EU foreign policy chief meets with Central Asia foreign ministers in Tashkent

TASHKENT (TCA) — High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini on March 26 met with the Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, ahead of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan “Peace process, security cooperation and regional connectivity”, which is taking place on March 27.

The meeting took place four months after the most recent formal EU-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ meeting, in Samarkand in November 2017, and two weeks after a landmark informal meeting of Central Asian Heads of State in Astana.

The meeting in Tashkent was an opportunity to discuss the positive trend of EU-Central Asia relations and also to demonstrate the high importance that the European Union attaches to the region’s stability and prosperity, as well as closer ties, the EU said. The High Representative/Vice-President and the Ministers discussed the prospects for further cooperation, with the European Union already a valued partner in development, security, counter-terrorism and environmental matters, among others. The meeting also enabled the Ministers to give further feedback to the High Representative on the new EU Strategy for Central Asia, which is currently being developed. The High Representative and the Ministers exchanged on how priorities such as sustainable development, reform and modernisation, human rights, the rule of law and good governance, business, security, regional cooperation, and connectivity would feature in the updated strategy. The High Representative/Vice-President also informed the Ministers of the European Union’s current elaboration of a new Strategy on Connecting Europe to Asia and its relevance for the countries of Central Asia.

On the eve of the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan, High Representative Mogherini stressed the importance of the international community – including regional partners – delivering on their commitment to promoting peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. Concrete regional projects involving the Central Asian countries, aiming at increasing connections with Afghanistan, such as railways, air links and pipelines, are welcome and important steps in this regard. They agreed that there is no solution to the conflict other than a peaceful one and that this opportunity must be seized by the Taliban.

The High Representative and the Ministers looked forward to continued high-level contacts over the next months, including the next round of the EU-Central Asia High-level Political and Security Dialogue in Turkmenistan, the Central Asian Environmental Forum in Uzbekistan, and the Regional Conference on Counter-terrorism and the Prevention of Violent Extremism as well as the International Conference on Water, both in Tajikistan, ahead of the next formal EU-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Brussels later in 2018.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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