Russian foreign minister on US policy in Central Asia

BISHKEK (TCA) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on the US intention to hold a meeting between US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and the foreign ministers of five Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union in the “5+1” format in one of these countries.

Answering media questions at a news conference in Moscow on January 15, Lavrov said that “we have absolutely nothing against our Central Asian neighbours and allies having the broadest spectrum of external partners. We expect that these relations will fully respect the commitments we have within the framework of the CIS, CSTO, SCO and EEU as regards the countries taking part in this association.”

“We hear that the US is inclined to abuse this format a bit and to promote the ideas connected with what was known under previous administrations as the Greater Central Asia project. The project was aimed at focusing all the plans involving Central Asia toward the south, towards Afghanistan, while keeping the Russian Federation out of it. I am sure that if this is really the case and if our American colleagues promote these plans at their meetings with our Central Asian friends, they will all see the fallacy of these attempts which are prompted not by the interests of economic development and the improvement of transport infrastructure, but by sheer geopolitics,” the Russian foreign minister said.

In his words, Russia’s approach, “which we call the Greater Eurasia project, is informed with the opposite kind of ideology. It is not connected with cutting off someone from some part of the Eurasian continent, but with openness and a gradual advance of integration processes, eventually uniting the Eurasian continent and leaving it open for other partners to join.”

Sergey Kwan

TCA

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.
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Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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