Central Asia under UN umbrella
At the plenary session in late June, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "Strengthening regional and international cooperation to ensure peace, stability and sustainable development in the Central Asian region." According to Zond Novosti, the resolution was developed on the initiative of Uzbekistan jointly with the Central Asian neighboring states and unanimously supported by all UN member states.
This is the first document of this kind adopted by the UN in which the consolidated position of all five Central Asian states was recorded on the main problems of the region, starting from the issues related to the use of water, ending with the potential threats from international terrorists.
During the session, Head of the Permanent Mission of Uzbekistan to the United Nations Bakhtier Ibrahimov noted that the main goal of the document is to gain the support of the international community in the efforts of the Central Asian countries to promote closer cooperation in order to ensure peace and stability in the region.
The document pays particular attention to the joint efforts of the Central Asian states aimed at promoting the peace process and socio-economic development in Afghanistan. The Tashkent conference on Afghanistan entitled ‘Peace process, cooperation in the sphere of security and regional cooperation", which took place in March this year, is mentioned as an important step to achieve peace and reconciliation in this country.
The resolution calls on the international community, in particular, the specialized agencies, funds and programs of the UN system, to support the priority areas of regional cooperation, integration and sustainable development in Central Asia, as determined by the countries of the region themselves.
Zurab Todua, historian, political scientist, an expert on the problems of the post-Soviet space believes that the adopted resolution on Central Asia "is an extremely important step in strengthening stability in the region, creating further prerequisites for the economic cooperation and solving various problems." "This is the first document of this kind adopted by the UN in which the consolidated position of all five Central Asian states was recorded on the main problems of the region, starting from environmental problems and issues related to water use, ending with the potential threats from international terrorists. The leaders of the states of the region were able to overcome their different approaches and assessments and decided to unite their opportunities. This gives some optimism and inspires hope that the cooperation between the countries of the region, as well as between them and other powers, will continue to develop successfully, and problems and threats will be parried, "Zurab Todua told the author of the article.
The expert noted that earlier, some Central Asian countries tried to solve the problems independently, without the support and mutual understanding of the neighbors. This approach once destroyed the attempt to form the Central Asian Union, the conception of which was developed primarily by Tashkent and Astana, in order to solve the pressing problems together. "Speaking about the importance of the resolution mentioned above, it is appropriate to emphasize that its emergence became possible largely due to the constructive position of Uzbekistan, which recently demonstrates the desire to overcome various kinds of barriers in relations with neighboring countries and to impart dynamism to the country's economy," Todua said.
In a short time, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev paid the state visits to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The mutually beneficial decisions have been reached on the state border issue, transport communications, interregional cooperation and many other issues. The region becomes more important as the main inter-regional transport corridor linking the East and the West.
"Uzbekistan's main priority is a creation of the stability, security and prosperity belt. This policy has brought fruits fast enough, due to a principled approach to resolving all urgent issues. The president said that there are no issues in the region that could not be resolved on the basis of reasonable compromises and taking into account the interests of all parties. The new policy of Uzbekistan has pushed all countries of the region to solve the joint problems. In addition, Afghanistan’s stability is also a matter of our economic well-being, because this country provides a path to the south seas. According to the Boston Consulting Group, without these opportunities, our GDP loses 20% each year,’’ the SCO Secretary General, former head of the Institute of Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan, Vladimir Norov said.
Uzbekistan assumed the functions of a guarantor country to resolve the situation in Afghanistan. Previously, Tashkent cooperated with Afghanistan on a bilateral basis. Within the framework of this format, Uzbekistan has built the Hairatan-Mazar-i-Sharif railway, set up electricity supplies, has increased its exports by 30 times to 1.8 billion kWh since 2002. In 2018, the power supplies will be increased up to 2 billion kW / h due to the construction of an additional Surkhan-Pul-e-Khumri power grid.
The initiative of Uzbekistan to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and the involvement of this country in the regional economic projects was supported by the United States and the European Union. The EU is ready to develop relations with the countries of the region and promised that by 2019, a new EU strategy for Central Asia will be adopted. It will be aimed at establishing a new level of ambitions for participation in the region. The updated format of C5 + 1 was offered by the USA.
"With the adoption of the resolution on Central Asia by the UN General Assembly, a new era has begun in the history of the global political processes. The first summit of Central Asia heads of state held on March 15, 2018, in Astana, may well lay the foundation for the formation of a new interstate structure capable of competing with such colossuses as the CSTO, SCO and the Eurasian Economic Union. It is natural that Mirziyoyev initiated the adoption of such a resolution since he became the president of the new formation, not inclined to the rigid type of the regional politicians. It is very important, as far as stiffness creates socio-economic stagnation followed by a political crisis, " the researcher of the Analytical Center of the MGIMO Institute of the International Studies, Sharbatullo Sodikov said. According to the expert, there was lack of dynamics in the Central Asian region, which, after the death of Islam Karimov, is gained by the bifurcation of Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan, which has been region’s leader for many years, is taking a second place. Slowly, but confidently, Uzbekistan becomes the first one. "In general, it can be noted that the implementation of the adopted resolution will create a constructive platform that unites the leaders of the Central Asian states for a comprehensive settlement of the regional problems," the expert concluded.