Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine has only further underscored the importance of the countries of Central Asia, which are geographically located between Europe, China and Russia, important partners in supplying energy, and allies in protecting the rules that are meant to ensure our peaceful coexistence worldwide. Germany and Europe want to remain reliable partners at the side of the countries of Central Asia, through fair and friendly partnership, with no hidden agenda.
Last year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. Our ties have consistently grown closer – whether they be cultural, economic or the many connections that exist between our citizens. We have thereby built a strong foundation based on which we can work together to promote peace, freedom and prosperity in our countries. A vibrant civil society and an independent cultural and media landscape are particularly important in this regard. Human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles form the backbone of a stable society and are prerequisites for economic investment.
I see it as my future task to further amplify and make heard the many and diverse voices of the people in Central Asia. For this, during my trip to Almaty this week, I will meet with numerous representatives of civil society at an OSCE conference. My top priority will be to listen to what they have to say – what are their biggest challenges, for example with regard to human rights? What should we take a closer look at? And, above all, what expectations do they have of Germany? At the same time, we must also make sure that we take the diversity of these societies into account. This includes their multifaceted history, culture and political developments.
Within the Federal Government, in the German Bundestag, and especially in German society, it is my job to promote a better understanding of Central Asian countries. That is why I am especially pleased that we are helping the OSCE host this conference in Almaty, with its focus on civil society issues. In this way, we are creating an opportunity for deeper exchange between our countries.
After the conference, I will travel on to Tajikistan, where I hope to gain a first-hand impression of our cooperation in the areas of business and education. Tajikistan’s population is young – and it has great potential. I believe it is important for me to use this trip to address the current state of civil society and the worrying human rights situation.
Robin Wagener, Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with the Southern Caucasus, the Republic of Moldova and Central Asia, is today (28 August) travelling to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he will attend an OSCE conference together with Central Asian civil society representatives. During this stop, he will also conduct an exchange with representatives from the business community and of the German-Kazakh University.
Afterwards, he will travel on to Tajikistan, where he is scheduled to hold talks in the Foreign Ministry and with various project executing agencies.