News ticker Germany-Uzbekistan:
- German government official “liberalizes” as Uzbek Vice Minister for Economics: a complete novelty
Federal President Steinmeier in Uzbekistan: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made a state visit to Uzbekistan from May 27th to 29th. This state visit signals support and encouragement from Germany and the European Unionespecially for the liberal economic reform course of President Mirziyoyev, who has been in power since 2016, as well as for the tentative progress made in the protection of human rights. At a meeting with his Uzbek counterpart, Steinmeier emphasized: “We are following the political, economic and social upheaval under your leadership with a lot of respect and sympathy.” Steinmeier was accompanied by representatives of large companies such as Siemens, Linde, MAN and Claas, who have been around since active in the country in the early 1990’s. Nevertheless, there are critical voices, especially in Uzbekistan, who describe the course of reform as contradicting, inconsistent and hesitant, because the political system remains strictly authoritarian and political liberalization does not seem to be planned.
Reactivation of OSCE work under the German Chairmanship? According to constructmaterials, the then Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in March 2016. In the run-up, Steinmeier also gave reasons that led him to Central Asia: “Mostly in the shadow of international attention, the interests of the major regional powers Russia, China and Iran clash here. There are huge economic opportunities and considerable stability risks that we do not care about may be. ” Therefore, in addition to bilateral relations, the talks in the three Central Asian landlocked countries also focused on counter-terrorism, regional cooperation and economic “connectivity” in the OSCE area. Among other things, it was about reactivating the OSCE work in the region, which was overshadowed by the usb. Government was downgraded. Not least Routine human rights violations in Uzbekistan were also on the agenda . Since Andizhan, its relations with Uzbekistan have been a rather uncomfortable topic for the EU: Immediately after the massacre, it was outraged and initiated sanctions. However, these were lifted again in 2009, although Uzbekistan did not meet any of its human rights claims. The EU is twisting and believes it can still see a half-full glass there in terms of human rights – despite all evidence to the contrary.
Uzbek President Mirziyoyev’s first official visit to Germany took place on January 21, 2019, after 18 years, “during which time some things stagnated in Uzbekistan,” as Chancellor Merkel carefully put it in her welcoming address. In Berlin, Mirziyoyev met Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble. In the run-up to the visit and in connection with the promised liberalization of trade in Uzbekistan, investment agreements with a volume of over 4 billion euros were signed at the German-Uzbek Economic Forum in Berlin. The economically stagnant Uzbekistan is in acute need of investment instructed from the west. In addition, both sides want to expand their cooperation in the fields of technology and culture. The “exciting neighborhood” of Uzbekistan – meaning Afghanistan – opens up further opportunities for Germany to work with Uzbekistan.
On the visit of Uzbek President Shawkat Mirsiyoyev, Manuel Sarrazin, spokesman for Eastern European policy, said: “Despite some positive developments, Uzbekistan remains a deeply authoritarian regime. The federal government must urge progress, particularly in the area of human rights and freedom of expression. The political prisoners must be released immediately, forced labor The only way to expand economic cooperation is through radical domestic political reforms. Chancellor Merkel must make it clear to Shawkat Mirsiyoyev that she stands by those who stand up for a democratic and constitutional Uzbekistan. ”
Terror threat for Germany? Some observers question the fact that Germany is threatened by the “growing threat of terrorism from Uzbekistan”. The Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) from Uzbekistan is held responsible for a number of planned and threatened terrorist attacks in Germany. For example, the so-called Sauerland group or Sauerland cell and ‘Abu Talha’ from the latest threat video should be controlled by the IJU. But there are serious doubts in secret service and diplomatic circles about the actual existence of the IJU. The broadcast Monitor (WDR) reports on the strong doubts about the IJU:
“Islamic State” and Central Asia / Uzbekistan
Since 2013, citizens of the Central Asian states have become increasingly visible among foreign jihadists in the ranks of the IS militia in Syria and Iraq. After initially ignoring the problem in their countries of origin, a discussion has now begun about how (young) people in particular can be discouraged from joining the Islamic State. The discussion about suitable measures was sparked mainly by the fact that a number of Central Asian countries are concerned that Syrian fighters might return and carry out attacks at home. The repressive climate in Central Asian countries (albeit to a different extent) towards openly manifest religiosity makes it difficult to make a realistic assessment of the recruitment, radicalization and possible further development of Central Asian jihadists.