• KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01172 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00211 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09417 0.32%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 44

SCO Summit: Eurasian Alliance Signs Security Agreements; Welcomes Belarus

By Jonathan Campion, reporting from the SCO Summit in Astana   At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Astana this morning, leaders from the bloc’s member states signed a host of agreements intended to promote cohesion in the Eurasia region. The first session, which was held behind closed doors, had begun with the signing of the document that accepted Belarus as the SCO’s 10th full member. The SCO is a political, security and economic alliance, of which Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are founding members. The group also includes China, Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan, and now Belarus. The organization has four observer states and 14 dialogue partners, covering half of the world’s population, and almost a third of global GDP.  The first agreement signed was a document outlining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s development strategy for the next 12 months. In 2025 Kazakhstan will pass chairmanship of the alliance to China, and there is speculation that the SCO may grow further next year, to include at least one new member. With security a growing concern for members, particularly in light of the March terrorist attack outside Moscow, for which the terror group Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) have claimed responsibility, leaders approved the SCO’s latest three-year Cooperation Program to counter terrorism, separatism and extremism. The parties also signed an agreement on the organization’s regional anti-drug strategy. Another high-profile document is the SCO’s development strategy for cooperation in the energy sphere. Kazakhstan is at the forefront of the region’s transition to green energy, with Chinese leader Xi Jinping mentioning the country’s new Zhanatas wind farm and the Turgusun hydropower station as key joint projects with China in an article published in the Kazakh press this week. The heads of state were welcomed to the Summit by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus and Chinese leader Xi Jinping the last to arrive, ten minutes after the other dignitaries. Some leaders did not arrive at all: India’s Narendra Modi is not attending this year’s SCO Summit, and has sent the country’s external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in his place.  The Summit's afternoon session is styled as "SCO Plus". In attendance are the heads of state of the alliance's dialogue partners, including the presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ilham Aliyev. Turkmenistan – which is not affiliated to the SCO but which is invited as a guest – is led not by its President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, but by his father Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the former leader who is now the chairman of the country’s People’s Council.  

Astana Hosts SCO Summit: A New Platform for Kazakh Diplomacy

With the first events of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit taking place this morning in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, conversations are beginning about what the host country will be discussing – and with whom. The SCO is a political, security and economic alliance in the wider Eurasia region, aimed at promoting trade and investments between member states, as well as global security. Its nine full members are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan. The Organization – which includes four observer states and 14 dialogue partners – covers half of the world’s population, and almost a third of global GDP. Kazakhstan’s multi-vector approach to its foreign policy has seen the country combining its role within the SCO with cooperation with Western governments, through dialogue with the European Union and the United States’ C5+1 platform. President Tokayev recently commented that: “Kazakhstan is committed to multilateral cooperation. In our foreign policy we proceed from the national interests, and are in favor of solving all disputable issues on the basis of rational compromise. In addition to the SCO, this year our country is chairing five other international organizations. This is an unprecedented case, one could say an achievement in the history of Kazakh diplomacy.” This multi-vector approach is key to Kazakhstan’s international diplomacy. Indeed, ‘mutually beneficial cooperation’ and ‘mutually beneficial strategic partnership’ have become the watchwords of Tokayev’s presidency. Over the past decade, Kazakhstan has become an increasingly important land-bridge between East and West, both in terms of trade and diplomacy. Due to projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor, Kazakhstan’s location has made it an indispensable ally to China, whilst playing a pivotal role in the expansion of transcontinental trade has led to Central Asia, in the words of Tokayev, “become a global stakeholder.” In the opinion of experts, more of the same can be expected at this week’s SCO Summit. In an interview conducted by the Kazinform news agency, local political analyst Valery Volodin stressed that: “It goes without saying that each government will be defending its own interests [at the Summit]. But Kazakhstan will be placing an emphasis on regional stability, which will allow countries to implement a host of joint projects with China and Russia. Besides this, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s gift for diplomacy will push the SCO to become not just a discussion club, but a real mechanism to solve problems in Eurasia using dialogue between governments.” In an article in The Geopolitics, Michael Rossi, a professor of political science at Long Island University, posited that Kazakhstan is not playing the so-called ‘Great Game’ between East and West, but rather pointing out the scope for "Big Opportunities". “Kazakhstan’s positive relations with countries often in conflict, such as Russia and Ukraine, China and the United States, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Israel and the Palestinian territories, grant Astana legitimacy,” Rossi writes, “to act as a buffer and stabilizing force among major powers. This positioning allows Kazakhstan to reduce tensions and potentially mediate conflicts. Under...

SCO Summit: Tokayev and Xi Laud Kazakhstan-China Ties

On the eve of the 2024 Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, hosted this year by Kazakhstan in its capital Astana, the leaders of Kazakhstan and China were keen to highlight the strength of their countries’ partnership. The SCO is a political, security and economic alliance in the wider Eurasia region, aimed at promoting trade and investments between member states, as well as global security. The Organization – which includes nine full members, four observer states and 14 dialogue partners – covers half of the world’s population, and almost a third of global GDP.  In comments to China’s Xinhua news agency, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke of a “close political dialogue” between the two countries, supported by the SCO, thanks to which “China is consolidating its position as Kazakhstan’s leading trade and investment partner”.  Mutual trade between the countries reached a historic record of $41 billion in 2023. Tokayev added that “China became one of the top four foreign investors in Kazakhstan in 2023, investing around $2 billion in direct investments, a year-on-year growth of 16.4%. The total volume of Chinese investment in the Kazakh economy is over $25 billion. Around 4,700 Kazakh-Chinese enterprises operate in our country.” In his comments to Xinhua Tokayev also highlighted Kazakhstan’s growing cultural ties with China, mentioning a new agreement on a visa-free regime between the countries, the creation of cultural centers in both nations, and the fact that 2024 has been named the “Year of Kazakhstan tourism in China”. The president himself lived in China for eight years, where he studied Chinese in Beijing before working for the Soviet Union’s embassy to China. In turn, in a letter published by the Kazinform news agency, China’s leader Xi Jinping noted: “China is now Kazakhstan’s largest trading partner and its top export destination. Major strategic projects including the Zhanatas wind farm, Turgusun hydropower station, and the modernization of Shymkent Oil Refinery have been completed and commissioned. China-Kazakhstan crude oil and natural gas pipelines are operating in a safe and stable manner. The ‘green lanes’ for fast customs clearance of agricultural products are available at all border ports between the two countries, which makes green agri-products of high quality from Kazakhstan easily accessible for Chinese consumers. The potential for cooperation in new energy and transportation infrastructure has been unleashed. The transport and logistics terminal in Xi’an, the Western Europe-Western China Highway, and the China-Europe Railway Express all operate smoothly, providing a strong boost to the development of both China and Kazakhstan.” Kazakhstan has a multi-vector approach to its foreign policy; its role within the SCO complements the country's cooperation with the United States through the C5+1 platform, and a constant dialogue with the European Union. In a recent speech about Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this year, President Tokayev commented: "Kazakhstan is committed to multilateral cooperation. In our foreign policy we proceed from the national interests, and are in favor of solving all disputable issues on the basis of rational compromise. In addition to the...

SCO Summit in Astana: Correspondents from China Global Television Network, Times of Central Asia Discuss Upcoming Meeting

National leaders and other dignitaries from over 20 countries will be in the Kazakh capital of Astana this week for the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The Times of Central Asia will be covering the SCO Summit live on 3 and 4 July from the city’s Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. The SCO is a political, security and economic alliance in the wider Eurasia region. This year’s Summit host Kazakhstan was a founding member of the Organization in 2001, alongside China and Russia, and its Central Asian neighbors Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The last time the Summit was held in Astana, in 2017, India and Pakistan became full members. There are currently nine full member states, four observer states, and 14 dialogue partners, covering half of the world’s population, and almost a third of global GDP. This year's Summit will have significant implications for regional and global affairs. It is likely to produce initiatives aimed at reducing trade barriers, and promoting investments between SCO member states. High on the agenda will be the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a crucial framework for enhancing connectivity and economic ties between China and its Central Asian partners. Other anticipated outcomes include new initiatives on climate change and sustainable development, as well as strengthened cultural and educational exchanges. Upon the initiative of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, 2024 has been named the SCO “Year of Ecology”. Ahead of the Astana Summit, The Times of Central Asia’s senior editor Jonathan Campion spoke with an anchor from China Global Television Network, Mr Zhong Shi, about the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization plays in the Central Asia region. Their talk can be viewed in full in the videos below. In response to The Times of Central Asia’s question about what makes the SCO different from other alliances that the countries of Central Asia are aligned with, Mr Zhong explained that: “The SCO has been truly effective in combatting what we call the three enemies of all members, namely terrorism, extremism and separatism. There have been joint military drills conducted to enhance the coordination among armed forces”. Listen to Mr Zhong’s full response below: [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="https://timesca.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/fullscreen-Zhong-Shi-answer-2-questions.mp4"][/video]   [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="https://timesca.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/tw0-windows-Zhong-Shi-answer-2-questions.mp4"][/video] In turn, Mr Campion gave The Times of Central Asia’s perspective on the upcoming Summit. Asked about the impact that the Belt and Road Initiative has had on Central Asia, he replied: "Central Asia is evolving as a land bridge component to the Belt and Road Initiative linking China to the Caspian Sea. We’re seeing that investments in transport infrastructure are unlocking the region’s vast natural resources. With the world making a green transition, Kazakhstan stands out, as it has an abundance of critical materials – or green metals as they are known – that are used in the components of green technologies.” Listen to Mr Campion’s full response below: [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="https://timesca.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Jonathon-answer-Q2.mp4"][/video]   [video width="1920" height="1080" mp4="https://timesca.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Jonathon-answer-Q3.mp4"][/video]  

Central Asian Leaders Offer Support, Condolences to Putin After Dagestan Attack

Several leaders in Central Asia have spoken by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed their condolences after attacks by alleged Islamic militants in the Russian area of Dagestan killed about 20 people.  The quick expressions of support on Monday reflect longstanding security ties between Russia and Central Asian countries, as well as growing concerns about extremist attacks in the region, particularly following the March 22 assault on the Crocus City concert hall in the Moscow area that killed more than 140 people. The violence in Russia on Sunday happened in two cities in a mostly Muslim region of the North Caucasus and targeted police and places of worship.  Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev said in his conversation with Putin that Uzbekistan was ready “to continue active cooperation between the relevant structures in the fight against common threats in the field of security,” according to a statement by Mirziyoyev. The two leaders also discussed implementation of agreements reached during a visit by Putin to Uzbekistan on May 26-28.  Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made similar remarks in a call with Putin, saying Kazakhstan “condemns any assassination and evil attempt on the lives of civilians and regards it as a great threat to international and regional security,” Tokayev’s office reported. It said the two presidents talked about strengthening their “strategic partnership” and discussed the agenda of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, to be held in the Kazakh capital of Astana on July 3-4.  Tajikistan’s leader Emomali Rahmon sent a message expressing “a feeling of deep sadness” and pledges of collaboration on security issues to Putin, saying his country had been fighting terrorism for decades. “Tajikistan, which has been fighting against all forms of terrorism for more than 30 years, strongly condemns this inhuman act of violence in Dagestan and advocates active cooperation in the fight against terrorism,” Rahmon said.  Kyrgyzstan’s leader, Sadyr Japarov, who left Bishkek on Monday on an official trip to Belgium, also expressed solidarity with Russia.  The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the March 22 attack in suburban Moscow and several Tajik suspects were arrested, leading to some harassment and increased scrutiny of many Central Asian migrants who travel to Russia in hopes of finding work. The situation fueled diplomatic tension between Russia and some Central Asian countries, though their leaders have worked to stabilize relations.  Putin blamed battlefield adversary Ukraine for the March 22 attack, but he didn’t offer evidence and Kyiv denied the allegation.

Decline in Uzbekistan’s Production of Natural Gas, Oil and Coal

According to data released by the Statistics Agency of Uzbekistan, from January – May, the country’s production of natural gas amounted to 18.8 billion cubic meters, one billion cubic meters less than in the same period last year. Natural gas production in Uzbekistan has seen a steady decline in recent years and from 2019-23, fell by 22.8 percent. In 2022, gas production decreased from 53.8 billion to 51.67 billion cubic meters, or 4%, and in 2023, from 51.67 billion to 46.71 billion cubic meters, or 9.6%. To compensate for the drop in domestic production, Uzbekistan has increased its import of natural gas from Turkmenistan and Russia. In the first 5 months of this year, Uzbekistan also saw a decrease in coal and oil production. Coal production fell by 73 thousand tons, to 1.9 million tons, and oil production, by 22 thousand tons, to 305 thousand tons.