Blinken in Central Asia to boost ties amid Russia-Ukraine war | Russia-Ukraine war News


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Kazakhstan, his first cease on a Central Asia journey to satisfy his counterparts from all 5 former Soviet republics within the area.

Blinken sat down for talks with Kazakh international minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi after which with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday.

A gathering of the so-called C5+1 group, made up of the US and the previous Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, was anticipated to observe.

Blinken’s journey, his first to the realm through the administration of President Joe Biden, comes simply days after the primary anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an occasion that has been seen to have emboldened leaders within the area to take a firmer method in dealings with Moscow.

US officers have mentioned the Biden administration is looking for to step up engagement with the area, particularly for nations dealing with economic fallout from the battle.

Upon assembly Kazakhstan’s Tileuberdi, Biden pledged Washington’s assist of the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” of the nation, which gained independence from Moscow in 1991.

Kazakhstan, which shares the world’s longest steady land border with Russia, has welcomed tens of thousands of Russians fleeing from a army call-up which started final September.

“We now have constructed excellent and dependable long-term partnerships in so many strategically essential areas like safety, vitality, commerce and investments,” President Tokayev advised Blinken as they met on the nation’s vaulting presidential palace. He added, with out additional rationalization, that he had acquired three private messages from President Joe Biden.

Forward of a subsequent assembly, Turkmenistan’s international minister Rasit Merodow mentioned the go to allowed the pair to debate “a few of the worldwide and regional points”.

“On the similar time, I feel that it is going to be a really nice alternative to speak about right here increasing cooperation between Turkmenistan and the US,” he mentioned.

Shifting dynamics

All 5 former Soviet Central Asian republics are historically seen to be inside Russia’s sphere of affect, however none have backed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nonetheless, all 5 abstained in a vote to condemn the invasion final week on the United Nations Common Meeting on the primary anniversary of the struggle.

A latest examine by the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Growth discovered a spike in European Union and British exports to Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – a part of a customs union with Russia – and advised that the movement was meant to evade the sweeping Western sanctions on Russia.

On the similar time, the US has sought to spare Central Asia from actions in opposition to Russia. Washington has issued a sanctions exemption for the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which carries Kazakh oil to the West and goes by way of Russia.

Talking on Tuesday, Blinken mentioned the US had made “essential strides” for better ties with Kazakhstan, particularly, in recent times and would search for sensible methods to do extra with the opposite Central Asian nations.

Nonetheless, the US has usually come up brief in its decades-long effort to sway Central Asian nations from Moscow’s affect, evidenced by the deployment of Russian troops to Kazakhstan at Tokayev’s request to stem anti-government protests in January 2022.

And whereas Uzbekistan and Tajikistan assisted the US logistically throughout its 20-year battle in Afghanistan, following the US withdrawal in 2021, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan agreed to coordinate a joint motion with Russia.

China additionally wields substantial monetary affect over the area by way of its Belt and Street Initiative and main lending.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here