AKIPRESS.COM – The U.S. Department of State published the new strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025 as announced by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his recent visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
Since the previous United States Strategy for Central Asia was approved in 2015, new leaders in the region have created new openings for reform-oriented development, intraregional connectivity and cooperation, and greater U.S. engagement, according to the document.
The new Central Asia Strategy assumes some constants from the previous strategy about key developments in the region: domestic and cross-border terrorism will remain a primary security concern, and Central Asian states will continue to face threats to stability, such as from radical extremism, illicit drugs, and misinformation.
The strategy has the following six objectives:
1. Support and strengthen the sovereignty and independence of the Central Asian States, individually and as a region. With consistent U.S. engagement on economic, energy, security, democracy, and governance issues, the Central Asian states will function as a region of cooperative partners, increasing their ability to maintain individual sovereignty and make clear choices to achieve and preserve economic independence.
The United States will support efforts to bridge differences that have divided the region. The American University of Central Asia in Bishkek is a growing hub for the region’s greatest young minds to earn U.S. degrees, gain in-demand business skills, and create life-long regional affiliations.
2. Reduce terrorist threats in Central Asia. Central Asian societies will develop resilience to extremist ideology and not become safe havens for terrorist organizations.
3. Expand and maintain support for stability in Afghanistan. The Central Asian nations will become stable, secure, and engaged partners of the United States and continue support for international efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.
The United States will encourage the Central Asian states to develop economic and trade links with Afghanistan and to model stable governance of multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority countries.
4. Encourage connectivity between Central Asia and Afghanistan. The Central Asian states will develop closer ties with Afghanistan across energy, economic, cultural, trade, and security lines that directly contribute to regional stability.
5. Promote rule of law reform and respect for human rights. The Central Asian states will be increasing their stability by providing for meaningful citizen input, inclusive political systems through elections, transparent policy formulation, rule of law, and respect for human rights.
6. Promote United States investment in and development of Central Asia. The enabling environment for business in Central Asia will be transparent, open, fair, attractive to U.S. businesses, and supportive of broader development goals.
The United States is working with each Central Asian country to undertake the reforms needed to attract more foreign investment, including from American businesses. Through primary, secondary, and tertiary education reform, the United States is working to equip the next generation with the in-demand technical, managerial, English language, and critical thinking skills needed to support 21st century economies that attract international investment and produce local entrepreneurs, the strategy says.