Libmonster ID: KZ-1597
Author(s) of the publication: Anatoliy KASYANENKO

Anatoliy Kasyanenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Uzbekistan, to the Republic Tadjikistan and Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan (combining jobs)

* * *

Year by year Central Asia is riveting ever more attention as a part of the post-Soviet space from the point of view of development of political, security, economic, cultural and humanitarian relations. The states here have similar civilizations and make up a political and geographical entity.

The formation of independent states put this question on the agenda. The international recognition needs normal interrelations among the said countries.

Complicated making of regions replacing the FSU is determined not only by the restructuring of all relations among the former soviet republics but also by the development of their cooperation with other countries beyond the post-Soviet space.

Casting a glance at the international life we understand that determination of a region is not a mechanical undertaking. It is based on objective prerequisites and shows itself in a system of counterbalances among the states with similar priorities in domestic and foreign policy.

Even the presence of conflict fields in international relations may be a signs of belonging of the states to the system-defined regional integrity because the similarity of interests, if there are alternative ways of securing them, can logically cause a proper competition (e. g. rivalry in the matters of transit, transportation routes, water use etc.)

стр. 67


The control of terrorism and extremism is a determinant of the situation in Central Asia which attracts attention of all regional countries, including Afghanistan. The main source of tension and instability in the region is the terrorist activity of neo-Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, other extremist groups.

After the counterterrorist operation in Afghanistan resulting in the overthrow of Taliban, the military-political and security situation in the region changed for the better. The U. S. A. and their NATO allies deployed military bases in Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, and Kyrgyzstan backed by all CA countries taking part in the counterterrorist coalition. The Organization of Agreement about the collective security is stepping up its activity now. The role of the Shanghai organization of cooperation (SOC) helping to strengthen regional security becomes all the more noticeable.

On the whole, there are attempts to structure regional security on the multilateral basis with direct participation of the U. S. A., Russia and China, which creates a unique geopolitical situation. The NATO is becoming more important in the settlement of the problems of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan, where it is a key actor in the matters of lately. From August, 2003 the Alliance has been heading the ISAF, as of August, 2004 the NATO Rapid Deployment Corps is stationed here; in the past it took part in operations in Europe only, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. The plan is focused on the increase of the strength of the PRT-Provincial Reconstruction Team.

Cooperation with NATO is redoubled by all countries of Central Asia. Uzbekistan became the first Central Asian state offering individual plan of actions within the framework of the program "Partnership for peace". From its part, the NATO Command approves efforts of Uzbekistan which is developing cooperation with Alliance, and it is proved by the fact that Tashkent was invited to take part in the Istanbul Summit of NATO. For their turn, officials maintain that Tadjikistan is opened for cooperation with NATO to the extent to which the North Atlantic Alliance is ready. Kazakhstan characterizes the present level of cooperation with NATO as "Alliance + 1".

On the other side, the dislocation of NATO troops in some Central Asian countries gets ambiguous response from such states, as Russia, China, and Iran. In particular, the official representatives of Russia, which supported the counterterrorist operation in Afghanistan, are ever more restless about the NATO bases, ask about the term of their stay on the territory of the CA states (some of these countries are members of the Collective Security Treaty-former CST of the CIS).

At the same time the European Union begins to give its attention to the region. In its relations with the Central Asian countries it prioritizes cooperation in the control of illegal migration, narcotraffic, expansion of extremism and terrorism. The EU medium and long-term priorities are power sources and valuable minerals in the region.

The development of regional cooperation within the framework of SOC is also increasing; it includes such priorities as cooperation in the field of regional security and upping of the trade and economic cooperation. At the same time

стр. 68


there is a closed-world assumption among many experts that the SOC should find its niche in the system of international organizations and prove its efficiency as an instrument of regional security. At the same time other countries show their keen interest in the SOC now. For example, Pakistan expresses official intention to join the SOC; Iran, India, Israel, Mongolia also showed their interest in cooperation with this regional organization.

At the same time, in estimation of the official representatives of the SOC member-countries, the expansion of the Regional Counterterrorist Structure, the Executive Committee of which has recently began working in Tashkent, can be instrumental in the improvement of regional security.

A number of Asian countries consider the evolving Conference for the development of trust in Asia a likeness of the OSCE.

The inclination to tackle the international problems with the help of negotiations is an absolute proof of the weighed policy of the Central Asian states administrations. Among such problems there are discussion about the use of water resources, a number of territorial disputes, ethnic diasporas issues, and control of extremist forces.

In the countries of the region there remain operating cells of the radical religious-extremist organizations, such as Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Their activity after the overthrow of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan went down considerably; however, there is still ground for highly explosive situations depending on socio-economic problems.

At the same time the instability of the peaceful process in Afghanistan continues to endanger national security of the CA states. Extremely menacing is the narcothreat from Afghanistan, which fiances the terrorist detachments of the neo-Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Despite the international backing, the situation with production and trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan becomes exacerbated in the aftermath of the counterterrorist operation. 75 percent of drugs from Afghanistan are trafficked through the territory of the CA countries to the states of Eastern and Western Europe. The involvement of these countries into the drug trafficking leads to serious destabilization both inside every separate country and in the region as well.

At the same time it is necessary to pay attention to the serious steps of the Temporal Transitional Administration of Afghanistan, headed by H. Karzai, in deepening peace processes in this country. Backed by the U. S. A. and counterterrorist coalition during 2003 and the first half of 2004 the Afghan government made good progress in strengthening central administration, public institutions, expansion of their influence in the provinces, diminishment of the role of local chiefs, part of which, being in official status of the governors of provinces, created their own separatist territories.

In January 2004 the loya jirga ratified a new constitution which became a key event on the way to normalization of situation in Afghanistan. The September elections must lead to formation of the legitimate government bodies. The making of the Afghan National Army (ANA) which have already proved its military efficiency

стр. 69


in clashes with regional separatist detachments, is under way.

At the same time, as of this past March, we have the new domestic political situation in Afghanistan. If earlier it was a kind of conflict between the government and local chiefs, now the military forces of coalition, which previously fought only against the Taliban and Al Qaeda detachments, may be used to back the central government.

The hardline central government claims its readiness to use military support of coalition to bring the whole state under control, disarm local leaders and manage further development of the state.

The absolute majority of population dreams to get back to peaceful life and the said situation permits to be optimistic about the prospects of situation in Afghanistan. The probability of the new large-scale military confrontation decreases with the solution of economic problems and replacement of drugs production with the legal types of farming in Afghanistan.

At the same time the future of this country as an independent and stable state needs solution of the problem of unguarded borders with Pakistan. The issue is complicated by the fact that the border goes through the territories inhabited by Pashtun tribes both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

But, despite the difficult internal situation in Afghanistan, the government of H. Karzai backed by the counterterrorist coalition, UNO, and international organizations pursues an active foreign policy. It aims at attraction of external financial flows for tackling urgent economic and social problems, minimization of threats of terrorist activity sourced from abroad, bringing the international isolation to an end, and entering the foreign markets.

Alongside with the cooperation with the western states and Japan, which are the most important donors, the afghan foreign policy prioritizes the establishment and development of relationships with the neighboring states-Pakistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, and India. In this context they succeed in neutralization of the possible negative external factors of influence on the internal situation, attraction of the said states to the country renewal projects, promotion of trade and economic cooperation.

The Central Asian countries are bounded by the system of economic relations; therefore they should deepen regional economic relations, open new possibilities for social transformations and development of cooperation.

Consequently the regional leaders are in for the new patterns of cooperation. And there is a good example of Organization of Central Asian Cooperation (OCAC) inaugurated in February 2002 on the basis of the Central Asian Economic Cooperation.

The OCAC countries-Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan-consider this organization a good chance for economic cooperation, expansion of political, social and other relations.

The organization's daily priorities prove it. Besides summits, they organized the business-forum of the regional business representatives, meeting of parliamentarians of these countries, representatives of law enforcement authorities.

The main OCAC priorities include practical aspects of cooperation, complete implementation of their decisions.

During the meetings of the representatives of OCAC member-countries

стр. 70


serious attention is payed to the discussion of regional economic integration in a region, improvement of political, social, scientific, technical, and cultural relations.

The special attention is paid to joint creation of consortium for the use of regional water and power resources, realization of communication projects and improvement of regional food products supply.

The OCAC's activity is internationally approved, the U. S. A. included. Obviously, its importance will increase, especially in the joint development of power infrastructure demanding higher efficiency of fuel and energy complexes, which can be founded on the complementary regional resource.

The May summit of OCAC in Astan admitted Russia to the organization on the initiative of Uzbekistan, which creates new conditions of development of cooperation within the format of this structure.

This region has a unique natural potential, which opens way to the perspective international projects in the field of the use of raw mineral-material and water and power resources and communications.

The sphere of transport communications is a priority of real regional cooperation. Due to its geographical situation the Central Asian region has a considerable transport potential and can join the global communication infrastructure becoming one of main transportation bridges between Europe and Asia.

Moreover, the solution of the problems of transport communications will help to tackle the problem of the so called disenclavization of certain countries in the region. The absolute majority of them have no direct outlet to the sea; it is especially topical for Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. That is why it is Uzbekistan which tends to renew the Main Silk Road and create the transportation corridor.

The said testifies that Uzbekistan and other countries of the region need not the blind alleys but the trunk roads leading to the world transport communications.

Therefore President of Uzbekistan I. Karimov initiated the project of transport corridor with participation of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran sponsored by the Islamic Bank and Asiatic Bank of Development. It will begin in Termez (Uzbekistan) and via Afghan cities of Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat will go to Iran. The Iranian communication systems will give the possibility to go to Bandar-e 'Abbas and Chorbahor harbors. The first stage consists of construction of the Hairaton-Mazar-i-Sharif Railroad 68 km long. It will open the outlet to the seaports of the Persian Gulf and World Ocean; there is a convenient and cheap route to the Central Asian region.

This question was highlighted during the trilateral meeting of Presidents of Uzbekistan I. Karimov, M. Khatami of Iran and Kh. Karzai of Afghanistan in June, 2003 in Tehran. Leaders of Iran and Afghanistan called the Uzbekistan's initiative a historic event. The construction of the railroad and highway will make it feasible to cardinally change the trade and economic relations not only between three countries but also among the neighboring states and create a new geopolitical climate in the region.

This project is very important not only for the development of integration but also for the economy of Afghanistan. These roads will provide impetus for other sectors

стр. 71


of economy creating thousands of jobs. Even if Afghanistan will not be active in cargo transportation, it will benefit from the transit.

This project needs considerable investments. This question was given a thorough consideration at the trilateral negotiations in Tehran. The presidents said that already a number of countries and international financial organizations show interest in the project.

Presidents I. Karimov, M. Khatami and Kh. Karzai signed the agreement about the international transport routes. The corridors connecting Central Asia with the Caucasus and Europe as well as with the APR countries via the Main Silk Road will be instrumental in integration of the countries of the region, which will promote their economic growth.

These lines of cooperation become especially topical with stabilization of situation in Afghanistan and realization of the programs of international aid.

In this context it is necessary to take into account other initiatives of Uzbekistan in the field of regional cooperation in the transit and transportation spheres. In particular, it applies to the active position of Toshkent on inclusion of Iran and Afghanistan into the TRASECA Project (the EU has already approved it in principle), and initiative concerning the agreement among five countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Georgia about the most favorable transit mode.

At the same time it should be noted that it is a launch period only in the regional cooperation in CA. This same question was debated at the second ministerial conference on regional cooperation in November, 2003 in Tashkent. The successful development needs the weighed and careful approach and special attention to practical results and gradual expansion of cooperation. Such approach is not that spectacular; however, it is the most effective.

It is also necessary to account for the fact that practical regional cooperation comes across internal problems in the countries concerned.

The social problem comes first. It is a perceptible issue in Central Asia despite the availability of rich natural resources, inherited relatively developed infrastructure, and high level of literacy and professional skills.

Deeper regional cooperation demands closer integrated and joint competition on the global market. But it needs competitive transportation networks, removal of trade and transit barriers, adequate work of proper services providing for these industries.

Besides there is a topical problem of equitable sharing of water and power resources, and environmental control. It can be done if there is political will of regional leaders and proper timing.

According to experts, it is high time to tackle these and other problems which demands creation of a regional consortium in critical sectors of economy for development and realization of regional projects and also for attraction of necessary financial resources both from capital markets and donors both western and eastern.

The general overview of political, economic and security processes in Central Asia shows the evolving new contours of cooperation among the insiders and adjoining countries.

The keen interest displayed by the

стр. 72


U. S. A., China, Russia, Iran, Turkey, the EU, Persian Gulf countries, South Asia, and NATO is a sign of bright prospects of international cooperation with participation of the CA countries.

There is also a factor of membership of all Central Asian countries in the OSCE (Afghanistan has the status of a partner). Taking into account the lasting deepening of cooperation within the framework of NATO/REAP, including the "Partnership for Peace" Program, development of cooperation with the EU, one can conclude that there are positive possibilities of their joining the process of eastward expansion of European zone of stability and development of West-East transcontinental cooperation in Eurasia.

If the issues of security in Central Asia are tackled successfully, including the involvement of the main global and continental centers of influence, this region can become a stabilization factor in all Asia.

Ukraine supports the development of regional cooperation in the CA region, forming of new relationships with neighboring countries, deepening of cooperation of the Central Asian states with the European and Euroatlantic structures. Our state is interested in the progress of the noted processes which exercise positive influence on regional stability and security, which improves international economic cooperation.

We may remember that the Central Asian region has a capacious potential market attracting many countries. Moreover, the natural riches of the CA countries, their production, scientific and technical potential create good prospects for mutually beneficial trade and deepening of comprehensive cooperation.

The region of Central Asia is the enormous cultural layer of world value. Deep millennial traditions together with the newest technologies determine the future of this region in the center of Eurasia.

Considerable economic interests of Ukraine in the CA region, traditional relations of our state with all countries of the region, including Afghanistan, on the one hand, and on the other hand, their interest in the use of big potential of bilateral relations with Ukraine for solution of urgent tasks of national development is the sphere of common interests and basis for deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields of cooperation.

Main Macroeconomic Indicators of Tajikistan in 2004

as % of the corresponding period previous of the year

 

January-March

Gross domestic product

109,1

Industrial production

109,7

Agricultural production

-

Capital investments

-

Freight carried

134

Retail trade turnover

116,4

Industrial producers price index

114,8

Consumer price indices

108,1

Export to CIS countries

110,1

Export to other countries

140,1

Import from CIS countries

142,1

(import from other countries

147,4

стр. 73


Main Macroeconomic Indicators of Tajikistan in 2004

as % of the corresponding period previous of the year

 

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Gross domestic product

87,61

83,3

101,7

105,3

103,7

108,3

110,2

109,5

110,2

Industrial production

86

76

98

108

106

110

115

108

110

Agricultural production

84

91

100,2

106

103

113

111

-

-

Capital investments

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Freight carried

74

71

105

126

89

105

100,8

99,3

108

Retail trade turnover

77

94

109

109

104

79

102

118

125

Industrial producers price! index

376

355

178

130

144

144

127

109

115

Consumer price indices

543

370

172

143

126

124,01

137

110

117

Export to CIS countries

272

132

82

74

155

119

57

89

74

Export to other countries

124

88

108

83

95

110

107

125

120

Import from CIS) countries

205

80

126

93

115

109

96

102

109

Import from other countries

106

86

94

99

56

78

130

116

163

Main Macroeconomic Indicators of Tajikistan in 2004

 

As % of the prevlous month

Unemployed (end of the month, 1000)

Export, mln. US$

Import, mln. US$

Rate of somoni per 1 US$ (end of the month)

Rate of somoni per 1 Euro (end of the month)

Volume of industrial production

Capital Investments

Freight carried by railway transport

Retail trade turnover

Industrial
producers price index

Consumer price index

January

87,8

-

83,3

99,0

101,7

100.7

42.8

79,1

74,3

2,905

3,650

February;

100,5

-

98,8

99,3

102,2

100,2

43,3

76,4

86,5

2,900

3,609

March

103,8

-

119,5

107,4

99,3

100,1

42,4

78,6

102,8

2,91

3,527

April

95,6

-

94,7

103,2

103,5

100,2

42,1

82,2

134,1

2,912

3,457

May

100,1

-

117,5

98,7

96,6

100,1

-

-

-

2,92 !

3,56

1) Excludlng freight delivering by railways o the CIS countries.

стр. 74


 

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Gross domestic product

99,1

101,7

105,2

104,4

104,4

103,8

104,5

104,2

-

Industrial production

100,1:

103

104

104

106

106

108

108

-

Agricultural production

102

94

106

104

106

103

105

106

-

Capital investments

104

107

117

115

102

101

104

-

-

Freight carried

99

95

100,1

99,9

100,4

-

-

-

-

Retail trade turnover

96

122

113

114

110

108

110

102

105 2)

Industrial producers price index

934

233

154

141

138

170 1)

142

-

-

Consumer price indices

416*

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

-

Export to CIS countries

70

80

150

59

-

-

-

-

-

Export to other countries

177

194

81

90

-

-

-

-

-

Import from CIS countries

80

136

75

76

-

-

-

-

-

Import from other countries

136

196

95

74

-

-

-

-

-

1) December to December

2) January-September

* Estimate

© 2004 Interstate Statistical Committee of the CIS


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Anatoliy KASYANENKO, CENTRAL ASIA: REGION OF PROSPECTS // Astana: Digital Library of Kazakhstan (BIBLIO.KZ). Updated: 12.12.2021. URL: https://biblio.kz/m/articles/view/CENTRAL-ASIA-REGION-OF-PROSPECTS (date of access: 29.09.2022).

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