The 17th EU-Central Asia Ministerial meeting that took place in Dushanbe yesterday resulted in adoption of a joint communique.

The participants, in particular, reaffirmed their joint commitment to forge a strong, ambitious and forward-looking partnership, as well as the importance of progressing on the rule of law, democracy, governance, gender equality and universal human rights” in a region where governments are often criticized by human rights groups for their repressive policies.

The EU welcomed the third consultative summit of Central Asian leaders held on August 5-6, 2021 in Awaza (Turkmenistan) and commended initiatives aimed at promoting closer regional cooperation in Central Asia, including in areas such as trade facilitation, people-to-people contacts and water and energy cooperation, all of which the EU concretely supports through its regional cooperation programs.

The participants stressed the need to intensify cooperation on sustainable connectivity between the EU and Central Asia in the areas of trade, transport, energy, digital and people-to-people contacts.

The participants vowed to intensify cooperation between the EU and Central Asia in areas such as the fight against terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, and migrant smuggling.

They also “expressed shared concern about the regional repercussions of developments in Afghanistan, “stressed the importance of preventing the Afghan territory from being used as a base for hosting, financing or exporting terrorism to other countries,” and called for the establishment of an “inclusive and representative” government in Kabul.