8 December 2016 on the sidelines of an OSCE Ministerial Council meeting.

Economic relations

Based mainly on a few major contracts, our trade not including weapons has fluctuated since 2010 around €200 million a year, far behind Kazakhstan (€4.88 billion in 2014).

Some 30 French companies are working in Uzbekistan through country offices. France has remained a lower-ranking business partner, far behind Russia, China, Korea and even Germany. An investment protection agreement has been in force since 1996 and an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion since 2003. Uzbekistan is eligible for FASEP funds (studies) and the Emerging Country Reserve (RPE). France granted Uzbekistan a concessional loan from the RPE of €15 million for the rehabilitation, launched in 2015, of pumping stations in Navoi and Utchkara. The Agence Française du Développement (AFD) opened an office in Uzbekistan and signed an initial agreement on the funding for a project for waste management in Samarkand in December 2016.

Some 7,000 French people visited Uzbekistan in 2015.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The promotion of the French culture and language is the French Embassy’s main priority. France also supports five major projects concerning archaeological excavations and the restoration of cultural heritage (Timurid paving of the White Palace of Shakhrisabz inaugurated in 2014). After the Institut Français in Uzbekistan was closed in July 2014, an Alliance Française opened its doors in Tashkent in summer 2015.

The chancellors of two of the main universities of the country (foreign languages and the economy) visited France from 5 to 7 March 2014 for the Central Asia Days organized by Campus France. They visited French schools with whom partnerships are being concluded, especially with a view to participating jointly in the European Erasmus + programme.

In October 2012 the National School for Administration (ENA) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Public Administration Academy of Uzbekistan (APA) then welcomed a study mission of this Academy in March 2013.

Bilateral technical cooperation is mainly focused on actions in the area of legal and institutional development, particularly strengthening institutions.

Military and defence cooperation

Uzbekistan decided to enhance its cooperation with Western countries with the aim of bolstering its security following the withdrawal of the Afghanistan international coalition in late 2014. The resumption of the Joint French-Uzbek Defence Commission in March 2012 and the relaunching of a French military mission in Tashkent the following July is helping to develop cooperation providing advice and expertise to form and train armed forces. The resumption of armaments committees in April 2012 also enabled France to identify cooperation sectors in this area.

Updated: 24/01/17