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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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ratifies treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ratifies treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan

Kazakhstan's President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, officially ratified on Monday (20 May) a significant treaty on allied relations with Uzbekistan, to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new strategic level. This pivotal agreement, initially signed in Tashkent on 22 December 2022, underscores a commitment to mutual independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, along with fostering sustainable economic growth between the two nations.
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Commentary
The fate of Central Asia may be decided on the steppes and in the forests of Ukraine

The fate of Central Asia may be decided on the steppes and in the forests of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin was sworn in for another six-year term as the President of Russia on Tuesday, 7 May. With Putin having been the undisputed leader of Russia for decades, continuity, one would have thought, was assured. Yet Putin himself, on Monday (13 May) speaking at a meeting of the Security Council spoke of “a new political cycle” in Russia. Some of the first decisions of the re-elected president give us a sense of what is to come. First, there was the surprise dismissal of Sergei Shoigu as Minister of Defence, and his transfer to be the Secretary of the Security Council. There had been speculation for some time that Shoigu’s time at the Ministry of Defence was up. But what was surprising was the appointment of Andrei Belousov, former Deputy Prime Minister – an efficient technocrat with an economic background to replace him. That the Russian Ministry of Defence has needed a shake-up for some time has been abundantly clear, but Andrei Belousov’s mission seems to be more ambitious than that: He is tasked with transforming the Russian Defence Ministry into a modern institution that can embrace new ideas and techniques, and that has enough flexibility to conduct the sort of hybrid warfare that is likely to be the order of the day going forward. So despite all of Putin’s bravados about the Russian nuclear arsenal, it seems he is putting his faith in a more innovative, agile, and versatile force. Then on Monday, 13 May, Putin held his first meeting of the Security Council since his inauguration. The Kremlin website only referred to one item out of apparently several that were discussed, namely relations with the post-Soviet Republics, a subject much close to the heart of the president. Putin reiterated that this was a priority in foreign policy. Putin said, “we should pay even more attention to this area in the new political cycle in Russia and discuss the way we will organise this work from all points of view, including organisational”. So it appears that there is new thinking in this sphere, details of which is not yet known.

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Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to deepen cooperation as Aliyev meets Tokayev in Astana

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to deepen cooperation as Aliyev meets Tokayev in Astana

Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan have agreed to significantly increase bilateral cooperation in a number of sectors after the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev met with his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana on Monday (10 April). The meeting was comprehensive, focusing on strengthening political, trade, economic, transport and transit, as well as cultural and humanitarian cooperation between the two Caspian Sea states. The two presidents signed several memoranda of understanding on cooperation in sports, diaspora initiatives, science, telecommunications, business and culture. President Aliyev and President Tokayev also signed a joint statement and protocol on the establishment of a Supreme Interstate Council, "which is designed to serve the comprehensive strengthening of bilateral relations", according to Tokayev. He said, "The full deployment of the potential of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the so-called Middle Corridor, is of particular importance." Meanwhile, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is "truly determined to deepen and expand the multifaceted cooperation" with Kazakhstan.
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Kazakhstan and China sign commercial agreements worth $565m

Kazakhstan and China sign commercial agreements worth $565m

On Tuesday (28 March) it was announced that Kazakh and Chinese business leaders signed 16 different documents strengthening bilateral relations. The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the "Second friendly dialogue of cross-border cooperation between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People's Republic of China". The documents included six interregional agreements, five memoranda of understanding, and five commercial agreements totalling a value of $565m. The agreements cover the sectors of construction, energy, mining, agriculture, food industry, engineering, tourism, investment, and others. The forum was held alongside a visit of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Communist Party Secretary of XUAR, Ma Xingrui, to Kazakhstan. At the meeting, Chinese and Kazakh officials and entrepreneurs discussed ways to improve the efficiency of checkpoints, logistics centers, and transport infrastructure along the almost 1,800km-long border. Speaking at the event, the Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration Serik Zhumangarin said Kazakhstan is ready to export some 135 industrial and agricultural products worth over $1 billion to China.