Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will invite his counterparts from the five Central Asian states to meet with him in Berlin on Saturday. Following the first event of this kind in March in Astana this is the second meeting between the EU and representatives of all five Central Asian countries.
During that meeting Federal Minister Steinmeier will present the EU strategy for a new partnership with Central Asia developed during Germany’s EU Council Presidency and adopted during the Brussels European Council on 21 and 22 June. This strategy for the first time sets out political guidelines for a considerably enhanced EU commitment in Central Asia.
With its Central Asia concept the EU underlines the region’s growing strategic significance due to its location between Europe, Asia, Russia and South Asia. The EU shares a broad spectrum of interests with Central Asia, ranging from efforts to achieve peace in Afghanistan, via the fight against drugs transit and extremism, improved regional cooperation, to the diversification of energy supplies.
The EU’s strategy on Central Asia favours a balanced bilateral and regional approach which takes due account of the specific requirements and performance of each individual country. Regular political dialogue with the countries of the region will aim not only to increase cooperation in the various fields such as economics, transport, energy, the environment and education, but also to create a broader foundation of shared values based among other things on the rule of law and human rights.
The European Council will evaluate the implementation of the Central Asia strategy for the first time in June 2008 and at least every two years thereafter.
At Saturday’s meeting the EU will be represented by the current EU President, Federal Minister Steinmeier, his successor in office, Portuguese foreign minister Dr Luis Amado, and the EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Pierre Morell. The Central Asian states are expected to send their foreign ministers - Kyrgyz Republic, Prof Ednan Karabayev; Kazakhstan, Marat Tashin; Tajikistan, Hamrokhon Zarifi, as well as the deputy foreign minister of Uzbekistan, Dr Ilkhom Nematov, and a representative from Turkmenistan.