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Top Foreign Ministry Official: Central Asia a Key Region for Estonia

Estonia has a shared experience with the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, despite their distance from each other and differing geopolitical environments, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Genral Jonatan Vseviov says.

Vseviov said: “My meetings with my colleagues in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reaffirmed that we are firmly standing up for a world based on the UN Charter and the principle of territorial integrity.

“At the same time, the shared history of our countries helps us understand and respect each other’s positions, even if we do not act the same way on the international arena,” the secretary general continued, via a foreign ministry press release.

“Estonia considers it important to maintain and increase legitimate trade with the countries of Central Asia but we must do our best to make sure that trade is not used as a cover for circumventing the sanctions imposed on Russia and for helping the aggressor,” Vseviov added.

Secretary General Vseviov made his remarks in the context of a working trip to the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which he was on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

The visits’ itineraries included in-depth discussions on cooperation in international organizations such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN.

In Kazakhstan bilateral relations and new cooperation opportunities, including in education, IT and logistics were on the table.

Talks also covered the sanctions imposed on Russia and their impact on bilateral trade, and agreement was found that improving information exchange between the customs agencies of Estonia and Kazakhstan would help to achieve this end.

Vseviov’s meetings in Uzbekistan covered the bilateral cooperation of Estonia and Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan’s relations with the European Union, and the situation in Afghanistan.

“It is in the strategic interests of both Estonia  and the European Union that Uzbekistan is able to expand its trade routes and diversify its partnerships with European countries,” the secretary general said of this.

The agenda also included the upcoming Global Gateway investment forum of the EU with Central Asian countries, which focuses on developing connections in the region and in which Estonian companies have taken an interest.

In Kazakhstan, Vseviov met with Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko, and in Uzbekistan, with Deputy Foreign Minister Bakhromjon Aloev, among other leaders.

Source: ERR News