30 september 2020

Central Asia news

Why Uzbekistan suddenly decided to withdraw from the Eurasian Economic Community

15.11.2008 09:52 msk

Review by Musafirbek Ozod

Analytics Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan is in the process of withdrawing from the Eurasian Economic Community it was a member to since 2006. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan submitted an official note to the EurAsEC Secretariat on the October 16-17 accompanied by President Karimov’s Official letter of explanation to the EurAsEC Integration Committee. As usual Uzbek officials decided not to comment this diplomatic move in public; but today we have excerpts of this letter with comments of officials and experts.

According to Uzbek President, the EurAsEC duplicates other organizations such as Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

Among the reasons of withdrawal Karimov mentions automatic joining of all EurAsEC member-states to the Customs Union. “It is considered that member-states will join to the previous legal base of the Union without any reservations and remarks, i.e. without further discussions and consideration of each member-state’s vital interests. It is clear that such an arrangement of an issue is unacceptable,” – Karimov stated in his letter to the EurAsEC Integration Committee.

“Customs Union was found by Russia, Kazakhstan and Belorussia because of their being ready to do it. Other EurAsEC member-states should have been joining since they are ready too. Tashkent officials consider conditions that allow current Customs Union member-states to work out standards and norms that other EurAsEC member-states should follow later on with joining the Union,” – executive secretary of the Interstate parliamentary Assembly of the EurAsEC Pyotr Zverev (Петр Зверев) retold President Karimov’s letter.

Experts comment Uzbekistan’s decision also as an unwillingness to undertake liabilities to its foreign partners (see an expert with Russian Institute for Strategic Researches Adjar Kurtov’s opinion here); defending the national and truly egoistic interests of political elite of the country; rival tensions with Kazakhstan, that is a EurAsEC chairman for this year; and water problems of the region that lacks consensus of all Central Asian states.

Uzbekistan has already suspended its permanent representative mission to EurAsEC Secretariat and recalled its diplomats. However Uzbek officials are emphasizing that “it is just a suspension of its membership” [and not a withdrawal from it]. But the fact is that suspension, actually, is not a subject within legal framework of the Organization.

Diplomatic move will not cause serious consequences for the EurAsEC, says Sergei Maskevich, Head of International affairs and CIS commission of Belorussian National Assembly’s House of Representatives. “But we can say about it with regret.”

Tashkent expects EurAsEC decision on the procedures on membership suspension by November 25. Although according to Pyotr Zverev this issue will be considered at Intergovernmental Council session in December by heads of states because such issue is not a subject of one-way decision by any member-state.