THE FIFTH CONSULTATIVE MEETING
OF THE HEADS OF STATE OF CENTRAL ASIA
On September 14, 2023, the 5th anniversary Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. The Central Asian Summit was chaired by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon.
The 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia was attended by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Japarov, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev as a guest of honor.
The Heads of State discussed a wide range of topical issues of their relations in the region and considered the prospects for expanding cooperation for ensuring sustainable economic development, strengthening the foundation of good neighborliness, further developing cultural and humanitarian space.
Particularly, the Heads of State spoke about expansion of multifaceted regional cooperation in a number of areas, including development of political dialogue, promotion of joint trade, investment, transport, energy, agriculture and ecology programs and projects, activization of cultural and humanitarian exchange, and response to modern challenges and security threats.
The Presidents put forward the following initiatives and proposals:
Emomali Rahmon, President of Tajikistan
1. Individual cooperation programs for sectoral development
"We need to identify new opportunities for growth and cooperation, as well as utilize the full potential for a strategic breakthrough in the economic direction. The economies of the region should complement each other," said Emomali Rahmon.
In this context, he proposed developing individual cooperation programs between the Central Asia countries in the field of agriculture, industry and new technologies.
2. Concept of logistics centers in the countries
The Leader of the Nation proposed drafting a concept for integration of logistics centers in the Central Asian countries in order to maximize the effect of international freight transport development.
3. Mass Media Association of Central Asia
“In recent years, media interest in Central Asia has increased dramatically. Media landscape is full of diverse, sometimes contradictory and distorted information about the state of affairs in the region. It is important to take measures to create the information atmosphere of genuine friendship and cooperation based on evidence rather than on speculations,” said Emomali Rahmon.
In this context, Emomali Rahmon proposed establishing an Association of Mass Media of Central Asian States.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan
1. Dialogue on security
The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed holding a Dialogue on Security and Cooperation in Central Asia at the level of Security Council secretaries.
2. Unified electronic database of commodity producers
“To establish direct ties between business entities, we propose developing a unified electronic database of commodity producers, for example, as a part of the Central Asia Gateway portal,” said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
3. Plan on industrial cooperation
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed developing an Action Plan for the development of industrial cooperation among the Central Asian states, aimed at establishing a closed production cycle for certain goods, bearing in mind their export third-country markets.
4. Region-wide TV Channel of Central Asia
The President of Kazakhstan pointed out that there is still acute information shortage in mass media in terms of reporting on people’s lives in the countries of the region.
"It is desirable to change this trend, perhaps it makes sense to set a region-wide TV channel or an Internet news site," he suggested.
5. Forum of Historians
Tokayev proposed organizing the first Forum of Historians of Central Asian states that would serve as a basis for joint research and publication of various scientific works.
"We have a great opportunity to show the world the unique nature and distinctive culture of our countries by jointly promoting the touristic brand of Central Asia," said the President.
Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Turkmenistan
1. Central Asian Chamber of Commerce
The President of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdimuhamedov proposed establishing a Central Asian Chamber of Commerce.
In his opinion, it will help to coordinate joint steps of the countries in trade development, ensure the commercial interests of all potential economic entities of the Central Asian market, and attract investments for major regional projects.
2. Council of Central Asian countries on new technologies
By putting forward this proposal, Serdar Berdimuhamedov noted that such a Council could serve as a think tank for forming a united strategy of states on new technologies, making relevant recommendations and developing specific proposals.
3. Energy Dialogue between the Central Asian countries
Serdar Berdimuhamedov said that Turkmenistan is ready to supply its natural gas and electricity to Central Asian countries and through their territories to foreign markets on mutually beneficial terms.
“We believe it is possible to consider the proposal of establishing Energy Dialogue between the Central Asian countries for developing long-term cooperation between our states,” he said.
4. Regional Center for climate technologies in Central Asia
The President of Turkmenistan proposed establishing a specialized structure – the Regional Center for technologies that could help tackle climate change in Central Asia.
“We are ready to provide all necessary infrastructure to host such Center in Ashgabat,” he stated.
Sadyr Japarov, President of Kyrgyzstan
1. Simplification of customs regulations
The President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov called for simplification of customs procedures and provision of efficient transport and logistics networks to optimize the flow of goods and services across the borders of Central Asia.
2. Attraction of investments to the water sector of Central Asian countries
The President noted that for the rational use of water and energy resources in Central Asia, it is necessary to take drastic, concrete and effective measures to attract large-scale investments, both public and private, to the water and hydro-energy sectors of the countries.
3. Regional center for energy efficient technologies
The President of Kyrgyzstan proposed establishing a regional center for energy efficient and resource-saving technologies in Bishkek.
This, he said, would ensure the rational use of water and energy resources in our region as a whole.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Uzbekistan
1. Development of industrial cooperation and an Economic Council
The President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed elaborating a Strategy for development of industrial cooperation in Central Asia.
"Production of mineral fertilizers, polymers, finished metal products, assembly of agricultural machinery, production of finished textile and food products for export to the third countries may become a promising area," he said.
The President of Uzbekistan also proposed forming an Economic Council of Central Asian States aimed to expand trade and economic ties.
2. Agreement on transport and transit
Shavkat Mirziyoyev also proposed signing an Agreement on Transport and Transit in Central Asia, forming a specific mechanism to promote efficient transport corridors to access the markets of China, South Asia and Middle East, the European Union, with application of through rates that are favorable to business.
In addition, prepare a Program of measures to ensure liberalization of transport service market and optimization of authorization procedures and consider the issue of creating an integrated digital international transportation platform.
3. Regional strategy on adaptation to climate change
“Our practical contribution to climate resilience and “green” development could also be the adoption of the Regional Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change,” said Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
He proposed establishing a multilateral platform "Central Asian Climate Dialogue" at the level of environmental ministers to form a common climate agenda in the region and take collaborative and effective measures.
4. Media-platform “History and Culture of Central Asia”
The President of Uzbekistan proposed establishing an international media platform “History and Culture of Central Asia: One Past and Common Future”, with involvement of scholars and representatives of the general public to form region-wide content.
“All this will serve to strengthen mutual understanding and region-wide identity”, stated Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the meeting as a guest of honor. He also put forward some ideas for cooperation.
1. Use the opportunities of Azerbaijan in the sphere of transportation and logistics
“For the Central Asian countries, Azerbaijan is a reliable transit country along the route to the markets of Turkey and Europe.
Not least significant is the transit in the opposite direction. Our brothers in Central Asia know that Azerbaijan’s entire transportation and logistics infrastructure is available to them,” Ilham Aliyev said.
2. “Digital Silk Way” project
Azerbaijan has been consistently promoting the “Digital Silk Way” strategic telecommunications project designed to turn the country into a regional digital hub.
The initiatives implemented as a part of this project include the establishment of fiber-optic communication line between Europe and Asia, the creation of the region’s largest DATA-center and the provision of modern digital services to neighboring countries.
The President of Azerbaijan invited the Central Asian countries to use the opportunities of this project for their own purposes.
Five documents were adopted at the 5th anniversary Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States:
- Joint statement on the results of the 5th Consultative Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian States
- Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan on general directions of youth policy;
- Agreement on strengthening the connectivity of land transport in Central Asia;
- Provision on the Council of National Coordinators for the Consultative Meetings of the Heads of Central Asian States;
- "Roadmap” in support of health and well-being in Central Asia for 2022-2025.
By the decision of the Heads of State of Central Asia, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Khalk Maslakhaty of Turkmenistan was awarded the "Badge of Honor of the Heads of Central Asia States."
Sources: National Info Agency of Tajikistan «Hovar» and Asia-Plus