Central Asia and EU determined to strengthen dialogue and cooperation

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ASHGABAT (TCA) — The tasks of establishing mutually-beneficial inter-regional cooperation between the countries of Central Asia, Afghanistan, and the European Union lie at the foundation of joint efforts to update the EU Strategy for Central Asia, and also require increased exchanges of experiences and best practices in the security sphere and the development of common measures to fight terrorism and radicalization, ensure border security, and combat drug trafficking. This was the main conclusion made on July 9 in Turkmenistan’s capital during the 5th session of the High Level Dialogue (HLD) on Political and Security issues between the European Union and the countries of Central Asia, the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Kazakhstan’s delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko. Regional delegations were represented by deputy foreign ministers and experts from Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

The European side was represented by Mr. Jean-Cristophe Belliard, the Deputy Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Mr. Peter Burian, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia.

The Dialogue participants carried out a comprehensive overview of a host of interregional cooperation issues, from the process of updating the EU Strategy for Central Asia and development of a new EU Connectivity Strategy for Asia, to a search for common ways to protect the environment, effectively utilize water resources, and contribute to Afghanistan’s social and economic rehabilitation.

Speaking at the session, Mr. Vassilenko underscored the constructive level of inter-regional cooperation between the countries of Central Asian and the European Union which is aimed at the general and comprehensive development of the region vis-à-vis various programs in the spheres of education, combating terrorism, radicalization, and drug trafficking, ensuring border security, as well as the stabilization of Afghanistan.

In this regard, the head of Kazakhstan’s delegation highlighted the joint work of Central Asian and EU countries to update the EU’s 2007 Strategy for Central Asia. The process of updating this document, which is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year, is aimed primarily at enhancing political, economic, and humanitarian collaboration between the Central Asia region and European countries and institutions, taking into account the current level of interaction and the expanded horizon of strategic partnership between Central Asia and the EU.

“Kazakhstan is counting on the next-generation Strategy to become a qualitatively new driver of strategic cooperation between our countries and the EU,” said Vassilenko.

Sergey Kwan

TCA