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EBRD Chief Visits Uzbekistan To Discuss Reviving Ties

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti (file photo)

The president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was set to discuss "ways of increasing EBRD engagement with Uzbekistan" in a three-day visit to the Central Asian nation.

A delegation led by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti was due to hold talks with high-level officials during the March 15-17 visit.

The bank's ties with Uzbekistan soured over human rights concerns and a lack of political and economic reforms during late President Islam Karimov's tenure.

The EBRD limited lending projects in Uzbekistan in 2004 and had stopped operations there by 2007.

"I look forward to our dialogue and discussing ways of increasing the EBRD's work in Uzbekistan, where the Bank currently retains a small portfolio of projects," Chakrabarti said in a statement.

It said issues including regional connectivity and integration, financing for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and financing for green energy and energy efficiency projects, were on the agenda.

President Shavkat Mirziyaev, who came to power after Karimov's death was announced in September, is being closely watched for signs of an effort to decrease the country's isolation.

An EBRD delegation visited Tashkent in February to outline a possible revival of cooperation.

With reporting by Reuters