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President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a state visit to the Republic of Uzbekistan on September 16-17, 2017. Following the bilateral negotiations, the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan agreed to arrange the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan in 2018. It was also agreed that Uzbekistan will welcome the Year of Kazakhstan in 2019.

“As part of this initiative various events promoting deepening of close relations between our fraternal people will be held,” the two leaders declared. During that visit President of Kazakhstan Shavkat Mirziyoyev awarded President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev with the Yel-zhurt kurmeti Order.

Some 200 events in the spheres of economy, tourism, and culture were planned as part of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. The topics of these events are so wide-ranging they will continue in 2019.

On January 17, 2018

Almaty hosted the kurultai (congress) of scientists from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan which focused on the role of the Great Silk Road and revival of spiritual heritage. The kurultai brought together over 100 scientists, social scientists and cultural experts. Uzbek scientists noted it is crucial to jointly study the role of heritage of the two countries.

In January 2018

CEO of NC Kazakh Tourism JSC Rashid Kuzembayev revealed that Kazakhstan together with Uzbekistan, represented by Uzbektourism, mapped out joint tourist routes. In his words, special attention will be paid to the promotion of cross-border tours along the Great Silk Road within the framework of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. A business forum and meetings of Kazakh and Uzbek tour operators are set to be held as well.

At the bilateral meeting with the Kazakh Ambassador to Uzbekistan on February 3, Deputy General Director of Uzbekkino National Agency Shukhrat Rizayev suggested creating creative teams of script writers, directors and cameramen of the two countries. “We would like to screen Kazakhstan-produced films not only in big cities but also in regional towns. Given the fact that this year has been declared the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, we can organize the Days of Kazakhstani Films in Uzbekistan and vice versa,” Shukhrat Rizayev said. Following results of the meeting, the sides planned to draw up a joint roadmap to implement projects in cinematography.

On the eve of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, March 14, Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Mukhamediuly announced Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will create a joint historical drama.“Together with our Uzbek colleagues, we are working on the joint historical drama. We share common history and the film will depict it. At this point we are working on the script,” said Minister Mukhamediuly on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission for bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

As part of the session Mukhamediuly and Minister of Culture of Uzbekistan Bakhtier Saifullayev inked the Action Plan for the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. In addition, Chairperson of the Industry and Tourism Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Sport Mainyura Murzamadiyeva and Chairman of the State Committee for tourism Development of Uzbekistan Aziz Abdukhakimov signed the Action Plan for the Year of Uzbekistan’s Tourism in Kazakhstan.

On March 14

Minister of Investment and Development Zhenis Kassymbek revealed Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will increase the number of air, bus and railway routes linking the country. “Last year we had no regular bus service linking the two countries. We launched the Tashkent-Shymkent routes last autumn. These routes are in high demand. Currently we are negotiating to launch routes from Tashkent to Astana and Almaty, we also proposed to include Taraz, the Uzbek side suggests looking into the possibility of including Samarkand and other tourist cities… We will drastically increase the number of air routes between Astana and Tashkent, from four to seven flights, and between Almaty and Tashkent, from seven and ten flights,” the minister said.

Minister Kassymbek also reminded the train linking Almaty and Tashkent will operate more often. Instead of two times, it will operate three times a week starting from March 18. Regular passenger trains will connect Samarkand and Astana since April.

On March 15

Presidents of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who arrived in Astana for an official visit, declared an opening of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. The opening ceremony was held at the Astana Opera Theatre with heads of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan taking part in. “The Year of Uzbekistan reflects true fraternal longstanding relations between our nations that have common roots, common rich history and cultural heritage of our ancestors. We enjoy common world view, culture, religion and common traditions. At all times culture, language and traditions served powerful binding ties, played a concluding role in rapprochement of nations,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

In his turn, the Uzbek leader noted historical commonality of Kazakh and Uzbek cultures. “First of all, I would like to note that we feel at home in Kazakhstan as members of one friendly family with common hopes and aspirations. Heritage of such outstanding representatives of our nations such as Abu Reikhan al-Biruni, Abu Nasr al-Farabi, Akhmet Yassawi, Alisher Navoi and Abai Kunanbayev and many other scientists, thinkers and poets is our common heritage,” the President of Uzbekistan said.

During the meeting, Nursultan Nazarbayev awarded Shavkat Mirziyoyev the Dostyk Order, I degree. A solemn concert involving People’s Artist of Kazakhstan Faruukh Zakirov, Honoured Artists of Uzbekistan Normumin Sultonov, Samandar Alimov, Sevara Nazorkhon and Yalla ensemble took place later in the evening.

On March 24

Tashkent-Shymkent bike-a-thon kicked off in the capital of Uzbekistan. It was initiated by the Shymkent administration with support of the Kazakh Embassy in Uzbekistan. It brought together 130 people. The bike-a-thon distance made 125 km.

On March 27

as part of the official visit to Uzbekistan, Chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan Serikbay kazhy Oraz, signed a document on common fatwa for religious holidays of the two nations. “The sides consider obligatory to celebrate AH religious holidays (Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, etc.,), i.e. by the Islamic lunar calendar, also take common decisions, fatwa on present pressing religious issues,” the Memorandum of mutual cooperation reads.

As the Supreme Mufti of Kazakhstan noted the dates of religious holidays previously varied in both countries. According to the memorandum the sides have an opportunity to visit sacred places of cultural and historical value located in the two countries.

The Uzbek National Academic Drama Theatre toured South Kazakhstan region on May 10-14. The tour was organized by the South Kazakhstan culture and language development department. Kungil (Sympathy) comedy by Erkin Khushvakov of Uzbekistan was staged at the South Kazakhstan Russian drama theatre. It was also shown at the community centre in Karabulak village, Sairam district and the Shanin regional academic Kazakh drama theatre.

Eight documents worth USD 62 million were signed at the Kazakh-Uzbek Business Forum on May 23 in Shymkent. In particular, South Kazakhstan administration and Uzbekistan’s Alliance textile signed a memorandum of intent to invest into the textile industry of the region. Besides, Ontustik special economic zone and Kaztekhinpeks LLP signed a memorandum on rehabilitation of the textile enterprise in the territory of Ontustik special economic zone. South Kazakhstan administration and Dentafil plus of Uzbekistan inked a memorandum on construction of a medical products plant. Besides, Shymkent administration and International Centre of Green Technologies and Investment Projects signed a partnership agreement on realization of all green projects in Shymkent. Also an agreement on delivery of export products for eight enterprises of both countries was signed.

The People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan and inter-ethnic relations and friendly ties committee under the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan signed a memo of cooperation on June 28 at the forum of the CICA National and Cultural Centres. The memo provides for joint contribution to learning Uzbek in Kazakhstan and the Kazakh language in Uzbekistan. There are some 100 schools with Kazakh as a language of instruction in Uzbekistan, three Kazakh language teachers’ training departments at teacher’s training universities. Karakalpakistan universities teach the Kazakh language and train teachers to teach in Kazakh. The memo is purposed to further expand this work.

An exhibition of the famous museum of the history of Timurids unveiled in Turkestan on July 6. The exhibition was organized by the Azret Sultan state historical and cultural museum-reserve and the State Museum of the history of Timurids of the Science Academy of Uzbekistan. The State Museum of the Timurids` History was established on the initiative of First President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov in 1996 in honor of the 660th anniversary of Amir Timur. The holdings of the Museum contain around 1,000 exhibits and unique items narrating about the history of Uzbekistan, Amir Timur and era of the Timurids – various manuscripts and letters, gold, silver and copper coins, ceramic and copper items. The goal of the exhibition is to strengthen the cultural ties between the regions and propagation of museum studies.

On July 16

the armies of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan held joint drills. As part of an official visit of the Uzbek military delegation, Minister of Defense of Kazakhstan, Colonel General Saken Zhassuzakov and Minister of Defense of Uzbekistan, Major General Abdusalom Azizov participated in Yerik Dala special joint tactic drills. The divisions of the special operational forces of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan performed nighttime reconnaissance and military operation tasks.

On August 10

as part of the international conference on “Acute Issues of Studying and Popularizing Uzbek Classical and Modern Literature Abroad”, the Uzbekistan Writers Union and the Kazakhstan Writers Union had a meeting. The chairmen of the Kazakh and Uzbek unions of writers – Sirojiddin Sayid and Ulugbek Yesdaulet – noted that friendly contacts of the two countries’ leaders were reflected in strengthening the literary ties ‘which are of paramount importance for further development of the cooperation between the two nations. “The declaration of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, the signing of the decree by Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in regards to studying and propagating Abai’s heritage prove strengthening of friendship between our fraternal nations. We, the writers of Kazakhstan, are quite pleased over this news which serves as a bright example of our President’s attention to literature. This initiative on the way of further rapprochement of the Uzbek and Kazakh writers will promote development of creative cooperation,” said Ulugbek Yesdaulet.

On September 8

Astana hosted the Kazakh-Uzbek Gastronomy Fair as part of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. The guests were able to familiarize themselves with a rich cuisine of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Well-known chefs including those from Uzbekistan held master classes for the visitors, who also had an opportunity to taste fragrant, golden pita bread baked in a hot tandoor. The fair was accompanied with a concert programme.

On October 9

a delegation of Uzbekistani women headed by Deputy Chairperson of the Uzbek Women’s Committee Mukaram Nurmatova visited Taraz. The delegation met with the chiefs of regional branches of the Council of Business Women of NCE RK "Atameken" and the Association of Business Women of Kazakhstan. The meeting discussed the opportunities of the Kazakh-Uzbek near-border cooperation, the prospects of development of tourism and fashion industry, the role of the Association in broadening the economic potential of women and in increasing their competitiveness at the labour market as well as establishment of a platform for budding designers.

A documentary film ‘Fraternal Nation’ was unveiled in Shymkent on October 15, at the office of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan. The film was presented on the occasion of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. The film made with the support of the Presidential Television and Radio Complex of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan together with the World Association of Kazakhs and Dustlik Uzbek Ethnocultural Association in Kazakhstan, features the achievements of fraternal Kazakh and Uzbek nations over the period of independence. The film also shows a new stage of relations between the fraternal countries based on the agreements reached between the presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan – Nursultan Nazarbayev and Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

The 1st Interregional forum of Kazakhstan and Shymkent took place on November 15-16. At the plenary sitting, First Vice Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin noted symbolism of organization of the forum in the context of the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan. He emphasized that a host of events had been held this year which were expected to bolster further development of the bilateral cooperation. The forum resulted in signing a number of documents. Thus, First Vice Prime Minister Askar Mamin and his Uzbek counterpart Achilbay Ramatov signed the Memorandum of Partnership Development. The exhibition of the two countries’ industrial products (car making, chemical, textile and wood processing industries) was organized during the forum as well.

On November 18

Maktaaral municipality of Turkestan region celebrated its 90th anniversary. A delegation of Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan participated in the event which was aimed at strengthening the country’s unity. A poetry contest and a concert of local singers and creative teams were held there as well.

On November 26

Nurlan Nigmatulin, Speaker of the Majilis of the Kazakh Parliament, and Nurdinjon Ismoilov, Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of Uzbekistan, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. The document opens up a new stage in inter-parliamentary collaboration between the two countries. During the meeting, Nigmatulin and Ismoilov highlighted the intensive growth of Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan cooperation over the last two years.

On November 27

artists from Navoiy Region of Uzbekistan performed at the House of Friendship of Kyzylorda. The concert included Uzbek songs and dances, as well as performances by artists, who are ethnic Kazakhs, from the neighboring country.

On November 28

as part of the official visit of the delegation of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan it visited the House of Friendship and the Uzbek Ethno-Cultural Centre in Astana. The centre is one of the most active ethno-cultural associations in the capital city of Kazakhstan. It also has two singing and dancing ensembles – Poitakht and Astana Gunchalari.

On December 3

Tashkent hosted a presentation of “The Word of Abai” documentary by Uzbek cinematographers. The film tells about the childhood of the Kazakh poet, about his environment, his artwork, also presents materials based on archive documents. The event was held in the framework of the Decree of President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to promote the heritage of the Kazakh poet Abai Qunanbaiuly. The team of the Tashkent Documentary Film Studio traveled to Abai’s birthplace, visited the museum in Zhidebai, and familiarized themselves with the philosopher’s life. The documentary script was written by Rozika Mergenbayeva.

On December 12

Uzbek masters of the arts gave a concert dedicated to the closing of the Year of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan at the ‘Kazakstan’ Central Concert Hall. The event was organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan jointly with the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan.

“We now live in interesting times. We are witnessing and creating the revival of the Turkic world, the revival of the Great Silk Road. Needless to say, thanks to the political leaders of our countries, the whole world is now admiring the relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. These are not only economically advantageous relations. Indeed, these are the countries that in close cooperation have attained world achievements. We wish only progress to the fraternal countries,” said Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, Minister of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The concert featured Kazakh and Uzbek folk songs performed by the national artist of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan Farrukh Zokirov and the honored ensemble of Uzbekistan “Yalla”, honored artists of Uzbekistan Furqat Ashuraliyev and Elmurod Ahmedov, Yulduz Turdiyeva. Besides, there were performances by the ensemble of karnay and surnay players “Uzbegim”, and dance ensembles "Tumor" and "Navbahor".

On December 26

within the framework of the Year of Kazakhstan in Uzbekistan, the Kazakh Literature and Culture Centre opened its doors at the Alisher Navoi State National Library. The center will offer its readers to get insight into the traditions, culture, and art of the Kazakh people. The library contains works in the Kazakh, Russian, and English languages by famous Kazakh writers and poets.

On December 29

a street named after the first president of the Republic of Uzbekistan emerged in Almaty city. During the 34th extraordinary session of the Almaty Maslikhat (the local representative body) of the 6th convocation, the renaming of 183 streets was approved. Thus, a street named after Islam Karimov appeared in the largest metropolis of Kazakhstan.

Thanks to the initiative to declare 2018 as the Year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan, the relations between the two countries are getting spiritually enriched and strengthen. Cultural, scientific, and educational cooperation is on the rise. Moreover, there have been upward trends in the countries’ trade and economic relations. 2019 will be the Year of Kazakhstan in Uzbekistan.

At the end of 2018, the trade turnover reached $2 billion 365 million.

The presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan gave instructions to raise the value of bilateral trade to $5 billion by 2020.