By Bahtiyar Abdulkerimov and Ogun Duru
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AA) – Turkey and Uzbekistan on Tuesday have signed a memorandum of understanding to improve bilateral relations and cooperation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, in a joint press conference at Uzbek capital Tashkent, announced the signing of a memorandum and said, "We have great potential to improve our economic relations, and we will make that happen."
Cavusoglu said the memorandum "will further develop the relations between both our ministries and our countries; and in the upcoming period, to increase trade, we intend to sign a preferential trade agreement and a free trade agreement."
As he hailed the bilateral relations between the two countries, the Turkish foreign minister noted that his country is among the top five trade partner countries of Uzbekistan and the country that invests in Uzbekistan the most.
Separately, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said the delegations discussed how to improve bilateral cooperation, international and regional issues, and improve relations with international organizations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Turkic Council.
Prior to the joint press conference, Cavusoglu and Kamilov had a meeting where the countries' delegations exchanged views regarding the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council's agenda.
The Joint Strategic Planning Group meeting will take place today at Tashkent.
"As we start the preparations for the second meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, we will also follow the implementation of the decisions taken and the agreements we signed at the first summit," Cavusoglu said.
"We will also discuss the Turkic Council, Afghanistan and other regional issues," he added.
Regarding the high-level strategic cooperation between Turkey and Uzbekistan, Uzbek Foreign Minister said, "Uzbekistan held the meetings of Joint Strategic Planning Group and the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council with only Turkey."
"There are very important issues on our agenda, and we aim to take strategic cooperation to the next level," he said.
Kamilov also said that they would hold the Strategic Planning Group's second meeting and discuss the preparation for the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting.
He stated that President Shavkat Mirziyoyev would also receive Cavusoglu, and the Turkish foreign minister would meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov.
Noting that Cavusoglu learned the Uzbek language very well during his three-day visit, Kamilov added, "Once again, you are welcome to Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan is your second home. You are well-known and appreciated in your fatherland, Uzbekistan."