11:15 / 20.09.2021
Valdai Club members to discuss regional development in the light of events in Afghanistan

First Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan Fakrhod Arziyev and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Andrey Rudenko will speak at the opening of the conference.

Photo: RIA Novosti / Ivan Klimychev

On September 20, the Valdai International Discussion Club, together with the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan, will hold a conference “Russia and Uzbekistan Facing Development and Security Challenges at a New Historical Stage of Interaction” in Tashkent, TASS reports.

This event will be the second conference held by Valdai in Uzbekistan – in November 2019, the Central Asian conference of the club was held in Samarkand in cooperation with the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies.

The intensity of expert ties between the two countries is primarily due to the special role of Uzbekistan – the largest country in the region in terms of population, which in recent years has managed to achieve significant success in attracting foreign investment, developing economic ties with Russia and other major international partners. “Under President Mirziyoyev, the traditionally friendly relations of Uzbekistan with Russia have intensified even more,” the Valdai Club stressed.

Conference topics

Although the conference will last only one day, its participants intend to cover the widest range of issues – bilateral relations between Russia and Uzbekistan, regional cooperation and interconnectedness and, of course, the situation in Afghanistan. The forum will be attended by about 30 experts from the two countries. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko and Uzbek First Deputy Foreign Minister Farkhod Arziyev will speak at the opening of the conference.

The first session, which will become the semantic core of all discussions, will be devoted to the issues of reforms and development in Central Asia and the approaches of Russia and Uzbekistan to this topic. Experts, in particular, will analyze the new policy of economic reforms and openness pursued by the leadership of Uzbekistan, its impact on the region as a whole.

During the second session, participants will consider internal and external factors of regional security, including in the context of the situation in Afghanistan, which creates new risks and increases uncertainty. One of the key topics will be the problem of military-technical cooperation between Russia and its allies in Central Asia.

Participants in the third session will discuss international trade and integration in the region. In particular, experts will analyze the prospects for Uzbekistan’s interaction with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and other options for integration in Central Asia.

The conference will also present a new report of the Valdai Club “Iron Frame of Eurasia: Achievements, Problems and Prospects of Continental Connectivity”, dedicated to transport and logistics issues with an emphasis on the development of railway communication.

Situation in Afghanistan

It is noteworthy that the conference in Tashkent will be the first meeting of the expert circles of Russia and Central Asia of this level after the seizure of power in Afghanistan by the Taliban. As the chairman of the board of the Valdai Club Fund Andrey Bystritsky said in an interview with a TASS correspondent, the choice of the site was largely determined by the latest events in this country. “We all understand that much in Central Asian topics is connected with Afghan history. And Uzbekistan, Tashkent are those places that should think about Afghanistan more than anyone else,” he said. 

According to Bystritsky, the topic of Afghanistan will one way or another be cross-cutting in all discussions. Afghanistan only symbolized the problems that were already developing in the region.