United Nations, Sep 19 (EFE).- U.S. President Joe Biden met on Tuesday with leaders from the five Central Asian republics on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to counter Chinese and Russian influence in the region.
The C5+1 summit in New York included the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev; Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow; Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev; Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, and Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, following Biden’s address at the opening session of the 78th General Assembly.
After the summit, Biden stated that the relationship between the United States and Central Asia was at a “historic moment”, citing “counter-terrorism cooperation” and U.S. funding for security in the region as examples. He also mentioned a new platform to connect U.S. and Central Asian businesses and highlighted ongoing discussions about critical minerals to ensure Central Asia’s energy security.
In a clear reference to the Ukraine war – though without naming the country – Biden emphasized that both the United States and Central Asian countries are “committed to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity” of nations.
“In my opinion, these principles matter more now than ever,” he said.
While the Central Asian nations have not joined Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, they advocate for a diplomatic solution and do not openly support Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
Central Asia, traditionally seen as a Russian sphere of influence, is one of the few regions Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited since the war began.
Washington recognizes it cannot ignore Central Asia now, as it is not only a region under Russian influence but also where China is expanding its role. Three of these countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) share borders with China, which has maintained an ambiguous stance on the war, calling for respect for “the territorial integrity of all countries” while acknowledging Russia’s “legitimate concerns.”
In a statement, the White House reported that Biden pledged to the five leaders to boost investment in developing the trade route of the Trans-Caspian International Route, which links Central Asia and Europe, bypassing Russian territory. EFE