The first regional Central Asia-European Union (EU) high-level meeting was held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Thursday, the Press Service of the President of Kazakhstan said in its statement.
The meeting was attended by President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Deputy Chairman of Turkmen Government Hojamyrat Geldimyradow and President of the European Council Charles Michel.
The participants outlined the results of the 30 years of multilateral cooperation. They reaffirmed their commitment to continue building a strong, diversified and forward-looking partnership underpinned by shared values and mutual interests.
In their joint press communique, the signatories welcomed the institutionalization of the relationship between the Central Asian nations and the EU through the work of existing high-level platforms, and stressed the importance of active involvement of civil society in developing interregional cooperation.
The President of the European Council welcomed the efforts of Central Asian leaders to strengthen regional cooperation and connectivity as set out in the Joint Statements of the Consultative Meetings of Central Asian Heads of State.
The Central Asian leaders appreciated the EU's contribution to intensifying economic development after the pandemic, overcoming socio-economic challenges caused by COVID 19 and promoting cross-border cooperation in the region. The parties underlined that creation of favourable business environment would help to further boost investments in the region, connectivity and trade. In this context, parties welcomed the new EU-Central Asia Economic Forum platform.
In 2019, the EU updated its Central Asia strategy to focus on resilience (covering areas such as human rights, border security and the environment), prosperity (with a strong emphasis on connectivity) and regional cooperation.