Against the background of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the countries of Central Asia have received unprecedented attention from global and regional players.
For the first time on September 29, the city of Berlin hosted the heads of Central Asian countries in the C5+1 format . Ten days before that, a similar meeting with Joe Biden, the President of the United States, took place in New York .
Trying to cooperate?
The result of this meeting was a statement that announced the creation of a “regional strategic partnership” between Germany and the countries of Central Asia.
The heads of the countries of the region declared their commitment to the method of “respecting the authority, independence and territorial integrity of all countries” as well as “prohibiting the threat of using force”. Although the word “Ukraine” was not in the document, it seems that this message was sent to Moscow, considering the Russian war in this country.
The parties emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation with Germany in the fields of green electricity development, private entrepreneurship, strengthening of business relations through the “intermediate corridor”, etc.
According to “German Wave”, this country’s interest in Central Asia really gained importance after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine: “Germany ranks second in terms of military aid to Ukraine after the United States and is inclined to create a large international coalition at the expense of other countries. who condemn Russian aggression and support the policy of sanctions against Moscow.”
“At the moment, the open condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine through Central Asian leaders is not important for Berlin, but their words behind closed doors are important,” the source wrote.
The Berlin statement was in every way similar to the joint statement of the heads of Central Asia and the American president in New York. However, the American side, in addition to other grounds, expressed its tendency to strengthen cooperation in the field of security. Especially in matters of defense, law enforcement and the fight against terrorism.
“The activity of the West’s policy in Central Asia is primarily determined by the tendency to reduce dependence on Russian energy resources, strengthen control over sanctions against Russia, and generally help the region diversify its foreign relations,” said political scientist Sulaiman Shohzoda.
At the moment, according to him, it is still too early to say that the presence of the West will compete with China and Russia in the near future.
S5+ as a new model?
Over the past year and a half, the meeting in the format of C5+ has become part of the tradition of regional politics. From the beginning of 2022, virtual meetings were held with India, then with Russia in Astana, with China in the city of Xi’an, with the kings of the Persian Gulf in Jeddah, and then in New York and Berlin.
According to analysts, such meetings are important only for the fact that they highlight the declared multilateral policies of the countries of the region and allow them to develop a more joint work order.
“Against the background of the ever-increasing rivalry between the great powers, the active participation of regional rivals such as Turkey, Iran, India, the Gulf Cooperation Council and China in Central Asia creates a complex and moving chessboard, and the countries of the region try to play this game alone. don’t be,” writes Dr. Gafin Helf, an employee of the American Peace University. He said that the strengthening of regional cooperation increases the probability of success.
In September of this year, the fifth consultative meeting of the heads of Central Asian countries was held in Dushanbe. Although the result of that meeting showed that the region is still far from the institutionalization of unity, experts still emphasized the possibility of a joint position of the heads of the countries.
A blow to democracy?
Journalist and political commentator Khairullo Mirsaidov says that cooperation with regional autocratic leaders has a negative impact on society.
“As a representative of a civilized society, I do not like the behavior of democratic countries with autocratic regimes. By trying to attract them to their side, along with Russia, they actually support the regimes that they themselves criticize on the basis of human rights violations. Western countries actually violate they continuously ignore human rights in the countries of Central Asia,” says Mirsaidov.
Against the backdrop of the five-party meeting with German President Olaf Scholtz, representatives of the opposition from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, as well as other protesters , protested in order to draw Germany’s attention to the human rights situation in their countries . However, apparently, the German government did not pay attention to this event at the official level.
Source : Радио Озоди