“It would be highly advantageous for the Central Asian countries to establish our region as a unified geo-economic space, facilitating diverse forms of successful economic cooperation and interaction,” President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov said on 2 June, speaking at the Second high-level regional meeting with the participation of the heads of Central Asian states and the President of the European Council in Cholpon- Ata.
At the same time, according to Sadyr Zhaparov, the development of regional transit, transport, and logistics potential is the driving force behind the growth of economies in Central Asia. He stressed that the construction project of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway is of particular importance for the region.
“The successful implementation of this mega-project will liberate our region from transportation constraints, connecting approximately 4 billion people and expanding transportation routes from Asia through Turkey to Europe, the Middle East, Iran, the Persian Gulf, and North Africa. Considering global trends, it is crucial for our region to become a geopolitical intermediary, facilitating favorable interaction among influential centers worldwide. The cooperation between Central Asia and the European Union possesses substantial potential in achieving our shared objectives of peace, stability, development, and prosperity. The European Union’s Strategy for Central Asia, along with the EU’s Global Gateway initiative, can serve as a foundation for further expanding multifaceted interregional cooperation,” Zhaparov stressed.
Speaking about initiatives to promote connectivity in Central Asia, the President of Kyrgyzstan made a proposal to create a permanent platform for EU-CA interaction at the level of the heads of transport structures.
According to Zhaparov, despite the current challenging geopolitical landscape and the emergence of new obstacles, the economy of Central Asia has demonstrated remarkable stability and continued growth. Thus, according to the updated forecasts of the EBRD, it is expected that the region’s economy will grow by 4.8% this year. At the same time, the average annual economic growth rate of the Central Asian countries over the past 20 years was 6.2%. Mutual trade of the countries of the region is advancing at a faster pace compared their foreign trade.
Referring to trade cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the EU, President Sadyr Zhaparov noted that over the past year, Kyrgyzstan’s trade turnover with the EU countries increased by 76.1% and amounted to $ 603.1 million, including exports increased by 60.6%, totaling $ 75.8 million, and imports by 78.6%, amounting to $ 527.3 million.
In his speech, the President of Kyrgyzstan also touched upon the issues of water and energy issues.
The Kyrgyz Republic is located at the headwaters of the rivers of the Central Asian region, and the total hydropower potential of the country is 142.5 billion kWh. At the same time, only 13% of the total potential has been mastered to date. Due to renewable hydro resources, large hydroelectric power plants in Kyrgyzstan generate over 90% of “green” electric energy.
“Today, the construction of dozens of small hydroelectric power plants has already been launched in the country. An agreement was also reached on the construction of the Kambarata HPP-1 with a capacity of 1,860 MW jointly with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The implementation of this major energy project will contribute to ensuring energy stability in all three countries”, the Kyrgyz leader said.
In this regard, Zhaparov invited all investors and partners to investment cooperation for the implementation of projects for the construction of renewable energy facilities and other “green” projects. According to him, large companies from Austria, France, Hungary, Russia and other countries are showing interest in energy projects. Also we need new water saving technologies, innovative approaches and qualified specialists, who could be trained in Europe, he said.
Taking into account the urgency of environmental problems of the entire region, the President of Kyrgyzstan stressed that in order to solve them, it is necessary to take consolidated measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and expressed hope that the European Union, as one of the main development partners of the Kyrgyz Republic, will support the efforts of the Kyrgyz side.
Touching upon the issues of Afghan issues, the President of Kyrgyzstan supported regular meetings in the Central Asia–European Union format within the framework of the High-level Dialogue on Politics and Security, as well as meetings of CA-EU special representatives on Afghanistan.
He expressed hope that the authorities in Kabul will be able to come to a consensus with the international community on a number of issues on the regional and international agenda so that this country can integrate into the system of full-fledged regional economic cooperation.
Meanwhile, sharing the concern of the world community on the issue of women’s rights to education and work in Afghanistan, Zhaparov called for addressing this issue through own example, persuasion, and constructive dialogue with the new Afghan authorities, avoiding excessive pressure.
At the same time, touching upon international security issues, Sadyr Zhaparov mentioned the situation in Ukraine. The Kyrgyz side is convinced that any conflict should be resolved at the negotiating table.
“We welcome the mediation efforts and peace initiatives that contribute to the search for a mutually acceptable solution to end this war. Kyrgyzstan strictly adheres to the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of States and stands for compliance with universally recognized principles and norms of international law. Today we see profound changes taking place in the global architecture of international relations and security. Our concern is caused by a new arms race and the emergence of hotbeds of tension in various parts of the world. In these circumstances, for the sake of the future of new generations, we consider it important to work together to strengthen global and regional security, taking into account the interests of each country,” the head of Kyrgyzstan stressed. ///nCa, 3 June 2023
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