Central Asia is a Region of Complex Plexus of Interests
The security of the Central Asian region has been addressed in Moscow at a roundtable discussion with the participation of Uzbek and Russian analysts.
As a result of the conference, an agreement was reached on the participation of RISS experts in academic and practical events in Uzbekistan.
The format of the event was an academic conference, addressing the topic “Pressing issues of security in the Central Asian region and the strategy for their solution: the approaches of Russia and Uzbekistan”. The Uzbek delegation was headed by Vladimir Norov, Director of the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies (ISIRS) under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Russian side was represented by Mikhail Fradkov, Director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS).
Opening the meeting, he noted that “Uzbekistan is the heart of Central Asia and has common borders with every country in the region where Russia has interests. We are planning to raise the level of Russian-Uzbek relations to a higher level. Our desire is to ensure stability and develop in the interests of our peoples in the conditions of security.”
In the opinion of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Uzbekistan to the Russian Federation, Bakhrom Ashrafkhanov, the importance of the topic of the conference is conditioned by the fact that Central Asia is not an isolated territory. “This is a region of a complex plexus of political and economic interests, almost all global factors and the situation in which can somehow influence the situation far beyond its borders,» said the head of the diplomatic mission.”
The fact that Central Asia is the main priority of the foreign policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the main task facing the country is the creation of a zone of stability, peace and good-neighborliness around itself, recalled the ISIRS Director Vladimir Norov. Concerning security, all participants in the conference agreed that Uzbekistan is a powerful barrier to extremism.
“Uzbekistan has accumulated quite a lot of experience working with young people, the clergy,” stated Oksana Petrovskaya, head of the Center for European Studies at RISS, “and our task is to unite efforts in countering extremism.”
V. Norov: In 2017, the Center for the Study of Public Opinion conducted a study, according to which 72% of Uzbeks responded that Russia should be the main partner of Uzbekistan in the fight against religious extremism and terrorism.
During the conference, the sides exchanged views on the situation in Afghanistan and its impact on the development of the regional situation. In this regard, it was suggested that Russia and Uzbekistan should unite in the Afghan direction in order to help stabilize the situation. Developing this topic, Omar Mohammad Nessar, Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Afghanistan, said: “Of course, Russia can establish relations with Uzbekistan and play an effective role in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan, but from my point of view, it would probably be more interesting and more correct to expand this alliance , including not only Uzbekistan, but other countries of Central Asia, China and Iran, as these states also play an important role in Afghanistan.”
Participants noted the spirit of trust present at the conference. At the end of the meeting, Director of the Center for Central Asian and Afghan Studies at MGIMO Andrey Kazantsev said: “Today we had a very interesting meeting with representatives of ISIRS. One of the areas discussed, which is of great interest, is how we can coordinate the interests of the great powers working in the region. It's no secret that the Russian-American and AmericanChinese contradictions are now quite large, which prevent them from effectively cooperating with the countries of the region and with each other in Central Asia. In this context, it is important to determine how this can all be coordinated with the interests of the Central Asian states themselves, as well as how the countries of the region, primarily Uzbekistan, increasing their authority in diplomacy and the system of international relations, will be able to build cooperation to prevent the negative impact of international conflicts on the situation in Central Asia. And for this enhanced coordination to resolve the situation in Afghanistan, as well.”