U.S. Ambassador Pamela Spratlen’s Interview to Jahon IA

Ms. Ambassador, our conversation is taking place on the eve of celebration of the anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence. Tell us, please, with what feelings and emotional experiences do you associate this day?

I would note that Uzbekistan has come a long way since independence.  Changes underway now signal a better future in many areas from education, to health care, to agriculture.  There is much to do, but I am optimistic as I feel the government seems more committed than ever to ensuring that tomorrow will be better than today.

Looking back over the past 26 years, both of our countries have faced many challenges.  But we also have created opportunities and found common ground.  It is clear that we are strongest when we work together, and we will continue to seek opportunities to do just that.

According to the good tradition, every year in Uzbekistan is dedicated to a certain social area. During the current year Uzbekistan is implementing the State Program Year of Dialogue with people and human interests. How can you assess the measures taken in the country to ensure the rights of citizens and protection of their interests? We would be grateful to hear your opinion on the achievements of Uzbekistan in the reform of the socio-political and socio-economic spheres.

The decision to dedicate this year to “dialogue with people and human interests” is a positive sign, as it emphasizes the responsibility of all governments to communicate with their citizens and respond to their needs.  President Mirziyoyev’s statements supporting this dialogue are encouraging. The key will be to implement these reforms fully.  Efforts to improve practices in the cotton harvest and diversify the economy are steps in a positive direction.  We complement such efforts through USAID-supported agricultural projects that are expanding the cultivation of Uzbekistan’s wonderful, high value fruits and vegetables. In the media sphere, the increased willingness of high ranking government officials to speak with the media is good, and we hope this program will expand providing journalists, both state and independent, with access to senior officials to discuss issues of interest to the people of Uzbekistan.

One cannot discuss the human interests without taking into account education which is the key to unlocking opportunities for citizens in any society.  Throughout the year, the United States has continued to partner with the Government of Uzbekistan to create educational opportunities by: providing highly-qualified English language instructors to Universities throughout the country; providing materials to establish Resource Centers for University Students; and bringing in experts in teaching methodologies to partner with Uzbekistan’s leading specialists in curriculum development.  Education is a shared value and just one of many areas in which we partner.

Both in the United States and in Uzbekistan almost at the same time new heads of state began their work. On the margins of the Arab-US Islamic Summit in the city of Riyadh Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a brief meeting with Donald Trump. Heads of the two states regularly exchange congratulatory messages on the occasion of significant dates and holidays. In light of this, Ms. Ambassador, could you share your assessment of status and prospects for the development of bilateral relations between Uzbekistan and the USA?

In a time of transition, it is important to note that some things remain constant.  As it has for 26 years, the United States continues to support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Uzbekistan. Correspondence between Presidents Trump and Mirziyoyev is one part of the respectful and open dialogue that we maintain in order to work on a broad range of bilateral issues. Today, we cooperate on common security challenges, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and stability in Afghanistan.

Commercial development is another priority.  The recent launch of American brand RC Cola in Uzbekistan, the establishment of a direct flight from Tashkent to New York, and newly established partnerships between U.S. and Uzbek universities are all positive signs.  There are numerous other possibilities, ranging from an improved business climate to a more open place for civil society, that can only contribute to a more open and prosperous Uzbekistan and to a more dynamic range of areas for future cooperation.

We collaborate on science and technology development, and are open to broader cooperation in education and people-to-people exchanges.  The United States stands ready to expand our partnership with Uzbekistan for the security and prosperity of our nations and the region.

Your wishes to the people of Uzbekistan on the occasion 26th anniversary of the Independence of our country.

Marking this holiday, I would like to congratulate all the citizens of Uzbekistan and wish them peace, happiness, and prosperity. “С Праздником!” “Mustaqillik bayramingiz muborak bo’lsin!”

Jahon IA