From 29 to 30 March, the first joint Franco-German Ambassadors Conference on Central Asia took place in the Kazakh capital of Astana. The conference focused on the European Union’s Strategy for Central Asia.
German and French ambassadors from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, as well as Russia, China and Afghanistan met in Astana on 29 and 30 March. It was the first ever Franco-German Ambassadors Conference of this kind, and it also exemplified the close coordination between Germany and France in many matters of international cooperation. Due to the ongoing nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius were unable to attend the conference as planned.
The focus of the two-day conference was the European Union’s Strategy for Central Asia; in 2007, during Frank‑Walter Steinmeier’s first term in office, Germany, in its capacity as Presidency of the EU Council, substantially contributed to the development of this strategy.
Franco-German impetus for the Central Asia Strategy
The EU Strategy for Central Asia is currently undergoing a comprehensive review. At the Ambassadors Conference, joint Franco-German measures were initiated to advance the strategy; those measures are to be included in the review process under the auspices of the Latvian EU Presidency.
Furthermore, Germany and France are advocating that greater consideration be given to the interaction with the “neighbours of the European Union’s neighbours”, above all Russia and China. Future European Union Special Representative for Central Asia Peter Burian, as well as the Latvian EU Council Presidency, also took part in the Ambassadors Conference.