Astana hosts little-publicised Central Asia summit

Only a couple of years ago, a summit of the five Central Asia countries would have been absolutely unthinkable. But the leaders came together on Thursday (15 March) and decided to hold such meetings annually, always at the same time of the year, which is a major holiday in the region.

The leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan met in the Kazakh capital Astana, much to the surprise of the international community. The short notice resulted in the absence of foreign journalists. Only two journalists from Western media were present, including EURACTIV.

The idea for holding such a summit has been floated for some time, but the date remained unconfirmed until the last moment.

The Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev hosted the summit in his presidential palace. The guests were Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoev, Emomali Rahmon from Tajikistan, Sooronbai Jeenbekov of Kyrgyzstan, and the parliament speaker of Turkmenistan, Akja Nurberdyeva.

The president of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, did not attend because of a previously planned official visit to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

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