15/May/2022 Central Asia
TASHKENT, May 15. /“Dunyo” IA/. On May 12-13, Ankara hosted an International Conference on “EU – Turkey Cooperation in Central Asia: Challenges and opportunities for close cooperation in the region”, reports “Dunyo” IA correspondent.
First Deputy Director of the Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan Akramjon Nematov made a presentation at the session on “Promoting Energy Connectivity and Trade in Central Asia”.
ISRS representative emphasized that “the dynamic process of transforming the region into a space of sustainable development and mutually beneficial cooperation, which was launched at the Samarkand Conference on Central Asia in 2017, held on the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, opened new prospects for the comprehensive expansion of interaction between the countries of Central Asia, the EU and Turkey”.
“During this forum, new principles of regional cooperation were developed – these are good neighborliness, dialogue, mutual support and consideration of each other’s interests. In a concentrated form, they have firmly entered the political circulation as the “Samarkand Spirit”, which to this day is the driver of regional cooperation”, Akramjon Nematov noted.
It was emphasized that today, thanks to joint efforts, a new atmosphere of mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation has been formed in the region. A systematic political dialogue is being maintained at various levels, and inter-parliamentary, interdepartmental and interregional ties are developing. Over the past five years, Shavkat Mirziyoyev has held 61 meetings with the heads of neighboring countries. This is a historical maximum for the last 30 years. In 2017, regular Consultative Meetings of the leaders of the states of the region were launched. They have become an effective platform for promoting the regional agenda. During the next fourth summit, which is to be held in Kyrgyzstan, for the first time in the history of the region, it is planned to sign the Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborliness and Cooperation for the Development of Central Asia in the 21st century.
The expert noted that in recent years Uzbekistan has significantly simplified visa regimes with neighboring countries, opened 54 checkpoints on the borders with neighboring states, and resumed all types of transport communications. According to him, the existing problems are no longer an obstacle to cooperation, on the contrary, they serve as a subject for dialogue. The main thing is that today the trend towards mutually beneficial cooperation, the search for reasonable compromises in solving important regional issues is firmly established, A. Nematov emphasized.
At the same time, the new political climate and the opening of borders gave a powerful impetus to the development of economic cooperation in the region. For the first time since the early 90s. in Central Asia, there is close cooperation in industrial cooperation. Joint investment funds are being created to financially support projects in trade, energy, transport, and industry.
As a result, Akramjon Nematov stated, the number of joint ventures has increased five times since 2016, and intra-regional trade has grown 4 times – from 5.5 to 20 billion dollars. The total volume of foreign trade in the region showed an increase of 54%, reaching 167 billion dollars. The share of investments in Central Asia in the total volume in the world increased from 1.6% to 2.5%, amounting to 34.3 billion dollars in 2021. Accordingly, the regional GDP grew by 19.6%. It is expected that over the next 10 years the region can potentially attract up to $170 billion in foreign investment, including 40-70 billion dollars in non-resource sectors.
“In general, today Central Asia is turning into a promising partner, showing a willingness to act from a consolidated, coordinated position in the international arena. This is confirmed by the fact that if before 2016 there was only dialogue in the CA+U.S. (C5+1) format, today such interaction has been established with Russia, China, the Republic of Korea, India, the EU, and Italy”, Akramjon Nematov concluded.
The event was organized by the Turkish Center for Eurasian Studies and the German Konrad Adenauer Foundation. It was attended by leading Turkish and European diplomats, scientists and experts, representatives of Central Asia, Azerbaijan, and such regional organizations as the OTS, ECO, and OECD.
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