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TASHKENT (TCA) — As part of Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Turkey, official delegations of Uzbekistan and Turkey convened on February 19 in Ankara for the first session of the Strategic Cooperation Council of the two countries.

The new body operates under the co-chairmanship of the Presidents of Uzbekistan and Turkey. It defines a joint strategy for the development of cooperation in the fields of politics, security and defense, economy and trade, investments, tourism, energy, transport and transit, agriculture and forestry, culture, education, science and technology, innovation, healthcare, as well as in other areas of mutual interest, the Uzbek president’s press service reported.

The co-chairs of the Joint Uzbek-Turkish Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation regularly report to the Council on the results achieved. The coordinating bodies of the Council are the two countries’ ministries of foreign affairs.

At the first session, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted the Uzbek leader and expressed satisfaction with the enhancing interaction between the parliaments, government agencies and business circles of the two countries. Erdogan stressed his full-fledged support for joint projects with Uzbekistan.

President Mirziyoyev said: “This meeting is a bright embodiment of the current high level of strategic partnership between our two nations. Surely, the Council will serve as an important backbone for the implementation of priority tasks to bring the trade turnover between our countries to five billion dollars in the coming years. It’s advisable for us to consolidate the results of this session and now decide on the agenda for the upcoming meeting next year and the key areas of our cooperation.”

The Uzbek-Turkish cooperation has intensified significantly over the past three years. Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s state visit to Turkey in October 2017 and Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Uzbekistan in April 2018 strengthened mutual political trust and opened up great opportunities for a fruitful partnership.

The bilateral trade turnover exceeded 2.5 billion dollars in 2019 in contrast to the nearly 1.2 billion US dollars in 2016. In Uzbekistan, there are more than 1.3 thousand enterprises with the participation of Turkish investments. Under implementation are investment projects worth $500 million.

Interaction has been expanding in the transport sector. For instance, in 2019, the volume of motor road transportation grew by 33 percent, that by rail rose by 17 percent, and by air – by 42 percent.

In addition, 64 thousand Turkish tourists visited Uzbekistan last year.

The meeting addressed a wide range of issues of interstate cooperation and reviewed key tasks for the future. The parties agreed on the realization of joint projects.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev invited Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Uzbekistan to the next session of the Strategic Cooperation Council.

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