By Kulpash Konyrova
Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Nov 17 (EFE).- The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, thanked Central Asian countries on Thursday for not supporting Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and not contributing to the Kremlin’s ability to evade Western sanctions.
“We fully understand the constraints that Central Asian countries have because of their relationship, their proximity and, in some cases, their dependence on Russia,” he told EFE in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, where he co-chaired a ministerial meeting between the EU and the foreign ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
“And for that very reason we appreciate even more the attitude they have taken not to support Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and not to contribute to Russia’s ability to circumvent the sanctions we have imposed on it,” he stressed.
The also vice-president of the European Commission maintained that all countries in the region defend the international order, sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries.
“And that is a good basis for strengthening our cooperation with them,” Borrell emphasized.
The head of EU diplomacy traveled to Samarkand from Astana, where he met with Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The Kazakh leader in June made it clear to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that international law is based on the UN Charter and that he will not recognize the independence of the Ukrainian republics of Lugansk and Donbas, later annexed by Russia together with Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The EU High Representative thanked the Kazakh leader for his firm commitment to the UN Charter, “especially with regard to the territorial integrity of countries.”
The former Spanish Foreign Minister, who on Friday is to also meet with the Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, is to also participate in the Global Gateway conference, the alternative with which Brussels wants to counteract the Chinese Belt and Road initiative that promote infrastructure investment in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Borrell told EFE that these are projects to strengthen ties between Europe and Asia through the Caspian Sea, “seeking alternative routes to those that currently pass through Russian territory.”
This “would make communication and the export of goods that are highly valued from the point of view of energy, minerals and food that the region produces for European markets faster and more economical,” he said.
Borrell further said at a press conference with his Uzbek counterpart, Vladimir Norov, that the two sides need to “cooperate more” to cope with a “much more dangerous world, whether it is because of the Russian war in Ukraine or global challenges such as climate change, illegal trafficking and organized crime.”
The EU high representative is to also meet separately on Friday with the foreign ministers of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. EFE