TASHKENT, May 14 (RIA Novosti) – A representative office of NATO will be opened in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Friday, a NATO official told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
"The opening ceremony will be attended by James Appathurai, NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia,” the representative of the office said.
The office will cooperate in defense planning and analysis, military education and training, scientific and environmental issues and support NATO operations, the representative said.
The office will work directly with authorities of Central Asian countries in order to maximize their partnership with the Atlantic alliance in support of the goals identified in their cooperation programs.
Relations between Uzbekistan and NATO were actively developing until 2005, when controversy over the events in Andijan limited cooperation between NATO and Uzbekistan. Specialists of the alliance had participated in the training of Uzbek Special Forces.
The cooperation resumed in 2008 when NATO signed an agreement with Uzbekistan on the destruction of the country's stockpile of melange, a toxic rocket fuel component. In 2009, Uzbekistan joined the so-called "northern route" for the delivery of non-lethal materials to international forces in Afghanistan.
Recognizing the important role of Uzbekistan in the region, the US and its NATO allies have offered Tashkent to participate in ambitious infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, including building railways, bridges, and power transmission lines.