The C5+1 Summit Will Discuss a Range of Cooperation Issues, Says US Official

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The President of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon will take part in a summit of the United States and Central Asian five presidents, known as C5+1 presidential summit, which is being held in  New York this week, on September 19 or 20.      This will be the first-ever C5+1 presidential summit.

Speaking at a press briefing in Washington, the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, said on September 15 that on Tuesday (September 15), US President Biden will deliver his annual address to the UN General Assembly.

He noted that in that speech, President Biden will lay out for the world the steps that he and his administration have taken to advance a vision of American leadership that is built on the premise of working with others to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

“We put a lot of points on the board and the President will talk about how those steps — how all of those steps he’s taken so far ladder up to a larger vision,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“In addition to speaking before the General Assembly, the President will also meet with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and they will cover both immediate hotspots and the longer-term trends,” said US national security adviser.  “The President will also meet with the presidents of five Central Asian nations: Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.  This will be the first-ever C5+1 presidential summit.”

“The C5+1 actually began in 2015.  It has been strengthened in the years since.  And now we will see it come together at the leaders’ level for the first time,” Mr. Sullivan said, noting that this inaugural presidential summit will allow for the leaders to discuss a range of issues, from regional security, to trade and connectivity, to climate change, and ongoing reforms to improve governance and the rule of law.

Asked whether there are specific asks or deliverables that the administration is seeking from this bloc and should that be viewed as a signal to China, Mr. Sullivan said that the summit is not against any country.  “It is for a positive agenda that we want to work through with these countries.  And so, on your question of deliverables, we do expect to have a joint statement at the end of it that will lay out, in key areas, concrete things that we intend to work on and do together, and the United States will bring to the table some resources to be able to do that effectively,” he added.

Some experts note that news of the C5+1 summit at the level of heads of state appeared against the background of ongoing Russian military aggression against Ukraine and reports about  the supply by Kazakh and Kyrgyz of sanctioned dual-use technology to the Russian Federation.  

Russian experts are eager to generate traction, however, for the idea that one or more leaders may fail to turn up out of reluctance to be strong-armed by Washington on the question of more stringently complying with sanctions leveled by the West against Moscow in response to the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.

RIA Novosti quoted Andrey Grozin, the head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan Department at the CIS Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as saying that US President Joe Biden will reproach the Central Asian leaders for collaboration with the Russian Federation. 

The C5+1 diplomatic platform represents the U.S. government’s whole of government approach to Central Asia, jointly engaging all five Central Asian governments (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).  It is a diplomatic summit that has been held every year since 2015 between the foreign ministers of the five Central Asian countries and the United States.  

The first C5+1 ministerial meeting took place in Samarqand (Uzbekistan) in November 2015.  The six foreign ministers agreed to focus on three sectors of common interest – security, economics, and environmental challenges.

Since the inception of the C5+1 dialogue, the Central Asian countries have reportedly been increasingly interested in regional approaches and view the C5+1 as a catalyst for common action.

In 2022, the C5+1 launched a Secretariat to facilitate the processes for identifying and advancing shared priorities, coordinating communications between participating governments, and planning high-level ministerials and other engagements.

Source: Asia Plus