Security talk started in Bishkek was ended in Dushanbe
The fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was held in Tajikistan. The declaration was adopted following the summit, in which the participants of the meeting committed themselves to pursue efforts to raise CICA cooperation and development to a higher level. The reaction of the United States to the summit was restrained: since the CICA has not yet manifested itself, it is treated "observantly". The next CICA summit will be held in 2022.
The idea of the CICA was first proposed by leader of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. In 1992, he proposed a new format for solving regional problems. But only 10 years later, the first CICA summit was held. The fifth meeting was held in Dushanbe.
There was a serious preparation for the summit in Tajikistan, as representatives of 27 member states, 13 observer countries, as well as the presidents of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, as well as the prime ministers of India and Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Cambodia planned to arrive in Dushanbe. But in fact, many of the member countries were represented by ambassadors, since, as observers say, the authority of the CICA is not too high yet.
The CICA summit is an opportunity for leaders of countries in the region to hold direct talks on specific issues and coordinate their positions. In general, the expert on Central Asia and the Middle East, Doctor of Historical Sciences Alexander Knyazev told Vestnik Kavkaza that this is the sum of high-level dialogues. At the same time, the documents accepted at the summit are declarative.
For Russia and China, CICA has become an addition to the SCO and bilateral relations. It is not by chance that consideration of the security issue, started at the SCO summit in Bishkek, was continued in Dushanbe. In particular, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the negative impact of terrorist organizations and called on his colleagues to support the fight against them. He also noted the negative impact of "trade wars" that are breaking out in the world. According to Putin, cooperation should be stepped up in identifying and neutralising terrorist groups and cutting off their financing, including from drug trafficking, largely illegal.
The situation in Afghanistan was discussed in this context. The Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah arrived in Dushanbe specifically to attend "this part" of the event. He spoke with the presidents of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran. During these meetings, issues of border security cooperation, as well as the joint fight against the threats of terrorism in the region were discussed.
"On the sidelines of the CICA summit, Abdullah Abdullah met with Vladimir Putin and expressed his concern about direct talks between Russia and Taliban, by hinting to Putin that he was ready to discuss ways to solve the problem in Afghanistan with Russia himself," Candidate of Science (Law), attorney, researcher at the Institute of International Studies of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sharbatullo Sodikov told Vestnik Kavkaza. According to him, Abdullah Abdullah acknowledged the danger of the presence of the extremist organization ISIS (banned in Russia) in Afghanistan and noted that he was ready for direct cooperation, including on the fight against ISIS (banned in Russia). However, apart from the protocol compliment, he did not receive any specific proposals on this issue. In turn, speaking at the summit, the official representative of the Afghan delegation left the question of the Taliban movement (banned in Russia) threat in Afghanistan open.
"In the conditions of war, the growth of the terrorist threat and transnational drug trafficking, each state is looking for ways to ensure its own security. However, everyone has high hopes for the negotiation process in Moscow and Doha, which can end the war and use the Taliban movement to fight ISIS (banned in Russia) and drug trafficking," Sodikov stressed.
The expert noted that if peace is not concluded, and the Afghanistan conflict develops according to the old scenario, the current state of affairs could become a long-term political problem not only for the territories adjacent to Afghanistan, which were hostages of the situation, but also for Russia and the whole Eurasia. In the case of positive dispute resolution, the countries of the Eurasian Union may receive not only guarantees of security, but also favorable financial conditions in cooperation with 'new' Afghanistan.
According to Alexander Knyazev, the participation of Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, as well as the participation of Kabul in the CICA summit was formal, since the CICA does not make binding decisions. The expert explained that transit processes are taking place in Afghanistan, the presidential election has been scheduled once again, the holding of which is questionable, since it has been repeatedly postponed. The terms of office of both president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah expired long ago, so they had lost their legitimacy long ago. In addition, negotiations are underway that can change the whole situation in Afghanistan.
According to Knyazev, it was much more interesting to observe the meeting of the Tajik and Iranian presidents [Vestnik Kavkaza reported on the preparation of this meeting in the article Tehran and Dushanbe deepen ties]. "The meeting of President Emomali Rahmon and President Hassan Rouhani will solve most of the existing problems, although it will not return to the pre-crisis level of relations that existed between Dushanbe and Tehran until 2015. I think that other high-level regional actors, such as Russia and China, are also interested in improving relations between Dushanbe and Tehran, since the Tajik-Iranian conflict creates unnecessary tension in both the SCO and in bilateral relations between Russia and Iran, between China and Iran. The current rapprochement, a return to a constructive level of relations is of a political nature, especially in the conditions of a new round of tensions. It is important for Iran to settle any tension in the regional environment to focus on solving more important tasks. In addition, Tehran is not indifferent to Saudi Arabia's growing influence on Tajikistan," Knyazev said.
The expert regards the rapprochement of Tajikistan and Iran as Tehran's attempt to regain its presence in this Central Asian country and counteract the influence of the Saudis. "Tajikistan has rather a more pragmatic goal of diversifying its external financial dependencies. Dushanbe’s total dependence on China and its unsuccessful attempts to expand the list of creditors are known. Iran is not a global investor, such as China, but the experience of the previous decade shows that Tehran is capable of implementing quite capacious projects in Tajikistan, moreover in the real economy sector. However, it is necessary to take a detached view of this convergence. Dushanbe will take into account not only the reaction of Saudi Arabia,Russia or China, but also of the United States. I suppose that later it might be possible to say whether the process has begun," Alexander Knyazev concluded.