Central Asian nations, U.S. discuss regional security, economic cooperation in Kazakh capital

NUR-SULTAN – Ministers of foreign affairs  from the five Central Asian nations and a top U.S. diplomat  met in Nur-Sultan Aug. 22 to discuss regional security and economic cooperation with the United States.

Meeting participants. Photo credit: mfa.gov.kz.

The first session of the meeting, known as C5+1, discussed avenues for economic security and partnership. U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale moderated the session.

The second session focused on promoting peace in Afghanistan and was moderated by Uzbekistan’s Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov. The third session centered around security in Central Asia and was moderated by Tajikistan’s Foreign Minister Sizodjiddin Mukhriddin.

Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Beibut Atamkulov told the gathering Kazakhstan remains committed to cooperatively addressing the challenges facing Central Asia.

“Ensuring the sustainable development, stability and prosperity of this space (Central Asia) is our common achievable task. That is why Kazakhstan has always sought to establish effective regional cooperation in the context of globalisation and the challenges and threats we face,” said Atamkulov, reports KazInform.

The Kazakh Foreign Minister also noted the importance of the United States’ participation in the meetings and praised the United States’ strategy on interaction with Central Asia.

“Regional security is unthinkable without bilateral diplomacy and international partnership, therefore, the C5+1 format is an important tool for ensuring security and sustainable economic development of our region. The American strategy for cooperation with Central Asia today, aimed at supporting intra-regional ties, transport corridors, implementing infrastructure projects and ensuring regional security, today fully complies with the interests of the countries of the region,” said Atamkulov, as reported by the KazInform news agency.

The group also reaffirmed their support for ongoing C5+1 meetings and, according to the U.S. Department of State, the United States characterised the meetings as a valuable forum to address common challenges and to strengthen the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Central Asian states. The group also reviewed plans for the next ministerial C5+1 meeting and proposed activities for the C5+1’s security, economic productivity and environmental working groups. 

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