U.S. Supports Creation of Free Economic Zone on Afghan-Uzbek Border

U.S. Supports Creation of Free Economic Zone on Afghan-Uzbek Border
Navoi Free Economic Zone, the first FEZ in Uzbekistan

The US supports the creation of a free economic zone (FEZ) on the Afghanistan-Uzbekistan border, and projects for the construction of railways and the development of electric networks in the Central Asian region, RIA Novosti reports.

The corresponding position of the U.S. is reflected in a joint statement adopted following a meeting via a video link on Wednesday between American Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar, and Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov.

According to the statement, the parties intend to deepen cooperation to promote trade between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, including "through the development of the Free Economic Zone at the Termez border crossing."

The sides also intend to discuss the construction of railways linking Uzbekistan with ports in Pakistan, in particular, the Mazar-e-Sharif-Herat-Bahramcha and Mazar-e-Sharif-Kabul-Torkham routes.

The diplomats expressed support for regional energy projects such as CASA-1000 (the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project), Central Asia Regional Electricity Market (CAREM), the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline, and the construction of the 500 kilovolt Surkhan-Puli-Khumri (Khoja-Alvan) power transmission line.