Trip abroad: Central Asia: Baerbock wants to set an example for EU rapprochement

With her trip to Central Asia, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to send a signal of the region's rapprochement with Europe in view of the war in Ukraine.

Trip abroad: Central Asia: Baerbock wants to set an example for EU rapprochement

With her trip to Central Asia, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to send a signal of the region's rapprochement with Europe in view of the war in Ukraine.

"The states of Central Asia always hoped to be a bridge between Russia, China and Europe. Now they find themselves caught between all stools, afraid of becoming available," said the Green politician on Sunday before she left for a three-day trip Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. "It's important to me that the future doesn't only hold for them the choice between the tight straitjacket in the forecourt of Russia and dependence on China."

In Astana, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, Baerbock wants to meet her counterpart Muchtar Tleuberdi on Monday. Discussions with representatives of civil society were also planned. The onward journey to the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, is already scheduled for Monday evening.

Baerbock: We remain connected to Central Asia

Her trip was "a sign that Germany is not turning away, on the contrary: we remain connected to Central Asia," said Baerbock. Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine posed the question to the successor states of the Soviet Union as to whether their statehood could also be put at risk. "From Moscow's point of view, belonging to the 'Russian world' is not an offer of friendship, but a hidden threat at least since February 24." It is all the more important that Europe shows its face "for the self-determination of every country, for the principles of the UN Charter and the OSCE, for partnership among equals".

The potential for cooperation is great, said Baerbock. For example, Uzbekistan, with more than 35 million inhabitants, had economic growth of 7.4 percent in 2021. Kazakhstan, with around 19 million inhabitants, has enormous expansion opportunities for the hydrogen economy and has had close economic ties with Germany for decades. Kazakhstan accounted for 85 percent of German trade with the countries of Central Asia. Baerbock will be accompanied by a business delegation with a focus on the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Baerbock: Better connect Central Asia with Europe

"In order to take advantage of the opportunities, we must finally make progress in linking Central Asia better with Europe," Baerbock demanded. "Germany and Europe are making honest and fair offers that do not create new dependencies or rely on financial gags" - China in particular is often accused of this in international engagements. She emphasized: "For me, partnership on an equal footing means making it clear again and again: Economic development and human rights are two sides of the same coin."

Federal Foreign Office on bilateral relations with Kazakhstan Federal Foreign Office on bilateral relations with Uzbekistan GTAI on Kazakhstan GTAI on Uzbekistan Federal Foreign Office on the EU Global Gateway Initiative, among other things

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