UNRCCA CONVENED ONLINE MEETING OF DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTERS OF CENTRAL ASIA AND AFGHANISTAN
On 11 June 2020, the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) convened an online meeting of Deputy Foreign Ministers of Central Asian states and Afghanistan. The meeting served as a platform for the countries in the region to share their analysis and vision regarding regional challenges in the context of COVID-19 and ways to address them.
The Deputy Foreign Ministers of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan, as part of the C5+1+UN format, took part in the meeting. The EU Special Representative for Central Asia and the Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre were invited as guest speakers. The Assistant Secretary-General, Miroslav Jenča also contributed to the discussion.
The online event was chaired by SRSG Natalia Gherman who in her opening statement underlined that “the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we are now confronting shared threats more than ever before. The United Nations is striving to support each country and each region in its battle against the pandemic in any way possible” and “regional cooperation on emergency preparedness can save lives and help ensure regional peace and security.”
Participants underlined increased cooperation and trust in the region during the current crisis. As examples, they mentioned continuous supply of strategically important goods, such as medicine and food, uninterrupted deliveries of electricity and oil products, as well as humanitarian assistance within the region and beyond. Existing crisis response mechanisms have helped. However, the current situation has shown that they need to be further enhanced and there is also a necessity to develop new ones to address increased complexities. Participants decided to further develop agreed proposals with the assistance of UNRCCA.