According to the press service of the Uzbek foreign ministry, "within their political dialogue, the Uzbek and Russian leaders will exchange opinions on the key problems of bilateral relations, regional and international development." During his visit, Mr. Karimov will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chairman of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Arkady Volsky.
As set against the new circumstances in the region and in the world, Russia-Uzbekistan partnership is based on mutual interest in co-operation in vital spheres, the Uzbek ministry believes.
"Bilateral relations are long-term and strategic in character, and the two leaders maintain a regular, open and trustful dialogue," the ministry added.
According to Uzbekistan's state statistics committee, bilateral trade has grown by $236 million, or 25.8%, on 2002, and accounted for $1 billion 149.1 million in 2003.
On December 17, 2002, the national holding company, Uzbekneftegaz, and Russia's Gazprom signed an agreement on strategic co-operation, envisaging an increase of Uzbek gas exports from three million cubic metres in 2003 to 10 billion cubic metres in 2006. Moreover, according to the agreement, the Russian gas company is to gain control over the Uzbek part of the Central Asia-Centre gas pipeline.
In autumn 2004, the contract on Gazprom's main project in the Ustyurt plateau to the sum of $1.4 billion is to be prepared and concluded. The Russian-based Lukoil company and Uzbekneftegaz are preparing a contract on a $996 million worth investment project.
Currently, 85 newspapers and 52 magazines are published in Uzbekistan in Russian, which is nearly the same amount as in Uzbek. Russian editions are also published in Tashkent, and nearly all the Russian TV programmes are broadcast on the local channels.
In 159 schools of Uzbekistan, lessons are held in Russian, and in 762 schools - in Uzbek and Russian.
Russia has provided 40 grants to Uzbekistan for MA, post-graduate and doctor degree studies in 2003-2004, and also quotas for Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and the Diplomatic Academy. Since 1991, 161 international agreements and over 40 other documents have been concluded between the two countries, including documents on inter-regional co-operation.