EU and Kyrgyzstan hold Cooperation Council meeting

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and Kyrgyzstan held its seventeenth meeting on December 9 in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, on behalf of Josep Borrell Fontelles, the new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The delegation of Kyrgyzstan was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Chyngyz Aidarbekov.

The Cooperation Council reviewed the positive development in bilateral relations, including the initialling of an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Kyrgyzstan and EU support for Kyrgyzstan’s reforms in the areas of the judiciary, education, rural development, water management and infrastructure, as well as opportunities to promote private sector development and facilitate trade, the EU said.

“We welcome the enhanced partnership and cooperation agreement initialled last July, which confirmed Kyrgyzstan’s ambition to strengthen relations with the EU. It is now for both sides to finalise all remaining procedures,” said Gordan Grlić Radman.

The ministers discussed the strengthening of the rule of law, progress in judiciary and electoral reforms (in view of the Kyrgyz Parliamentary elections due in October 2020), questions related to good governance, cooperation with civil society, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Kyrgyz Republic has increased its utilisation of GSP+ preferences, whilst further efforts would mean that Kyrgyz exporters could fully benefit from the scheme. Monitoring of compliance with the 27 core human rights, governance, environment and labour conventions (ILO) was also addressed.

Foreign Minister Grlić Radman and Foreign Minister Aidarbekov also discussed opportunities to increase regional cooperation. Particular attention was paid to remediation of uranium legacy sites in which the Kyrgyz Republic plays a leading role. The EU provides significant assistance, and the parties expressed hope that other donors will join their effort to prevent the imminent risks to the environment and the population.

The Cooperation Council took stock of developments in relations between the European Union and the Kyrgyz Republic over the past year, noting with satisfaction the intensity of contacts at all levels, including the visit of the former HRVP, Federica Mogherini, to Bishkek in July 2019.

The Cooperation Council discussed the EU’s Central Asia Strategy, adopted in June 2019, as well as the work to implement the EU’s Europe-Asia Connectivity Strategy, adopted in September 2019. The Cooperation Council welcomed Kyrgyzstan’s leadership role in advancing regional cooperation in Central Asia, as well as Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to assist in the stabilisation of Afghanistan.

Sergey Kwan

TCA