Western Europe and Japan

Western Europe and Japan

In the first four years of independence, the West occupied an increasing place in Uzbekistan's foreign policy. As relations with its immediate neighbors have been expanding, pragmatic geopolitical and economic considerations have come to dominate ethnic and religious identities as motivations for policy decisions. This approach has increased the interest of the Uzbekistani government in expanding ties with the West and with Japan.

In the early 1990s, Uzbekistan became a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF--see Glossary), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, formerly the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, CSCE--see Glossary), the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, and a number of other international organizations. In that context, Uzbekistan is the beneficiary of several aid projects of varying magnitudes. The World Bank has designed missions and projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for such programs as the Cotton Sub-Sector Development Program to improve farm productivity, income, and international cotton marketing conditions and a program to address the problems of the Aral Sea. In April 1995, the World Bank allocated US$160 million in credit to Uzbekistan. In February 1995, the IMF approved a loan to support the Uzbekistani government's macroeconomic stabilization and systemic reform program. The first installment of the loan, roughly US$75 million, will be funded over a ten-year period; the second installment is to follow six months later, provided the government's macroeconomic stabilization program is being implemented. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) likewise approved several million dollars for projects in Uzbekistan. These signs of greater involvement by the international community in Uzbekistan are largely stimulated by the political stability that the government has been able to maintain and in disregard of the human rights record, but many investors still are cautious.

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