A US government delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, having visited Kyrgyzstan, arrived in Uzbekistan. The tour which will last until May 27 also includes trips to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. One of the goals of the tour is to bolster US ties with the region and foster joint efforts on security. It is important for the US to prevent the republics from circumventing the sanctions against Russia while the ideal goal is to convince them to turn against Moscow.
According to Alexander Knyazev, professor at St. Petersburg State University and an expert on Central Asia and the Middle East, US delegation visits to Central Asian countries every time pursue approximately the same goals – to hold talks on the necessity of adhering to the sanctions against Russia and Belarus. “This is some sort of caution on the unacceptability of some actions by these countries on circumventing the anti-Russian sanctions. This is an attempt to understand how the relations of each country in the region will continue to develop with Russia, above all, and with Belarus. They are trying to offer something to their Central Asian partners in terms of cooperation in various spheres, above all, in the sphere of security,” the expert thinks. In his opinion, there is no goal to rearm these countries along NATO standards like in Moldova since three out of four of them are CSTO members.
“The issue of threats from Russia to these countries might be expressed but it is not pertinent and is hardly likely to be perceived too seriously at the official level as it is happening on the European track for Russia,” the expert thinks.
As for the signing of a cooperation agreement between Kyrgyzstan and the US, this won’t happen in the near future since this intention of the Kyrgyz leadership was criticized both by the Kyrgyz parliament and Moscow. However, the expert thinks that this agreement does not have any decisive significance yet may be perceived as some sort of rapprochement between Kyrgyzstan and the US.
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