Outcomes of the year: Central Asia
In 2018, Central Asian countries focused their activities on integration. The regional leaders held their first meeting in nine years in Astana. The key discussion topics included security, expansion of regional trade and the use of water resources. During the meeting, the parties signed agreements on the Central Asian Culture Festival, the Youth Forum, student exchanges, sports training and the development of intra-regional tourism.
ZHUMABEK SARABEKOV, EXPERT, INSTITUTE OF WORLD ECONOMICS AND POLITICS:
- 2018 will be remembered due to Kazakhstan’s presidency in the UN Security Council where we put forward important initiatives for Kazakhstan and the region. By the end of the year, the first phase of the Rogun hydroelectric power plants will be launched in Tajikistan, which will benefit the entire region.
This year was generally stable for Central Asia. Experts highlight the progress made in security matters and intra-regional integration. Relations between the five countries in the region significantly improved, while the Kazakh-Uzbek relations reached a completely new level. 2018 was declared the year of Uzbekistan in Kazakhstan.
SAIDIKRAM NIYAZKHODZHAYEV, UZBEK AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN:
- As part of the celebrations, this year, we held several events which consisted of 200 small events ranging from trade and economic cooperation to the cultural and humanitarian field. As you know, we also held the Days of Uzbek Cinema. Relations between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reached a new level in terms of the strategic cooperation and opened a new page on the historical relations between our two countries.
Analysts forecast that the regional countries will continue the integration efforts in 2019. The Central Asian countries will work on implementing the long-term plans aimed at strengthening and developing relations.