Office of the Spokesperson
The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Strong Momentum in Bilateral Ties
On November 20, U.S. Department of State Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson and Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov led a successful session of the U.S.-Uzbekistan Annual Bilateral Consultations in Washington.
The United States and Uzbekistan highlighted deepening U.S.-Uzbekistan ties, building on the visit of Secretary of State Pompeo to Tashkent in February 2020, which reinforced the new era of strategic partnership between the two countries.
Reaffirming the U.S. commitment to this partnership and support for the reforms being implemented in the Republic of Uzbekistan, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thompson noted U.S. assistance to Uzbekistan grew to nearly $100 million in 2019, a ten-fold increase from 2016.
The United States encouraged the further deepening of ties across a wide range of political, economic, education, health, security, cultural, and other fields, while reiterating strong support for Uzbekistan’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
The two sides emphasized the significant potential to strengthen cooperation in areas that would serve the interests of both nations, as well as peace and stability in Central Asia.
Regional Security and Cooperation
Recognizing the serious threats posed by international terrorism, violent extremism, trafficking in persons, and transnational crime to both Uzbekistan and the United States, the two sides encouraged closer cooperation and increased exchanges to promote regional security.
Additionally, both sides noted the necessity of meeting obligations and provisions under UN Security Council Resolution 2396 to counter terrorist travel. The United States announced it intends to provide over $9 million in assistance this year to combat transnational organized crime and promote rule-of-law and anti-corruption initiatives. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan and discussed concrete steps to promote a meaningful reconciliation process. Uzbekistan emphasized its ongoing efforts to enhance economic, trade, educational, and cultural ties with Afghanistan and increase its connectivity with Central Asia, and both sides reaffirmed their support for outcomes from the May 27, 2020, U.S.-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan Trilateral Meeting and subsequent working groups. The United States and Uzbekistan also reaffirmed their shared interest in advancing multilateral cooperation throughout the region, including through the C5+1 framework.
Economic Reforms and Investments
The United States recognized Uzbekistan’s pursuit of economic reforms and improvements to the investment environment and encouraged continued steps toward greater economic liberalization and transparency.
Noting the major impact on the economy of the COVID-19 crisis, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to assist Uzbekistan as it moves forward in combating the second and third order effects of the global pandemic.
The two sides highlighted increasing opportunities for bilateral trade and investment, including opportunities for U.S. exporters and bidders on public tenders, and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade’s opening of a dedicated office to support U.S. investment.
The United States emphasized the importance of furthering collaboration on digital economy and cybersecurity and supporting women’s economic empowerment and increasing leadership opportunities.
The two sides jointly emphasized the potential for close cooperation in the fields of energy, health and environment, information and communications technology, and tourism development, and the United States reaffirmed its continued support for Uzbekistan’s economic policy reform efforts, including its World Trade Organization accession process.
Uzbekistan and the United States underscored the importance of close people-to-people ties in advancing the overall bilateral relationship.
The two sides discussed concrete ways to expand educational and cultural exchanges to equip today’s youth with the skills to become future leaders, including plans for the return of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to Uzbekistan, support for cultural heritage programming, and significant expansion of English language, math, and reading skills programs for teachers and students.
The United States recognized Uzbekistan’s important progress in implementing reforms to improve protections for human rights, combat forced labor, and expand religious freedom, and welcomed Uzbekistan’s election of Uzbekistan to UN Human Rights Council for the period 2021-2023.
Both countries reaffirmed their commitment to further institutionalizing Uzbekistan’s reforms on human rights, trafficking in persons, religious freedom, a vibrant civil society, and independent media, highlighting that these elements are fundamental to long-term prosperity, stability, and development, as well as to the deep and enduring friendship between the two countries.
The two sides also reaffirmed the importance of more gender and socially inclusive policies and practices that expand educational, professional, and leadership opportunities.
To increase the resilience of Uzbekistan’s health system as the country recovers from COVID-19, the two sides committed to continued cooperation in health, including combating infectious diseases and ensuring the availability of essential health services.
The two sides announced the decision of their governments to elevate the annual U.S. – Uzbekistan bilateral consultations to a Strategic Partnership Dialogue. Within this Dialogue, the United States and Uzbekistan intend to pursue closer cooperation across political, security, economic, and human dimensions. PDAS Thompson and Foreign Minister looked forward to holding the inaugural Dialogue in Tashkent in 2021.
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- Man Sentenced to 97 months in Prison for Role in International Credit Card Fraud and Money Laundering ConspiracyBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020U.S. Attorney’s Office [Read More…]
- Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Owners and Mangers of Housing Properties in Honolulu, Hawaii for Discriminating Against Families with ChildrenBy Sam NewsDecember 1, 2020The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the owners and managers of housing in Honolulu, Hawaii, to resolve a lawsuit filed last year alleging that the defendants refused to rent to families with children at properties they owned and managed, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.[Read More…]
- Peter Fay, One of Three Judges in Florida Who Served 50 Years, Dies at 92By Sam NewsIn U.S CourtsFebruary 4, 2021Peter T. Fay, one of three federal judges from Florida who each served more than 50 years after being confirmed the same day in 1970, died Sunday in Miami at the age of 92.[Read More…]
- Czech Republic National DayBy Sam NewsOctober 28, 2020
- Critical Infrastructure Protection: Treasury Needs to Improve Tracking of Financial Sector Cybersecurity Risk Mitigation EffortsBy Sam NewsSeptember 17, 2020The federal government has long identified the financial services sector as a critical component of the nation's infrastructure. The sector includes commercial banks, securities brokers and dealers, and providers of the key financial systems and services that support these functions. Altogether, the sector holds about $108 trillion in assets and faces a variety of cybersecurity-related risks. Key risks include (1) an increase in access to financial data through information technology service providers and supply chain partners; (2) a growth in sophistication of malware—software meant to do harm—and (3) an increase in interconnectivity via networks, the cloud, and mobile applications. Cyberattacks that exploit risks can occur against either public or private components of the sector. For example, in February 2016, hackers were able to install malware on the Bangladesh Central Bank's system through a service provider, which then directed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to transfer money to accounts in other Asian countries. This attack resulted in the theft of approximately $81 million. Several industry groups and firms are taking steps to enhance the security and resilience of the U.S. financial services sector through a broad range of cyber risk mitigation efforts. These efforts include coordinating within the sector through groups such as the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council and the Financial Systemic Analysis and Resilience Center, conducting industrywide incident response exercises, sharing threat and vulnerability information, developing and providing guidance in conducting risk assessments, and offering cybersecurity-related training. The Departments of Homeland Security and the Treasury and federal financial regulators are also taking multiple steps to support cybersecurity and resilience through risk mitigation efforts. Among other things, federal agencies provide cybersecurity expertise and conduct simulation exercises related to cyber incident response and recovery. Treasury, as the designated lead agency for the financial sector, plays a key role in supporting many of the efforts to enhance the sector's cybersecurity and resiliency. For example, Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions serves as the chair of the committee of government agencies with sector responsibilities, and Treasury coordinates federal agency efforts to improve the sector's cybersecurity and related communications. However, Treasury does not track efforts or prioritize them according to goals established by the sector for enhancing cybersecurity and resiliency. Treasury also has not fully implemented GAO's previous recommendation to establish metrics related to the value and results of the sector's risk mitigation efforts. Further, the 2016 sector-specific plan, which is intended to direct sector activities, does not identify ways to measure sector progress and is out of date. Among other things, the sector-specific plan lacks information on sector-related requirements laid out in the 2019 National Cyber Strategy Implementation Plan . Unless more widespread and detailed tracking and prioritization of efforts occurs according to the goals laid out in the sector-specific plan, the sector could be insufficiently prepared to deal with cyber-related risks, such as those caused by increased access to data by third parties. For decades, the federal government has taken steps to protect the nation's critical infrastructures. The financial services sector's reliance on information technology makes it a leading target for cyber-based attacks. Recent high-profile breaches at commercial entities have heightened concerns that data are not being adequately protected. Under the Comptroller General's authority, GAO initiated this review to (1) describe the key cyber-related risks facing the financial sector; (2) describe steps the financial services industry is taking to share information on and address risks to its sector; and (3) assess steps federal agencies are taking to enhance the security and resilience of the sector. GAO analyzed relevant reports and information to determine risks and mitigation efforts and compared agency efforts against federal policies and guidance. GAO also interviewed officials at 16 private sector entities, two self-regulatory organizations, and eight federal agencies, including the Department of the Treasury. GAO is making recommendations to Treasury to track and prioritize the sector's cyber risk mitigation efforts, and to update the sector's plan with metrics for measuring progress and information on how sector efforts will meet sector goals and requirements, including those contained within the National Cyber Strategy Implementation Plan. Treasury generally agreed with the recommendations. For more information, contact Nick Marinos at (202) 512-9342 or email@example.com or Michael Clements at (202) 512-7763 or ClementsM@gao.gov.[Read More…]
- Justice Department Sues Northern Alabama Housing Authority and Property Owners for Housing Discrimination on the Basis of RaceBy Sam NewsDecember 1, 2020The Justice Department announced today that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that the Housing Authority of Ashland, Alabama, which manages seven federally funded low-income housing complexes, violated the Fair Housing Act by intentionally discriminating on the basis of race or color against applicants for housing.[Read More…]
- Colorado Springs Agrees to Improve Stormwater Management in Settlement with the United StatesBy Sam NewsOctober 29, 2020The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, to resolve violations of the Clean Water Act with respect to the City’s storm sewer system.[Read More…]
- Crude Oil Markets: Effects of the Repeal of the Crude Oil Export BanBy Sam NewsNovember 20, 2020GAO's analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data and interviews with industry stakeholders shows that the repeal of the U.S. crude oil export ban is associated with increased crude oil exports—from less than half a million barrels per day in 2015 to almost 3 million barrels per day in 2019. The repeal of the ban expanded the market for U.S. crude oil to overseas buyers and, along with other market factors, allowed U.S. crude oil producers to charge higher prices relative to comparable foreign crude oil. Higher prices and an expanded market for U.S. crude oil further incentivized domestic crude oil production, which had been growing since the shale oil boom began around 2009 (see figure). During the period after the repeal, total U.S. imports of crude oil remained largely unchanged. Annual Production and Exports of U.S. Crude Oil, 2009-2019 GAO's analysis found limited effects associated with the repeal of the ban on the production, export, and import of domestic refined petroleum products, such as gasoline. However, profit margins—which are determined in part by the costs a refiner pays for the crude oil and the earnings a refiner receives from the sale of refined products—likely decreased as the prices refiners paid for domestic crude oil increased relative to international prices. Because gasoline prices are largely determined on the global market, U.S. refiners could not pass on to consumers the additional costs associated with the increase in crude oil prices, resulting in decreased profit margins for U.S. refiners. Finally, after the repeal of the crude oil export ban, the U.S. shipping industry experienced a decline as demand fell for U.S. tankers—known as Jones Act tankers—used to move domestic crude oil between U.S. ports. The increase in the relative price of domestic crude oils associated with the repeal of the export ban may have resulted in some U.S. refineries deciding to use more foreign crude oil. Foreign crude oil is typically transported by foreign tankers, reducing the demand for Jones Act tankers compared to what it would have been if the export ban had remained in place, according to six of the seven shipping industry stakeholders GAO interviewed. Between 1975 and the end of 2015, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act directed a ban on nearly all exports of U.S. crude oil. This ban was not considered a significant policy issue when U.S. oil production was declining and import volumes were increasing. However, U.S. crude oil production roughly doubled from 2009 to 2015, due in part to a boom in shale oil production made possible by advancements in drilling technologies. In December 2015, Congress effectively repealed the ban, allowing the free export of U.S. crude oil worldwide. GAO was asked to provide information on the effects of repealing the crude oil export ban. This report describes the effects of the repeal of the crude oil export ban on the domestic crude oil production, petroleum refining, and related sectors of the U.S. shipping industry. GAO analyzed data from EIA and other federal databases to determine the effects of repealing the export ban. GAO also interviewed a nongeneralizeable sample of economists, market analysts, and stakeholders from the oil and gas, refining, and shipping industries. GAO's analysis focused on the repeal of the crude oil export ban and any effects of the repeal on U.S. crude oil and related industries through March 2020. For more information, contact Frank Rusco at (202) 512-3841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.[Read More…]
- Nowruz MessageBy Sam NewsMarch 20, 2021
- Accountability for the Murder of Jamal KhashoggiBy Sam NewsFebruary 26, 2021
- Justice Department Warns Taxpayers to Avoid Fraudulent Tax PreparersBy Sam NewsApril 22, 2021With less than one month left in this year’s tax season, the Department of Justice urges taxpayers to choose their return preparers wisely. Return preparer fraud is one of the IRS’ Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. Unscrupulous preparers who include errors or false information on a customer’s return could leave a taxpayer open to liability for unpaid taxes, penalties, and interest.[Read More…]
- NASA’s AIRS Monitors Tropical Storm Fay as It Deluges the East CoastBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020From its vantage point [Read More…]
- State Department Terrorist Designation of Saraya al-MukhtarBy Sam NewsDecember 15, 2020
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo With Alex Marlow of Breitbart News Radio on SiriusXM PatriotBy Sam NewsDecember 14, 2020
- Seven MS-13 Gang Members Indicted in Violent Crime and Drug Distribution ConspiracyBy Sam NewsNovember 19, 2020A federal grand jury in Nashville, Tennessee, returned a 16-count superseding indictment Wednesday, charging seven MS-13 gang members with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and serious firearm-related offenses, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.[Read More…]
- Military Housing: DOD Has Taken Key Steps to Strengthen Oversight, but More Action Is Needed in Some AreasBy Sam NewsFebruary 16, 2021In 1996 Congress provided DOD with authorities enabling it to obtain private-sector financing and management to repair, renovate, construct, and operate military housing. DOD has since privatized about 99 percent of its domestic housing. The Department of Defense (DOD) has made progress in addressing weaknesses in its privatized housing program, and GAO has identified additional opportunities to strengthen the program. GAO reported in March 2020 on DOD's oversight and its role in the management of privatized housing. Specifically, GAO found that 1) the military departments conducted some oversight of the physical condition of privatized housing, but some efforts were limited in scope; 2) the military departments used performance metrics to monitor private developers, but the metrics did not provide meaningful information on the condition of housing; 3) the military departments and private developers collected maintenance data on homes, but these data were not captured reliably or consistently, and 4) DOD provided reports to Congress on the status of privatized housing, but some data in these reports were unreliable, leading to misleading results. GAO made 12 recommendations, including that DOD take steps to improve housing condition oversight, performance indicators, maintenance data, and resident satisfaction reporting. DOD generally concurred with the recommendations. As of February 2021, DOD fully implemented 5 recommendations and partially implemented 7 recommendations. DOD should also take action to improve the process for setting basic allowance for housing (BAH)—a key source of revenue for privatized housing projects. In January 2021, GAO reported on DOD's process to determine BAH. GAO found that DOD has not always collected rental data on the minimum number of rental units needed to estimate the total housing cost for certain locations and housing types. Until DOD develops ways to increase its sample size, it will risk providing housing cost compensation that does not accurately represent the cost of suitable housing for servicemembers. GAO recommended that DOD review its methodology to increase sample sizes. GAO has also determined, in a report to be issued this week, that DOD should improve oversight of privatized housing property insurance and natural disaster recovery. GAO assessed the extent to which the military departments and the Office of the Secretary of Defense exercise oversight of their projects' insurance coverage. GAO found that the military departments have exercised insufficient oversight, and that the Office of the Secretary of Defense has not regularly monitored the military departments' implementation of insurance requirements. Without establishing procedures for timely and documented reviews, the military departments cannot be assured that the projects are complying with insurance requirements and assuming a proper balance of risk and cost. The draft of this report, which GAO provided to DOD for official comment, included 9 recommendations, 2 of which DOD addressed in January 2021 by issuing policy updates. The final report's 7 remaining recommendations, including that the military departments update their respective insurance review oversight procedures, will help strengthen DOD's oversight of privatized housing, once implemented. DOD concurred with all of the recommendations. Congress enacted the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) in 1996 to improve the quality of housing for servicemembers. DOD is responsible for general oversight of privatized housing projects. Private-sector developers are responsible for the ownership, construction, renovation, maintenance, and repair of about 99 percent of military housing in the United States. GAO has conducted a series of reviews of MHPI, following reports of hazards (such as mold) in homes, questions about DOD's process to determine the basic allowance for housing rates, which is a key revenue source for privatized housing, and concerns about how DOD ensures appropriate property insurance for privatized housing projects impacted by severe weather. This statement summarizes 1) steps DOD has taken to strengthen oversight and management of its privatized housing program, and work remaining; 2) actions needed to improve DOD's BAH process; and 3) actions needed to enhance DOD's oversight of privatized housing property insurance. The statement summarizes two of GAO's prior reports, and a report to be issued, related to privatized housing. For this statement, GAO reviewed prior reports, collected information on recommendation implementation, and interviewed DOD officials. In prior reports, GAO recommended that DOD improve oversight of housing conditions; review its process for determining basic allowance for housing rates; and that the military departments update their housing insurance review oversight procedures. For more information, contact Elizabeth A. Field at (202) 512-2775 or email@example.com.[Read More…]
- The New U.S. Policy on UAS Exports Under the MTCRBy Sam NewsSeptember 26, 2020Dr. Christopher Ashley [Read More…]
- Department Press Briefing – February 11, 2021By Sam NewsFebruary 12, 2021Ned Price, Department [Read More…]
- Justice Department Settles With Texas Based Furniture and Appliances Chain for Charging Servicemembers Excess InterestBy Sam NewsSeptember 15, 2020The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Conn Credit I, LP, Conn Appliances, Inc., and Conn’s, Inc. (“Conn’s”), to resolve allegations that they violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) by charging at least 184 servicemembers excess interest on their purchases.[Read More…]