Region

Central Asia

Stories under this heading cover Central Asia – a region of Asia, stretching from the Caspian Sea in the west to Mongolia in the east, from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north.

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CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is set to become a fully fledged international organisation during a summit of leaders of its members to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 12-13 October. A Special Working Group (SWG) meeting held on 28-29 September, has made a major advance in preparing draft documents to be adopted at the upcoming sixth CICA Summit. The main document includes a draft Astana Statement on CICA Transformation, which is designed to transform CICA into a full-fledged international organization. Other draft documents include a draft of the CICA Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Security and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies and draft the CICA Plan of Action on the Implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

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Editor's choice
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CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

CICA set to become an international organisation at this month's Astana summit

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is set to become a fully fledged international organisation during a summit of leaders of its members to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan on 12-13 October. A Special Working Group (SWG) meeting held on 28-29 September, has made a major advance in preparing draft documents to be adopted at the upcoming sixth CICA Summit. The main document includes a draft Astana Statement on CICA Transformation, which is designed to transform CICA into a full-fledged international organization. Other draft documents include a draft of the CICA Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Security and in the Use of Information and Communications Technologies and draft the CICA Plan of Action on the Implementation of the United Nations (UN) Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
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Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Dozens dead or injured and tens of thousands displaced after clashes on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Fighting on the border between the Central Asian republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on Friday (16 September) killed at least 24 people, wounded dozens and prompted a mass evacuation. Both sides blamed each other for responsibility for the incidents. Kyrgyzstan’s Health Ministry said early Saturday that the bodies had been delivered to hospitals in the Batken region that borders Tajikistan. An additional 87 people were wounded, the ministry said. Clashes on the border that began earlier this week grew into large-scale fighting Friday involving tanks, artillery and rocket launchers. As part of the shelling, Tajik forces struck the regional capital, Batken, with rockets. Kyrgyzstan’s Emergencies Ministry said 136,000 people were evacuated from the area engulfed by the fighting. Kyrgyzstan's president, Sadyr Zhaparov, and his Tajik counterpart, president Emomali Rakhmon, were both in Samarkand in nearby Uzbekistan on Friday, participating in the Summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, and are reported to have met on the margins of the main event.
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Xi sets the tone, and Putin answers questions

Xi sets the tone, and Putin answers questions

Chinese President Xi chose Central Asia for his first foray overseas after a long hiatus due to the Covid pandemic, travelling to Kazakhstan, and then onwards to Samarkand to attend the meeting of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) and have various bilateral meetings. Chinese protocol these days demand that all meetings with Xi are fully masked, and so attired delegations troded in to meet the Chinese leader: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev was early in queue. There was Uzbekistan's president Miriyzoyev, who for good measure gave President Xi Uzbekistan's "Order of Friendship", and Belarus President Lukashenko. But most interest was focused on when Putin's turn came. Increasingly the Russian leader is starting to look like the junior partner in the relationship with Xi. Certainly the official language was all proper and correct, but there was something in the body language that showed Putin's awkwardness at the new situation.Putin said Russia will consolidate and deepen bilateral and multilateral communication and collaboration with China, and expand cooperation in key areas such as economy, trade and energy. “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin said in televised remarks to Xi. “We understand your questions and concern about this. During today’s meeting, we will, of course, explain our position.” "Questions and concern" - not exactly enthusiastic support then by China for Putin's adventure in Ukraine.
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Opinion: The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation goes beyond managing Russia-China relations in Central Asia

Opinion: The role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation goes beyond managing Russia-China relations in Central Asia

"As the world comes closer to multi-polarity, the role of such organizations as SCO will grow further. Russia and China will seek to use them as a counterbalance to western dominated international political and economic organizations, such as G7, the EU, the World Bank and IMF", writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. He argues that in the present context of emerging great power competition, the SCO started to be viewed less as a tool to manage Russia – China relations in Central Asia, or counter terrorist threats from Afghanistan, and more as a significant grouping of non-western powers in the emerging multipolar world.
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Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakhstan works to expand co-operation with Gulf countries during Tokayev's visit to Saudi Arabia

Kazakh president, Kassym Jomart Tokayev, on Sunday (24 July) concluded an official visit to Saudi Arabia during which he sought to strengthen relations with the Kingdom and other Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan will enhance mutual trade and investment in several sectors, according to a joint statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency at the end of the visit. This cooperation includes areas related to petrochemicals, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, transport and logistics. Other agreements cover information technology, digital transformation, financial services and space, SPA reported. During his visit President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held wide-ranging talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in sports, media, medicine and finance. The also agreed to enhance cooperation in higher education, research and innovation.