KEY FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES OF A RENEWED UZ Alisher Kadyrov, Head of Department, Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under BEKISTAN.

Committed to the development of mutually beneficial relations with all foreign partners, Uzbekistan concentrates its main foreign policy efforts on the most important areas identified in the Strategy of Actions for five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021. This document formulates the country's key priorities in the field of foreign policy:

* Strengthening the independencei1/2 and sovereignty of the state, further strengthening the place and role of the country as a full-fledged subject of international relations, joining the number of developed democratic states, creating a belt of security, stability and good-neighborliness around Uzbekistan;

* Strengthening the international image of the Republic of Uzbekistan, bringing to the global community objective information about the reforms being carried out in the country;

* Improvement the regulatory and legal framework for foreign policy and foreign economic activity of Uzbekistan, as well as the legal framework for international cooperation;

settlement of issues of delimitation and demarcation of the state border of Uzbekistan.

In general, Uzbekistan's foreign policy priorities aim to build a stable, just and democratic state, promoting the country's external openness and developing regional and multilateral interaction.

"Basic foundations" of the foreign policy of a renewed Uzbekistan

The priorities of the country's modern foreign policy are in the plane of the tasks specified in the "Strategy of Action" and are reflected in practical steps to develop new approaches to expand ties in the international arena. In this regard, a number of relevant program documents have been developed and adopted, moreover, road maps have been approved for the further development of multifaceted cooperation with countries of the world, including Turkey, India, China, Japan, Germany, France, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and others. During visits at the highest and high levels, large-scale work is being carried out to promote a proactive, open, pragmatic and elaborated foreign policy course that meets the national interests of the country and is aimed at expanding relations with the states of near and far abroad. Certainly, the new priorities and approaches require a radical restructuring of the structure of the foreign policy department. New subdivisions were created in the Foreign Ministry, embassies were opened in Belarus and Oman, a number of consulates general in cities of Russia and Kazakhstan.

The economic component of diplomatic activity has been strengthened. Cooperation in the international arena should assist to solve problems on the socio-economic development of Uzbekistan by studying the best world experience, establishing relations with foreign states, which will contribute to the formation of the most favorable business environment and investment climate in the country.

In this context, the foreign policy strategy of the Republic has acquired new accents in the development of trade and economic cooperation with foreign countries and attracting foreign investment, advanced technologies in production, expanding the geography of domestic exports. As a result, in 2019, the inflow of foreign direct investment to our country increased. Their volume amounted to $ 4.2 billion, which is 3.7 times more than in 2018.

According to the results of the first half of this year, despite all the difficulties and restrictions associated with curbing the spread of Covid-19, the volume of foreign investment in the economy of Uzbekistan amounted to $ 4.8 billion, including direct investment - $ 3.2 billion. This was also facilitated by the fact that for the first time in the last 10 years, the country's position in the credit risk rating of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) improved.

According to the World Bank's Doing Business rating, the country rose by 7 positions ranking 8th place among 190 countries in terms of business registration, and was among best reformers. One of the most authoritative magazines in the world - "Economist" (Great Britain) recognized Uzbekistan as the country of the year - the state where reforms have been carried out at the fastest pace since 2017. Uzbekistan has introduced a visafree regime for citizens of 86 states and a simplified visa regime for citizens of 57 states. Last year, 6.7 million foreign tourists visited the country - an increase of 4.7 million, or 3.3 times more than in 2016.

The new foreign policy pursued by Uzbekistan is getting a worthy assessment of the international community. In particular, Richard Weitz, director of the US Hudson Institute's Center for Political-Military Studies, believes that Uzbekistan's foreign policy initiatives open up new opportunities for whole Central Asia. The republic is promoting an agenda that is based on the idea of a joint solution to existing...

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