The Con­sul­ta­tive Body De­cides…

The Uzbek Pres­i­dent’s in­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives are ma­te­ri­al­ized step by step.

Uzbekistan Today (English) - - WORLD -

Back in Septem­ber 2017, speak­ing at the 72nd ses­sion of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York, Shavkat Mirziy­oyev came up with a num­ber of key pro­pos­als, in­clud­ing that per­ti­nent to the adop­tion of a spe­cial res­o­lu­tion on Cen­tral Asia within the frame­work of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly.

As part of this ini­tia­tive, an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence “Cen­tral Asia: One Past and a Com­mon Future, Co­op­er­a­tion for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment and Mu­tual Pros­per­ity” was or­ga­nized in Sa­markand last Novem­ber. The par­tic­i­pants of the event, in­clud­ing for­eign min­is­ters of Cen­tral Asian na­tions and Afghanistan, coun­tries of the CIS, Europe, Asia, as well as the USA, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions like the UN, EU, OSCE, SCO, EBRD, voiced their un­con­di­tional support for that ini­tia­tive.

And the other day, fol­low­ing a month­s­long thor­ough dis­cus­sion of the draft, the doc­u­ment was put into prac­tice. It was in­ter­est­ing that the adopted res­o­lu­tion “Strength­en­ing re­gional and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion to en­sure peace, sta­bil­ity and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment in the Cen­tral Asian re­gion” was adopted with coau­thor­ship from 55 coun­tries of Europe, North Amer­ica, Asia, Africa and other con­ti­nents, which in­di­cates recog­ni­tion by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity the ur­gency of the ini­tia­tive of the head of the Uzbek state. In ad­di­tion to our neigh­bors, Ger­many, Italy, Canada, Nor­way, Switzer­land, Aus­tralia, South Korea, Turkey, Singapore, Qatar, the United Arab Emi­rates, In­dia were among those who con­trib­uted to its re­al­iza­tion.

WHAT IS IN THE DOC­U­MENT?

The res­o­lu­tion in­cluded key ini­tia­tives of Uzbek­istan. It men­tions the main re­sults of the Sa­markand Con­fer­ence, dur­ing which im­por­tant de­ci­sions were made and the com­mit­ment of the coun­tries of the re­gion to strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral and re­gional co­op­er­a­tion was con­firmed. The doc­u­ment also ex­presses full support from the world com­mu­nity to the ini­tia­tive of the leader of Uzbek­istan on con­ven­ing reg­u­lar con­sul­ta­tions of the heads of state of Cen­tral Asia.

Spe­cial at­ten­tion was paid to the ef­forts of the Cen­tral Asian states to pro­mote the peace process and so­cioe­co­nomic de­vel­op­ment in Afghanistan, their par­tic­i­pa­tion in re­gional po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic pro­cesses. In this con­text, the doc­u­ment high­lights the im­por­tance of the Tashkent In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Afghanistan “Peace Process, Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion and Re­gional Con­nec­tiv­ity” ( March 2018) as a con­tin­u­a­tion of the ef­forts of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in support of the Afghan- led Afghan- owned rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process.

The unan­i­mous adop­tion of the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly res­o­lu­tion at­tests to the com­pre­hen­sive support of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for the cur­rent for­eign pol­icy of Uzbek­istan on the es­tab­lish­ment of close re­gional co­op­er­a­tion based on the prin­ci­ples of good- neigh­bor­li­ness and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ship for the ef­fec­tive use of the po­ten­tial of coun­tries in the trade, eco­nomic, trans­port, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cul­tural, hu­man­i­tar­ian and other spheres for the pur­poses en­sur­ing the peace­ful and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of Cen­tral Asia.

POINTS OF VIEW

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, ow­ing to the bold pol­icy led by Shavkat Mirziy­oyev, re­la­tions among the coun­tries of the re­gion have un­der­gone a fun­da­men­tal shift, which led to the cre­ation of a com­pletely new po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere in Cen­tral Asia char­ac­ter­ized by the con­sol­i­da­tion of po­lit­i­cal con­fi­dence and the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of in­ter­ac­tion.

Di­rec­tor of the Ma’no Cen­ter for Re­search Ini­tia­tives Bakhtiyor Er­ga­shev:

- A qual­i­ta­tively new stage of re­gional co­op­er­a­tion has come around, which al­lows us to say that we are turn­ing to in­ter­state in­ter­ac­tion with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of both state and non- state eco­nomic fac­tors. And this was largely helped by the readi­ness of all the coun­tries of the re­gion, the com­ple­tion of the process of form­ing the na­tional iden­tity.

As far as in­te­gra­tion pro­cesses are con­cerned, I al­ways said that if there is any in­te­gra­tion in Cen­tral Asia, it is only on the ba­sis of trans­port sys­tems. And this as­so­ci­a­tion can arise only in the case of the uni­fi­ca­tion of trans­port sys­tems of at least three coun­tries of the re­gion – Kaza­khstan, Turk­menistan and Uzbek­istan.

Cen­tral Asia has never be­come an in­de­pen­dent en­tity and is still an ob­ject of ex­ter­nal forces. The coun­tries of the re­gion are still in the process of form­ing their iden­tity as an ac­tor. This is a very long process, the in­di­ca­tor of which is that the states were not able to in­de­pen­dently form their own re­gional in­te­gra­tion agenda. And all re­gional in­te­gra­tion projects were still­born. There­fore, now the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia are par­tic­i­pants of in­te­gra­tion projects pro­posed by ex­ter­nal cen­ters of power – the CSTO, EAEU, SCO.

It seems to me that the agenda for the re­gion pro­posed by Uzbek­istan has a chance to be­come a plat­form for boost­ing the re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and Cen­tral Asia gain­ing its geo- eco­nomic and geopo­lit­i­cal en­tity sta­tus.

The sub­ject of for­ma­tion by Cen­tral Asian coun­tries of their own ac­tor sta­tus in the in­ter­na­tional arena has been com­mented also by Farhod Tolipov, di­rec­tor of the non- gov­ern­men­tal sci­en­tific in­sti­tu­tion Car­a­van of Knowl­edge:

- Af­ter the Astana meet­ing of the heads of state of Cen­tral Asia in March 2018, it was ev­i­dent that Rus­sian ex­pert and an­a­lyt­i­cal cir­cles, as well as their me­dia, were ac­tively ex­press­ing strange, in our opin­ion, aching re­ac­tions about this sum­mit. The quin­tes­sence of such a re­ac­tion from dif­fer­ent sources boils down to such a sim­ple for­mula: that the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries have gath­ered with­out Rus­sia. The very state­ment “how did they al­low them­selves to meet with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Rus­sia?” is not just some ner­vous re­sponse by Rus­sian ex­perts or jour­nal­ists, but in a sense, it hurts, if I may say so, the Cen­tral Asian coun­tries. Be­cause in­ad­mis­si­bil­ity of such meet­ings is hid­den in such ex­pres­sions as “met with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Rus­sia”, thereby deny­ing our right to in­de­pen­dently take such de­ci­sions. This can also be eval­u­ated as a de­nial of the right to in­de­pen­dence. That is, we can ask these ex­perts the ques­tion aris­ing from this sit­u­a­tion: do you doubt our right to meet on our own, make de­ci­sions in­de­pen­dently, and there­fore, refuse our in­de­pen­dence?

Per­haps, you did not mean ex­actly this, but all your ar­ti­cles and com­ments, un­for­tu­nately, sound in such a man­ner.

Well, if we take a more fun­da­men­tal as­sess­ment of such state­ments, we must re­mem­ber the his­tory of Cen­tral Asian sum­mits, start­ing from 1991. Fol­low­ing the col­lapse of the Soviet Union, as in­de­pen­dent states now, the five re­publics of Cen­tral Asia con­vened for var­i­ous meet­ings and es­tab­lished a re­gional as­so­ci­a­tion that ex­isted through to 2005.

Re­spond­ing to sim­i­lar state­ments by ex­perts, I note that Rus­sian par­tic­i­pa­tion in Cen­tral Asian sum­mits be­gan in 2004, when Moscow ap­plied for mem­ber­ship in the CACO ( Cen­tral Asian Co­op­er­a­tion Or­ga­ni­za­tion). This name was given to the Cen­tral Asian As­so­ci­a­tion in 2001, which was pre­vi­ously called the Cen­tral Asian Union ( from 1993), and from 1998 it be­came known as the Cen­tral Asian Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity. The names changed in con­nec­tion with tasks that were be­com­ing more and more am­bi­tious.

And the most in­ter­est­ing hap­pened af­ter­wards. In 2004, Rus­sia joined the CACO, and a year later, in 2005, the CACO ceased to ex­ist. You can agree with me that the very ac­ces­sion of Rus­sia into the CACO was rather strange, be­cause this was a purely re­gional as­so­ci­a­tion. It is barely clear how ex­tra- re­gional pow­ers ended up par­tic­i­pat­ing in it.

And here I would like to ask the ex­perts who were in­dig­nant at the Astana meet­ing with­out Moscow’s par­tic­i­pa­tion: what did the Rus­sia’s his­tory of par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Cen­tral Asian as­so­ci­a­tion re­sult in?

The for­mer re­sulted in that the lat­ter ceased to ex­ist! The rea­son cited for that was that the CACO be­gan to du­pli­cate the Eurasian Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity. But it could not du­pli­cate in any way. Even in its com­po­si­tion it was dif­fer­ent, as there was Be­larus in the EEC as mem­ber, while Ar­me­nia, Moldova and Ukraine were ob­server na­tions.

As a re­sult, the re­gion has lived sep­a­rately since 2005, which in turn led to the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of a mass of un­re­solved prob­lems. Sum­mits con­vened pre­vi­ously were poor, some­how lo­cal­ized or froze the po­ten­tial for con­flict be­tween and among the coun­tries of Cen­tral Asia. Sure, wa­ter and bor­der is­sues had not been solved, and the con­flict po­ten­tial had only mounted since 2005.

The ice moved aside in 2017, when Shavkat Mirziy­oyev, speak­ing at the con­fer­ence in Sa­markand, came up with the ini­tia­tive of an­nual meet­ings of the heads of state of Cen­tral Asia, which was im­me­di­ately picked up by Nur­sul­tan Nazarbayev and the first meet­ing in Astana was pro­posed.

And to­day we can ob­serve the rap­proche­ment not only of the peo­ples of the Cen­tral Asian states, but also of the equally im­por­tant rap­proche­ment of the gov­ern­ments of the Cen­tral Asian na­tions.

As you can see, the Astana sum­mit, which was mod­estly called an ad­vi­sory meet­ing, did not start from scratch, it has a good and sub­stan­tial back­ground.

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