The 4th Central Asian Heads of State Consultation Meeting held in Cholpan-Ata, Kyrgyzstan on 20-21 July 2022 can be interpreted as a development of historical importance. Because, due to the changes in the geopolitics of the region, increasing the coordination and multilateral cooperation for the Central Asian countries is becoming more and more important every day. States are taking some measures for this purpose. This can be understood from the issues discussed and the agreements signed by the heads of state. As a matter of fact, the meeting on 20-21 July 2022 resulted in the signing of important documents in terms of the development and institutionalization of multi-faceted cooperation. The documents signed at the Çolpon-Ata Summit are listed below:
- Treaty of Friendship, Good Neighborhood and Cooperation for the Development of Central Asia in the 21st Century
- The Concept of Interaction of Central Asian States in Multilateral Formats
- Central Asia Regional Green Agenda Program
- Roadmap for the Development of Regional Cooperation (2022-2024)
At that meeting, the leaders focused on current issues such as ensuring sustainable development at the regional level, improving trade relations and deepening cooperation in the fields of energy, transport and communication. The Friendship and Good Neighborhood Agreement signed in this context envisages intensification of military, commercial, economic, logistical and cultural cooperation between the parties. As a matter of fact, the following statements regarding the aforementioned agreement were included in the final declaration published after the meeting:
“Under the agreement, the parties reaffirmed their obligations in this regard by agreeing to refrain from the use or threat of force against each other, to interact to strengthen peace and security on a global and regional scale, and to act in coordination to combat modern challenges and threats.”
As it is known, the geopolitical developments in connection with the Russia-Ukraine War force the international system to change, security risks come to the fore more frequently, and this requires the development of political ties in interstate relations within the framework of mutual trust.
At this point, it can be said that regional risks have increased even more, considering that the Central Asian countries wanted to be dragged into conflicts in line with the interests of their power centers during their thirty-year independence period. In particular, the increasing competition between the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU), Russia and China cause concerns that Central Asia may be dragged into instability as a result of this power struggle. In fact, the “Tragic January Events” in Kazakhstan in the first days of 2022, the conflicts that broke out from time to time on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border, the events in Tajikistan’s Mountainous Badakhshan Autonomous Region and the events in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan Region, it shows the rightness of the concerns about the spread of regional instability. Therefore, it is important for all Central Asian states to regional peace against instability, cooperation and develop a cooperation that envisages prosperity.
In line with this understanding, the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, suggested the establishment of an expert platform in order to resolve the border disputes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Undoubtedly, this offer is also in line with the expectations regarding the Friendship and Good Neighborhood Agreement signed between the parties. At this point, it can be said that the Friendship and Good Neighborhood Agreement constitutes a strong basis for ensuring regional security and developing cooperation based on mutual interests among the states of the region.
Meetings that increase the interaction of Central Asian states, such as the Çolpon-Ata Summit, also contribute to the integration processes. The Roadmap for the Development of Regional Cooperation for 2022-2024, signed in this context, is extremely important. However, integration processes should not be expected to reach concrete results in a single meeting. This is a process. However, it is obvious that the document in question reveals the determination regarding the integration processes.
Another important agreement signed within the scope of the 4th Consultation Meeting of the Central Asian Heads of State is the Central Asian Regional Green Agenda Program. As it is known, with the transition to resource-saving technologies due to climate change and the situation in the international energy market, the interest in the use of renewable energy sources has increased worldwide. This trend is also valid for Central Asia.
The growth of population and industry and the common challenges faced by the region in the field of energy security make the expansion and modernization of energy systems of Central Asian states essential. In particular, energy is a very important source of income for the states of the region. In this context, states are doing their best to align their energy policies with climate change. For example, Tajikistan attaches importance to the construction of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Plant, which is expected to double the capacity of energy production in the country. Rogun Hydroelectric Power Plant, which was once a source of regional conflict, has now become an issue that contributes to the development of relations on the Dushanbe-Tashkent line. As a matter of fact, an agreement was reached between the parties on the issue in June 2022. According to this, in the summer Rogun, on the occasion of its HEPP, Tajikistan will export electricity to Uzbekistan.
Recent developments indicate that cooperation in energy trade and the construction of power plants has come to the fore. The Central Asian Regional Green Agenda Program also heralds the further progress of cooperation processes in this dimension.
As a result, the 4th Consultation Meeting of the Heads of Central Asian Heads of State showed that the integration processes between the states of the region, which have a common historical background and culture, are progressing in a healthy way. The efficient functioning of the Heads of State Consultation Meetings mechanism is decisive in this regard. Because, through these summits, it has been understood that many difficulties faced by the region can be overcome through dialogue.
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“О проекте Указа Президента Республики Казахстан «О подписании Договора между Республикой Казахстан, Кыргызской Республикой, Республикой Таджикистан, Туркменистаном и Республикой Узбекистан о дружбе, добрососедстве и сотрудничестве в целях развития Центральной Азии в XXI веке »”, Ministry Ugh foreign affairs Ugh Kazakhstan , https://www.gov.kz/hometown/entities/mfa/documents/details/325796?lang=ru, (Date of Accession: 21.07.2022).
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