High-level conference in Tashkent to discuss development of relations in Central and South Asia

15 July 2021

A high-level international conference to be held July 15-16 in Tashkent will discuss the prospects for modernizing the economies of Central and South Asia as part of strengthening interregional relations, including projects to expand existing and build new transport corridors. It will be attended by several heads of state and government, more than 20 foreign ministers and delegations from the EU and the US.

The initiative to hold this forum was put forward by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in the context of Uzbekistan's new open foreign policy strategy. Mirziyoyev's press secretary, Sherzod Asadov, said on Monday that the conference would be "the most important event of this week."

"The high-level conference "Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity. Challenges and Opportunities" is expected to be attended by Afghan President [Ashraf Ghani] and Pakistani Prime Minister [Imran Khan], European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and heads of foreign ministries of more than 20 countries," Asadov said. According to him, the forum will be attended by heads of well-known international and regional organizations, and the total number of participants from nearly 50 countries will exceed 600 people.

Main participants of the event

According to the organizers, the Russian delegation at the forum will be headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will discuss the situation in Afghanistan after the accelerated withdrawal of the US military contingent and some NATO member countries from its territory. Participants are expected to pay special attention to cooperation in ensuring regional security and combating drug trafficking in the context of the ongoing global pandemic.

The US delegation headed by President Joe Biden's adviser on homeland security issues Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall will also take part in the conference, the US side will be represented at the conference by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. Sherwood-Randall and Khalilzad are expected to meet with the foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to discuss peace in Afghanistan and regional security and counternarcotics issues.

Forum goals

According to the organizers, the forum is designed to form a political and expert platform for the development of a mutually beneficial model of strategic connectivity of Central and South Asia in the transport, energy, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

According to the program, the plenary and three sectional meetings will be held during the event. Their results will be summarized by the moderators as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov. UN Secretary-General António Guterres will address the conference participants with a video message, and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev will also address them.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Creative Commons

Based on materials from TASS