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Central Asia not ready for integration

07 november 2013, 16:25
0
Photo a courtesy of focus.kg
Photo a courtesy of focus.kg
Central Asian countries are not ready for integration. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerlan Idrisov believes that it is premature to call the processes in Central Asia an integration and thinks that cooperation is a more appropriate term to describe them, Tengrinews reports.

“It is still too early to talk about integration, maybe, we should use the term “cooperation” and create conditions for economic convergence to foster the trade growth, to positively influence each other in terms of economic reforms and creation of relevant institutions,” said Mr. Idrisov addressing the Academy of Public Administration in Astana.

“Inter-regional trade, transportation and private sector cooperation of our countries hasn't reached the desirable level. That is why the goal is to create conditions for a breakthrough in our economic relations. There hasn't been such a breakthrough yet. Central Asian countries are economically cooperating and trading with non-Central Asian countries,” said Mr. Idrisov.

According to Mr. Idrisov, this situation has to change. The economy is a base for successful, reliable and predictable political relations, he said.

“As for our Central Asian brothers, we share historical roots and we are connect through the common culture and languages. Central Asian countries, except Tajikistan, belong to the same Turkic language group and this creates a great potential for economic cooperation,” said the Kazakhstan Minister.

Tajikistan too commented on the integration of the CA region. Its political analyst, Parviz Mullozhanov, said that international organizations impose the integration on CA countries as a requirement of a sort. He was quite skeptical about the integration process in the region and suggested that seeking cooperation with Iran could be more beneficial for Tajikistan.

At The New Geopolitics of Peacemaking Operations: A Dialogue with Emerging Powers; A Central Asian Regional Dialog meeting earlier this week Mr. Mullozhanov said that he doesn't see any need for Tajikistan to limit its interaction to Central Asian countries only: “Central Asia is not 5 republics only, there may be more countries in. Why should or rather on what bases, should we get integrated with other CA countries? It is basically a Soviet-era definition, but we have our own national interests.”

“We are pushed into a box and told that we have to become integrated, and all the nternational organizations starting from the UN and OSCE are saying: do it, do it, do it. Pardon us, but we might have different interests, and, respectively, the peacekeeping operation can be conducted in a difference way and with totally difference partners,” he noted with a certain degree of discomfort.

"There is a chance that we will gain more from adding the southern direction to our integration and getting integrated with Iran in future, when, as a possibility, their regime will change and become anti-Western, maybe then we will benefit from integrating with Iran," the political scientists revealed.

Furthermore, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Kazakhstan, Marat Shaikhutdinov, noted earlier this week that some of the international organizations were concerned with the integration processes amid the Central Asian countries even more than these countries were themselves.


By Renat Tashkinbayev

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