Hydroelectric dam projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have long been a sticking point in their relations with Uzbekistan. Resolving these disputes will challenge Uzbek President Shavqat Mirzioyev as he pursues a new pragmatic foreign policy designed to lift his country out of semi-isolation and revive the stagnant economy. The sequencing of trips abroad after his December election shows an awareness of the need to secure inward investment and export markets.
- Uzbekistan is unlikely to participate fully in Russian-led regional security but may be more cooperative.
- Greater Uzbek openness is especially well-timed as it will mesh with China's One Belt One Road initiative.
- Farmers will be given heart by Mirzioyev's initiative to let them export produce without going through quasi-state intermediaries.
- Mirzioyev will make more personnel changes to consolidate his domination of elite politics.