On 30 June 2021, the foreign ministers of the Great Britain and Germany signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation on foreign and security policy cooperation.
The document, which became the first bilateral agreement of this kind between the UK and Germany, came on the eve of Chancellor Merkel’s visit to the Kingdom.
The introduction and first part of the Declaration quite obviously show that the Great Britain (by the way, having left the EU) has sought to stand united with the Union in the global political arena on vital issues of security and leadership.
They embrace “support for multilateralism and a rules-based international order”, “commitment to Euro-Atlantic security”, “promotion of a secure world, respect for democracy, the rule of law, global education and human rights, including gender equality, media freedom, freedom of religion and belief”.
The agreement also indicates the desire of London and Berlin for shared approaches in regional policy across the most geopolitically significant parts of the Old and New World. And Central Asia is one of them. The corresponding passage from the text of the Declaration, given below, describes the European values Germany and the United Kingdom intend to advance in relations with the Central Asian five and the preferable areas to encourage them:
“24. Central Asia: We will work together to support the governments of Central Asia to become more open to reform and increasingly aligned with the rules-based international system, recognising the potential of Central Asia to act as a bridge between Europe and Asia. We commit to working with the Central Asia region as a whole, as well as with individual countries, to become more resilient to external threats, inter alia through good governance and the development of globally integrated economies, which attract international investment in order to offer stability and opportunities to citizens, including women, minorities and the younger generation. Through cooperation and dialogue, we will champion values including democratisation and human rights – promoting an active Civil Society and developing a diverse and vibrant media. On climate change we will continue to encourage governments to make and deliver ambitious commitments on the use of clean energy, protection of environment and sustainable use of resources respecting the long-term needs of both citizens and regional partners while recognising the close link between climate change and security.”
The text of the UK-Germany Joint Declaration is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-germany-joint-declaration-june-2021/uk-germany-joint-declaration-june-2021
At first glance, the declared visions of the German-British duo in regard to Central Asia correlate with the context of the 2019 EU regional strategy.
Nevertheless, the paradigm of international relations is changing, resembling tectonic plates shifts. Central Asia is a neighbor trying to help the eternally “bleeding” Afghanistan, a region engaged in security and economic arrangements with Russia, a strategic Eurasian segment in the global Chinese Belt and Road initiative. And, the value of the region is growing in each of these roles.
Indeed, it is important to seize opportunities for partnering with Central Asia. And of course, it is especially relevant that the partnership should be accompanied with the promotion of equal dialogue, the commitment to mutual respect, and the support for the self-identified path to national development. /// nCa, 2 July 2021