By BBC Monitoring
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the agreement on the main conditions of the general contract for the construction of a Russian-designed nuclear power station in Uzbekistan is "at a high level of readiness", the Russian news agency Tass.ru reported on 22 May.
"The most important area of bilateral cooperation is energy. The flagship project of our economic relations is the construction of a Russian-designed nuclear power station in Uzbekistan. The agreement on the main conditions of the general contract is at a high level of readiness," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, as quoted by the website.
Talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Uzbek counterpart Bakhtiyor Saidov are expected to take place today, 22 May.
In 2018, Uzbekistan reached an agreement with Russia to build a $11bn nuclear power plant and officially launched the project during President Vladimir Putin's visit to Uzbekistan on 19 October. Rosatom chief Alexei Likhachev said back then that construction work would begin in early 2020.
The two sides originally aimed to sign a contract on building the nuclear power plant by the end of 2019, and construction work on the coast of Lake Tuzkon in Jizzakh Region was due to start in early 2020. However, it later emerged that the parties had failed to reach agreement on some unspecified aspects of the contract. The plan is also being fiercely resisted by the public and the expert community in the Central Asian state.
Source: TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 1159 GMT 22 May 23