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Lavrov: Russia Doesn’t See Central Asia as ‘Arena for Geopolitical Confrontation’

© Photo : RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

 - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.05.2022
Russia established diplomatic relations with five former Soviet republics located in Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – in 1992, a year after the collapse of the USSR.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has noted that unlike some Western countries, Moscow does not view the Central Asian region as “an arena for geopolitical confrontation, in line with the colonial concept of the ‘great game’”.
In an opinion piece for the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Lavrov touted “harmonious, equal, and mutually beneficial relations” between Russia and a host of Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
According to the top Russian diplomat, these ties are “a vivid example of how interstate cooperation should be built in the 21st century”. He stressed that Russia “sees great potential” for the further development of mutual collaboration in “the trade, economic, energy, and scientific sectors”.
Lavrov specifically praised Russia’s current military and technical cooperation with the five ex­-Soviet republics, applauding “the joint work within the framework of the anti-terrorist and the anti-drug structures” of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

“Effective actions by CSTO peacekeeping forces in January 2022 to help Kazakhstan stabilise domestic political situation after the riots supported from outside became clear evidence of the maturity and high reliability of this organisation. To a great extent, this made it possible to stop threats to the security of the entire Central Asian region,” the Russian foreign minister underlined.

As for the trade and economic ties between Russia and the Central Asian nations, Lavrov said they are “dynamically” developing and that the volume of accumulated Russian investments into these countries has increased to about $30.5 billion.
Russian service members and military vehicles are seen upon arrival at Almaty airport, as part of a peacekeeping mission of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in this still image from video released by Russia's Defence Ministry January 9, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.01.2022
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“More than 10,000 Russian and joint ventures operate in the Central Asian countries, creating 900,000 jobs,” he stated.
Lavrov heaped praise on the development of mutual cultural relations, recalling that Russian science and culture centres operate in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and that there is a representative of Russia's Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) working at the Russian embassy in Turkmenistan.
The minister’s article comes as this year marks the 30th anniversary of Russia establishing diplomatic relations with the five Central Asian countries, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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