By Farkhod Tolipov
July 2, 2019, the CACI Analyst
After almost a decade-long break in regional summits of Central Asian states, the ice began to melt in March 2018 when the leaders of five Central Asian states met in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana for a so-called Consultative Meeting. Many observers termed the event a revitalization of the regional cooperation process, albeit in a new temporary format for talks, and a cautious step toward a regional approach to regional problems. During that first Consultative Meeting, it was decided that the second meeting would take place in Tashkent in March 2019. However, when March came the meeting was rescheduled for April and is still delayed.
Regional Cooperation in Central Asia: Relevance of Foreign Models
A renewed spirit of regionalism is emerging in Central Asia, manifested most overtly in a summit of Central Asian leaders in Astana in March 2018, and the passage of a United Nations General Assembly resolution on the Central Asian region in June of the same year. This has important implications for the region, and will inevitably lead to efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation. As Central Asians ponder how to anchor regionalism in institutions, the experiences of countries as diverse as the Nordic countries, South America, and Southeast Asia may all be relevant. After all, these and other world regions offer a rich history of efforts to develop regional cooperation. They have achieved successes, endured failures, and grappled with challenges that are not dissimilar from those faced by Central Asian leaders today.
Questions range from the technical to the political. How should the freedom of movement of people, labor issues, or trade facilitation be handled? How is regional cooperation affected by the fact that regional countries do not share the same patterns of membership in international organizations? How deeply institutionalized should regional structures be? How do they relate to outside powers, particularly large ones and potential hegemons? These questions are the focus of the following sections.
By Farkhod Tolipov
September 18, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoev’s state visit to Tajikistan on March 9-10, 2018, represented a
“closure of the circle” in a series of trips since Mirziyoev was elected and proclaimed Central Asia as the new
foreign policy priority for Uzbekistan. The visit marked the start of a thaw between these states. On August
17-18, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon made the first Tajik state visit to Uzbekistan in the entire
period since independence. The two Presidents signed a long-awaited Treaty on Strategic Partnership,
implying that Uzbekistan is now completely surrounded by strategic partners in Central Asia.
By Batir Tursunov
September 5, 2018, the CACI Analyst
At its June 22, 2018, plenary session, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian Region.” According to Uzbekistan’s Foreign Ministry, all UN members unanimously supported the draft document, developed by Uzbekistan along with other Central Asian states.
By Sanjar Valiyev
June 11, 2018, the CACI Analyst
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s visit to Washington was historic, being the first official visit of an Uzbek president since 2002. Mirziyoyev’s reception, and the breadth and width of agreements signed, constitute an acknowledgement of the reform process in Uzbekistan, as well as of the country’s newfound regional role and in particular its constructive approach to resolving the problem of Afghanistan. Washington’s engagement in these efforts will further improve the prospects of success in Uzbekistan’s domestic reforms and regional initiatives.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.