During the first official visit to Uzbekistan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Doha expressed its desire to improve the cooperation and strengthen the relations with Tashkent, confirming the Qatari interest in the Central Asian dynamics.
On June 9th, 2021, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov held a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, who arrived in Tashkent on a visit.
During the talks, the two parties discussed prospects for developing Uzbek-Qatari relations in the political, trade-economic, investments, transport-communication and cultural-humanitarian spheres and assessed the Doha-Tashkent interaction framework of international structures. In addition, the ministers reviewed the upcoming official meetings at various levels and reaffirmed their readiness to continue joint efforts to advance the peace process in Afghanistan and restore its socio-economic infrastructure.
The two sides emphasised the Qatari participation in the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectedness. Challenges and Opportunities ”, organised on July 15th-16th, 2021 in Tashkent.
As a result of the visit, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Government of Qatar signed an agreement ‘On Air Communication’ that established the opening of direct flights on the Doha-Tashkent-Doha route.
Why this matters? Because in the last years, Doha has tried to be more involved in Central Asia through diplomatic cooperation, economic partnership and investments in regional socioeconomic projects elaborating a specific strategy for each Central Asian republics. Furthermore, as we noted before (Qatari interests in Turkmenistan underline Central Asia’s geopolitical role), the Qatari involvement might change the geopolitical balance in the region in favour of Tehran, considering that Iran and Qatar are allies in the Middle East, particularly after the 2017 crisis with other Gulf Arab countries.