Shavkat Mirziyoev is making his first visit as Uzbekistan's president to Washington, D.C., this week.
It will be the first time an Uzbek president has been received at the White House since March 2002, when Islam Karimov visited just months after his country had agreed to allow the United States to use an air base in Uzbekistan for operations in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will once again be on the agenda when Mirziyoev visits the United States on May 15-17.
But since Mirziyoev came to power in September 2016, Uzbekistan is transforming itself. Mirziyoev's government is moving to undo some of the more grievous rights abuses of the Karimov era. And the new government is more open to international cooperation, in no small part due to Uzbekistan's need to invigorate its economy.
What is Mirziyoev hoping for from this trip to the United States? What can Uzbekistan gain from better ties with the United States? What can the United States gain from better ties with Uzbekistan?
These were some of the topics the Majlis panel looked at in this latest session.
RFE/RL's media relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on the Uzbek president's upcoming visit.
Participating from Washington, from the Voice of America, we were joined by Navbahor Imamova, certainly one of the leading authorities on Uzbek-U.S. ties. Also participating was the director of RFE/RL's Uzbek Service (known locally as Ozodlik), Alisher Sidik, who knows quite a bit about Uzbek-U.S. ties as well. And I had to get in on this, I mean, the first time in more than 16 years an Uzbek president goes to Washington? Of course I have something to say.
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