Tajik President Emomali Rahmon is attending the third Consultative Meeting of Leaders of Central Asian Nations that is taking place in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat today.

The five Central Asian presidents are gathering for their third consultative meeting that is being held at the Awaza resort on the Caspian Sea. 

Central Asian leaders will discuss issues related to ensuring stable and sustainable development in the region, facilitating trade and cooperation in the energy and transportation sectors as well as consolidating affects in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, a source within the Tajik Government told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

According to him, a special attention will be given to the issues of providing regional security in connection with the aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan

The summit is expected to result in adoption of a Joint Statement, the source added. 

The idea that the Central Asian nations should have a mechanism to meet together without an external power managing the affair is not new.  Then-Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev reiterated calls for the integration of Central Asian countries as a way to jointly ensure the security and prosperity of the region on November 13, 2017, while answering questions at the 3rd session of the Astana Club, a Kazakhstani government-backed international forum aimed at discussing Eurasian issues.  He pointed to recent developments in Kazakhstan's relationship with Uzbekistan as an example of moving towards better regional integration.

Kazakhstan proposed hosting a Central Asian leaders' summit in Astana in October 2017.

In November 2017, during a regional security conference in Samarkand, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed holding regular regional summits among the five countries.

The first Central Asian leaders’ consultative summit took place in the Kazakh capital in March 2018.  Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov skipped the summit, instead making a state visit to Kuwait, followed by a visit to the United Arab Emirates. But then-Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev hosted the other three: Mirziyoyev, then-Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.  It was decided that a second meeting would be scheduled for March 2019 in Tashkent.

In November 2019, the Central Asian leaders held their second meeting, this time in Tashkent and immediately after a CSTO summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.  This time, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who had come into power earlier that year following Nazarbayev’s resignation, had attended the CSTO summit in Bishkek but then returned to Kazakhstan.  Instead, Nursultan Nazarbayev, forever holding the title of Kazakhstan’s first president, attended the Tashkent meeting.  Jeenbekov and Rahmon attended, as did Berdimuhamedov.

The third summit was rumored originally for the spring of 2020 in Bishkek, and then scheduled for October 2020.  But in early October, Kyrgyzstan became consumed by domestic political troubles and the coronavirus pandemic continued to rage around the world.  In late October of last year, the third meeting was officially postponed to 2021 on account of the coronavirus pandemic.