TASHKENT—President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan welcomed a high-level U.S. delegation led by Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL 3rd District), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, on March 27, according to Uzbekistan news outlets and This significant meeting, which comes a year after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s historic first visit to Uzbekistan, underscores the growing importance of a bilateral relations between the US and Uzbekistan.
«Glad to meet with the U.S. Senator H.E. Steve Daines from the State of Montana,» wrote Baxtiyor Saidov, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, on his telegram channel. «Welcome the Senator’s efforts to facilitate more engagements of the Treasure State and the U.S. with Uzbekistan in all areas. We discussed the regional and global agenda, as well as the big potential of collaboration in agriculture, economy, energy, education, and more».

A Strategic Partnership

Discussions held during the visit centered on enhancing the strategic partnership between the two nations and fostering multifaceted cooperation, according to Uzbekistani outlets. President Mirziyoyev commended the collaborative efforts between the two countries’ parliaments, particularly highlighting the constructive role played by the U.S. Congressional Uzbekistan Caucus.
One of the notable outcomes of the discussions was the acknowledgment of the substantial increase in bilateral trade turnover, which had surged by 30% by the end of 2023. This growth is indicative of the strengthening economic ties between Uzbekistan and the United States, with an increasing number of American companies investing in Uzbekistan, such as Air Products, which is spearheading projects exceeding $10 billion in the country. Both parties also agreed to facilitate business missions from various American regions to Uzbekistan, further enhancing economic cooperation.
Apart from economic matters, the discussions also touched upon significant international and regional issues, including the situation in Afghanistan. This demonstrates the shared interest of both countries in addressing regional challenges and promoting stability in the broader Central Asian region.
In a separate meeting with the Ministry of Defense, Congressman Mike Rogers engaged with Lieutenant General Bakhodir Kurbanov, Minister of Defense of Uzbekistan. The discussions emphasized the principles of equality, trust, and respect as fundamental pillars of the evolving strategic partnership between Uzbekistan and the United States. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the significant progress achieved in bilateral cooperation, marked by active exchanges of information and mutual visits.

US Delegation’s Broader Mission

As part of the same trip, the U.S. Delegation also visited Saudi Arabia and Turkey with the aim of fostering regional cooperation and addressing key geopolitical areas of concern, like Israel’s Gaza War.
«This delegation comes at a critical time. The United States and partners and allies need to work together to keep regional conflicts from escalating to wider wars. Frank conversations with friends are essential to ensuring that we secure our shared interests, address concerns, and build enduring partnerships. This is particularly important for countries that are not always in agreement but share many of the same hopes and aspirations for stability and prosperity,» they said in a joint statement issued on April 1, 2024.
«The delegation underscored the importance of Israel’s right to self-defense and discussed joint efforts to end the conflict.»
This comes at a time amid ongoing international pressure for an immediate ceasefire, particularly among Muslim nations like Turkey and Saudi Arabia who have recently renewed their calls. (While Uzbekistan has voted for a ceasefire as well, it maintains good relations with Israel, with Israel’s Ambassador to Israel Zehavit Ben Hillel sharing that she had a «fruitful discussion» with Dr. Muzaffar Kamilov, Advisor to the President of Uzbekistan on inter-religious affairs, in an post on April 2.
They also sought common ground with their counterparts on security, counter-terrorism, human rights, and pushing back against Russia’s actions in Ukraine. The delegation expressed gratitude for the dedication of U.S. service members and civilians in the region.
«We are grateful for their selfless and tireless work to keep our nation safe.»

By Erin Levi