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On October 15, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov took part in the third ministerial meeting “Russia-Central Asia” with the participation of 2 meetings with the heads of foreign affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan in the format of a video conference.

The ministers discussed topical issues of interaction in the context of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, considered the taken and possible joint measures aimed at increasing the resilience of our countries to such challenges. The Russian side provided detailed information on the current and planned assistance to partners in the prevention and control of the new coronavirus infection. Sergey Lavrov expressed gratitude for the reciprocal support.

The problems of regional stability and security are considered. Common approaches were reaffirmed with regard to threats posed by international terrorist organizations, illegal drug trafficking, and foreign terrorist fighters returning from war zones. The importance of exchange of experience in these areas between Russia and the countries of Central Asia was noted.

An interested discussion took place on cooperation in the economic, transit transport, energy, logistics, cultural and humanitarian spheres. The course of the integration processes in the region was discussed, the effective realization of the advantages arising from the cooperation of our countries in common integration associations was emphasized.

Russia remains one of the leading investors in Central Asian countries: accumulated assets (excluding capital investments from jurisdictions of third countries) amount to about USD 20 billion. More than 17 thousand enterprises with Russian capital operate in Central Asia. In 2019, the volume of our trade with the states of the region exceeded $ 30 billion. Russian assistance to a number of Central Asian states for the period from 2008 to 2019 exceeded $ 6.0 billion. At the end of 2019, 160 thousand citizens of the states of the region were studying at Russian universities, of which 59 thousand were funded by the Russian budget.

The heads of the foreign affairs agencies confirmed their interest in continuing, on a regular basis, a confidential exchange of views on issues of mutual interest.

Following the meeting, it was adopted joint statement on the strategic directions of cooperation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

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