On 2 June 2023, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic Sadyr Zhaparov, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov (represented by Turkmenistan's Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers Nurmuhammet Amannepesov) and President of the European Council Charles Michel welcomed the second regional high-level meeting in Cholpon-Ata.
During an open and constructive meeting, the participants reviewed the multilateral and mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and Central Asian states since last year's inaugural meeting in Astana, and discussed the EU – Central Asia relations in the context of international developments. They reaffirmed their commitment to continue the high-level dialogue at the level of the Heads of State and the EU and to the development of the EU- Central Asia partnership in line with the priority areas identified between the Parties with the shared goal of a prosperous and secure Central Asia.
The Leaders welcomed the contribution of the existing and new high-level platforms in support of further institutionalisation of the relationship between the Central Asian countries and the EU. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the positive outcomes of the latest EU – Central Asia dialogues and platforms, in particular the 2nd EU – Central Asia Economic Forum held in Almaty on 18-19 May 2023, the Civil Society Forum in Tashkent on 10 March 2023, the EU-Central Asia High-Level Conference on Environment and Water Resources in Rome on 23-24 February 2023, the EU – Central Asia Connectivity Conference and the EU- Central Asia Ministerial Meeting held in Samarkand on 18-19 November 2022. The participants expressed their intention to adopt the EU – Central Asia Roadmap at the next Ministerial Meeting. They confirmed their readiness to continue the ambitious engagement in a way of mutual respect and mutual support.
The Leaders expressed continued commitment to uphold the UN Charter, particularly the principles of respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity of all countries, non-use of force or threat of its use and peaceful settlement of international disputes.
The Participants articulated common concern over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and re-affirmed their commitment to see Afghanistan develop into a secure, peaceful, stable, prosperous country. In this regard, they recognised the efforts of the international community to assist the people of Afghanistan in a principled manner and in accordance with international law and universally recognized norms and principles, despite difficult circumstances. Participants called on the international community to step up humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and noted the key role of the UN in providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in a principled manner. They underlined the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government and the importance of promotion of and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghan citizens, in particular women, girls and ethnic groups. In this respect, they noted the importance of the EU – Central Asia dialogue on Afghanistan, including the outcomes of the fourth meeting of the EU and Central Asia Special Representatives and Special Envoys for Afghanistan held on 25-26 May in Ashgabat.
They emphasized the inadmissibility of public appeals and incitement to terrorism and extremism and advocated the intensification of efforts to combat the spread of terrorism ideology and propaganda through the Internet. In this regard, the Leaders called for consistent implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions on countering the spread of terrorist, separatist and extremist ideologies, including on the Internet.
The Leaders noted the need to strengthen cooperation between Central Asia and the EU on the old, new and emerging challenges as outlined in the EU Strategy on Central Asia and in accordance with universal principles.
The Leaders tasked their Foreign Ministers and EU’s HRVP Borrell to formalise and advance the implementation of the Joint Road Map for Deepening Ties between the EU and Central Asia.
They re-iterated the joint commitment to work towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, and in this respect, stressed the importance of further cooperation to strengthen the rule of law, democracy, good governance, gender equality and universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, as outlined in the framework of the EU Strategy on Central Asia of 2019.
The Leaders agreed that diversification efforts and closer sustainable connectivity goals in line with the Global Gateway strategy remain to be of an utmost importance. In this context, the Participants welcomed the positive outcomes of the EU-Central Asia Connectivity Conference held in Samarkand which expressed Central Asia’s and the EU’s interest and readiness to intensify cooperation both within the Central Asian region and between Europe and Central Asia in strengthening energy security and developing alternative energy supply routes, enhancing sustainable and secure digitalisation and digital sovereignty, improving transport connections, and transitioning to a green, sustainable, climate- and ecologically- friendly economy and e-commerce. In this respect, they welcomed the new Team Europe Initiatives on water, energy and climate change and on digital connectivity with the participation of the private sector and European Financial Institutions and looked forward to their swift implementation. The Leaders welcomed the EU study on sustainable connectivity in Central Asia and looked forward to the publication of the final report. The President of the European Council also commended the considerations on the green transition, environmental protection and climate change in Central Asia as discussed at the last Consultative Meeting of Central Asian Heads of State in Cholpon-Ata.
The Leaders stressed the importance of further expansion of mutual trade and investment mechanisms to advance socio-economic development of all parties. They also stressed the importance of close dialogue in the context of the EU’s sanctions regimes.
The Participants re-iterated their interest in strengthening joint actions to fully and effectively implement the Paris commitments of the parties. They welcomed the outcomes of the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York, co-chaired by Tajikistan and the Netherlands and reconfirmed their will to work together on the Water Action Agenda. Noting that water is one of the most important assets for the peace and well-being of the peoples of Central Asia, they recognised that the interests of the countries and peoples of the region need to be taken into account to find a common solution to its sustainable use.
The Leaders confirmed the need to continue high-level dialogue and interregional cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries for the implementation of an innovative, mutually beneficial and open water-energy cooperation in Central Asia in the areas of rational use and protection of water resources, adaptation to climate change, as well as conservation of the environment and biodiversity in Central Asia, and called for reinforcing and to strengthen practical measures for regional cooperation. In this context, the President of the European Council confirmed the EU's readiness to share its positive experience in these areas.
The Participants noted the negative impact of the Aral Sea disaster on regional security and advocated the need to intensify joint efforts to find the most acceptable solutions to overcome the problem.
They re-iterated the importance to work together to expand connections between people, especially youth, in Europe and Central Asia, including through higher education, culture, and tourism. The Leaders encouraged the Foreign Ministers to further develop these initiatives in the Road Map for Deepening Ties between the EU and Central Asia. They noted the importance of strengthening the interaction between think tanks and civil society, and discussed opportunities for a joint training for Central Asian diplomats, including in the European Union.
The President of the European Council supported the efforts of the Central Asia countries aimed at ensuring prosperity, peace, sustainable development, good-neighbourliness, trust and friendship in the region, welcomed the strengthened regional cooperation through the Consultative Meetings of the Heads of State of Central Asia and looked forward to the results of the upcoming Fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia which will take place in the Republic of Tajikistan.
The President of the European Council welcomed the on-going efforts for socio-economic and democratic reforms in the region as well as the positive outcomes of regional cooperation as important building blocks for the EU – Central Asia cooperation. On the occasion of the 30 year anniversary of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), he congratulated the IFAS for the important work done to improve ecological situation in the areas affected by the Aral Sea catastrophe and address the socioeconomic issues in the region.
The Participants expressed their deep gratitude to Kyrgyzstan for hosting the second meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the EU.
The Leaders agreed to meet on a regular basis, aiming to hold their next meeting as a first Summit next year. The Uzbek side has proposed to host the meeting in Uzbekistan.