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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Enchanting but distant Tajikistan says it is ready for increased co-operation with Europe

Enchanting but distant Tajikistan says it is ready for increased co-operation with Europe

At a recent promotion forum in Brussels senior Tajik officials emphasised that their country was business friendly and tourist welcoming. Young and eager Tajik entrepreneurs also highlighted that both country and society were ready for qualitative step-change in relations with Europe. On its part the EU has signalled it is ready to increase co-operation with the strategically located country, including through enhanced partnership agreements.
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Tokayev sets the date for constitutional referendum that promises to hail a new era for Kazakhstan

Tokayev sets the date for constitutional referendum that promises to hail a new era for Kazakhstan

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan announced Thursday (5 May) that on 5 June, a constitutional referendum will take place. The referendum will ask voters to approve an overhauled constitution that the government say will launch Kazakhstan’s Second Republic. To modernize Kazakhstan, Tokayev will need to implement deep-rooted reforms to institute substantial reforms, in practice and not merely in a declaratory fashion as was the habit with his predecessor. The constitutional changes are seen as a good start, but can certainly not be the end of the story if the promise of a new Kazakhstan is to be delivered.

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Biden: The time of nation-building is over, we must focus on Russia and China

Biden: The time of nation-building is over, we must focus on Russia and China

"We’re engaged in a serious competition with China. We’re dealing with the challenges on multiple fronts with Russia. We’re confronted with cyberattacks, and nuclear proliferation. We have to shore up America’s competitiveness to meet these new challenges in the competition for the 21st century."
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International community divided on Afghanistan after last US soldier leaves

International community divided on Afghanistan after last US soldier leaves

The last US soldier has now left Afghanistan ending a costly and controversial two-decade presence in the country. But for the people of Afghanistan the future is very uncertain. It is also now clear that there are deep divisions in the international community with regard to how to engage further with the situation that has resulted from the swift Taliban take-over of the country.
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Analysis
Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

Analysis: Central Asian countries need to remain focused on reforms despite new security threats

The countries of Central Asia are at an important crossroads. The events in Afghanistan are not going to make their choices either more simple or more easy. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have taken very important steps in the last few years on the path to reform. It is important that they stay the course, and it is important for the EU and other western countries to help them in this task. If possible this should be done without adversarial engagement with either Russia or China, even though are likely to put obstacles in the way. Central Asia does not need another "great game". It needs support so it can develop and evolve for the benefit of its people, and so that the radical elements that have been successful in Afghanistan can be stopped in their stride. 
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France and UK want a UN “safe zone” in Kabul

France and UK want a UN “safe zone” in Kabul

France and the United Kingdom want to create a safe zone in the Afghan capital Kabul to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians under the protection of the United Nations. French president Emmanuel Macron has said that France will submit a resolution to this effect to the UN Security Council on Monday (30 August).
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Opinion
Opinion: China may end up being the biggest beneficiary of the Taliban power-grab in Afghanistan

Opinion: China may end up being the biggest beneficiary of the Taliban power-grab in Afghanistan

Beijing can turn the situation in Afghanistan to its own advantage, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. Afghanistan has significant minerals, including rare earth metals, which China will be glad to import. Beijing  could also include Afghanistan in the “Belt and Road initiative” and use it as another land route towards Iran and the Central Asian republics via Pakistan, and through Iran via Turkey or via Armenia-Georgia-Black Sea route to Europe.