"Bishkek is interested in Baku as a powerful political and economic player"
    Caliber.Az talks to Kyrgyz expert Nargiza Murataliyeva

    INTERVIEWS  01 June 2023 - 13:08

    Vadim Mansurov
    Caliber.Az

    Kyrgyzstan, due to the danger of secondary sanctions and the need to resolve issues of diversification of economic ties, found itself in a difficult situation. The country is linked to Russia through numerous logistical and trade-economic chains, some of which need to be revised by developing other alternative routes. At the end of April, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Crimes, Matthew Axelrod, Deputy for Export Controls at the Bureau of Industry and Security at the US Department of Commerce, and David Reid, head of the UK Foreign and International Development Office Sanctions Directorate, visited Kyrgyzstan, and a visit by such personalities speaks for itself. At the same time, another unique situation arises. In view of the new realities, Kyrgyzstan now as never before is able to find new vectors of cooperation with Turkic brother states that can offer new ways for diversification and escape the grip of the current reality, in which Russia is not always the desired partner.

    How is Bishkek adopting this new environment, and which ways of cooperation does it intend to pursue more? Kyrgyz expert Nargiza Murataliyeva, Ph.D. in political sciences, took these and other questions of Caliber.Az.

    - How did the recent visit to Bishkek by the "sanctions brigade" from the EU and the US affect the decisions of the country's leadership? What was Kyrgyzstan's reaction?

    - Actually, one company from Kyrgyzstan has already been put on the recent sanctions lists of the US Ministry of Trade. We are not interested in getting hit by sanctions, and our official position on the war in Ukraine is neutral. Kyrgyzstan will continue to try to maneuver between geopolitical players, as it does not want to become a party to the conflict. The National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic recently advised other banks in the country not to allow transactions with goods and persons from the EU and US sanctions lists.

    So Bishkek will try to continue on the path of promoting a multi-vector foreign policy, as well as making efforts to diversify its economic cooperation. China is undoubtedly an attractive partner here, but Western countries are also of considerable interest to Bishkek. For instance, in terms of its cooperation with the EU, Kyrgyzstan is trying to make use of its Generalised System of Preferences+ status.

    Kyrgyzstan especially needs alternative transport and logistics projects in order to diversify its foreign policy. Therefore, the authorities are pinning great hopes on the implementation of the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, which is included in the country's national development programmes. A feasibility study for the project has already been completed and a roadmap on the next steps in its implementation was signed at the last China-Central Asia summit in May. The new railway could also become part of the Middle Corridor, or the Trans-Caspian international transport route, which runs through China, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea area, and Azerbaijan and would help boost trade. It will also promote shorter routes for cargo shipments - from China via Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to the Middle East and Europe, and in the future to South Asia. It is also important that the project will provide a cumulative effect on the development of our countries economies.

    Speaking of diversification, it is important to consider the list of Kyrgyzstan's trading partners: for 2022, in addition to traditional China, Russia and Kazakhstan, the top five include Türkiye and Uzbekistan.

    - So Türkiye is one of Kyrgyzstan's main future partners?

    - Exactly. In fact, Türkiye is already an important and special foreign policy partner for our country. Bilateral trade has been growing and there are plans to make joint efforts to bring it up to $2 billion as soon as possible, for which purpose the Kyrgyz-Turkish Development Fund is to be established. Ankara is also an important investor in Kyrgyzstan's education sector and has a very positive image among our population. In recent years, military-political cooperation between the two countries has strengthened.

    At the institutional level, Türkiye has helped transform CCTS (Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States) into the Organization of Turkic States whose existence contributes to the consolidation of the Turkic countries. Kyrgyzstan supports the initiative to establish the Investment Fund of Turkic States, which will give a new impetus to the development and strengthening of such cooperation. Close cultural and humanitarian ties between the two countries also contribute to strengthening bilateral relations.

    - In the last 5-6 years, intra-regional cooperation in Central Asia has been actively discussed. How will Kyrgyzstan fit into this process?

    - The resolution of border issues with Uzbekistan, as well as the improvement of the overall intra-regional environment, has contributed to the growing importance of Tashkent in Kyrgyzstan's foreign policy. Statistics confirm this: between 2016 and 2021, the volume of mutual trade between the two countries increased sixfold. In 2022, according to the Uzbek side, trade with Kyrgyzstan reached $1 billion. Kyrgyzstan, against the backdrop of the tense geopolitical situation, came to realise that sovereignty and sustainable development can be achieved by strengthening regional cooperation.

    An Uzbek-Kyrgyz development fund has been established with authorised capital of $50 million. There are also plans to launch a joint plant to assemble and produce cars in the Chui region of the Kyrgyz Republic. It was also announced that Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan have agreed to build HPP-1 jointly, but no details are available yet.

    At the 4th Consultative Meeting in Cholpon-Ata in 2022, Kyrgyzstan signed a treaty on friendship, good-neighbourliness, and cooperation for the development of Central Asia in the 21st century, which demonstrates Bishkek's interest in deepening interregional relations. Although the Central Asian foreign policy vector has not yet become dominant in the region, it is difficult not to notice an overall positive negotiating dynamic.

    - What are Kyrgyzstan's priorities for South Asia?

    - Among South Asian countries, Kyrgyzstan trades the most with India: $43.4 million for 2022. However, Kyrgyzstan still needs to increase its trade relations with this region, as well as to work on solving logistical problems. Therefore, a prerequisite for boosting trade and economic cooperation is addressing the connectivity problem.

    For Kyrgyzstan, South Asia, namely the growing global role of India, represents a promising area for a balanced foreign policy. India is emerging as one of the leading hubs of information technology. The country has become a leading supplier of cyber security solutions to several multinational corporations located around the world. And India's experience in digitalisation of healthcare is of particular interest to Kyrgyzstan.

    It is also pertinent to mention the CASA-1000 project, which aims to link the energy systems of Central Asia with South Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan with Afghanistan and Pakistan and to develop mechanisms for electricity trade in accordance with international standards.

    - What plans do you have for building future trade and economic relations with Azerbaijan?

    - Azerbaijan is attractive for Kyrgyzstan from several perspectives: as an economic partner in terms of energy supplies, as a strong political player in the South Caucasus, and as a logistical direction. Moreover, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan share common Turkic roots, which strengthens the humanitarian links between the two countries. Thus, our states cooperate at a bilateral level as well as within the framework of OTS.

    Of course, the two sides have yet to work on mutual trade. Nevertheless, the year 2022 was fruitful for Kyrgyzstan when during Ilham Aliyev's visit to our country the parties agreed on the creation of a development fund with a $25 million capital headquartered in Bishkek. The residents of our capital also welcomed the opening of the Kyrgyz-Azerbaijani Friendship Park by the presidents of the two countries.

    In terms of transit and logistics Kyrgyzstan pins high hopes on Azerbaijan's involvement in the future China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, further to Azerbaijan and other markets via Turkmenistan. Also promising for Bishkek is the agreement between the governments of the member states of the Organisation of Turkic States on the creation of a simplified customs corridor, which was signed on November 11, 2022, in Samarkand.

    Caliber.Az

    Subscribe to our Telegram channel


Read also

Armenia: A pawn of external influence in the South Caucasus Pundit assesses destabilizing factors in the region

18 July 2024 - 15:10

Macron's political tightrope: Is France heading towards power paralysis? Foreign analysts' opinions

18 July 2024 - 11:21

Trump-Biden showdown intensifies in wake of assassination plot speculations US analysts delve into escalating rivalry

18 July 2024 - 12:11

UK's new Labour government eyes closer ties with Azerbaijan Expert insight

16 July 2024 - 09:48

Belarus maintains diplomatic composure amid allegations from Yerevan Expert insights

15 July 2024 - 14:05

Armenia's NATO engagement draws Moscow's ire A shift towards Western estrangement?

15 July 2024 - 10:55
ADVERTS
Video
Latest news

    How did Khamenei orchestrate Pezeshkian's unexpected path to Iran's presidency?

    19 July 2024 - 05:13

    UK's new government needs Middle East reset

    19 July 2024 - 03:10

    Indian Su-30 MKIs join US F-22 Raptors and global fighters in Australia

    Exercise Pitch Black 2024

    19 July 2024 - 01:05

    Challenges and strategies in recognizing Palestine

    Balancing symbolism with stability

    18 July 2024 - 23:04

    Azerbaijani maestro harmonizing Shusha's cultural legacy with global acclaim

    18 July 2024 - 21:31

    Germany to host US long-range missiles in 2026 in response to Russian deployment

    18 July 2024 - 20:51

    Armenia-China trade volume hits record $1.2 billion in early 2024

    18 July 2024 - 20:36

    Iran unveils three new radiation sites in nuclear power plants

    18 July 2024 - 20:21

    Russian MFA spox claims Ukraine planned assassination attempt on Putin

    18 July 2024 - 20:06

    Azerbaijani economy minister explores strategic partnerships & green energy co-op in Italy visit

    18 July 2024 - 19:51

    International Liberation Front launches website following Baku congress

    18 July 2024 - 19:35

    Germany approves MAUS drone exports to Ukraine

    18 July 2024 - 19:20

    Azerbaijani, Lithuanian presidents discuss bilateral relations & regional peace in Oxford

    18 July 2024 - 19:04

    Media: Israeli minister committs provocation against Al-Aqsa Mosque

    18 July 2024 - 18:51

    Orbán stands with Georgia against EU, backs sovereignty efforts

    18 July 2024 - 18:37

    Michel: EU committed to facilitating Azerbaijan-Armenia direct contact

    18 July 2024 - 18:23

    Top 10 countries in Azerbaijan's foreign trade turnover

    18 July 2024 - 18:08

    Armenian PM's hesitation to meet Azerbaijani leader in UK casts doubt on his peace deal commitment

    Has the peace process reached the deadline?

    18 July 2024 - 17:53

    Leaders of anti-colonial movements sign Baku declaration against French colonialism

    18 July 2024 - 17:47

    Iran warns of continued resistance until Israel halts Gaza operations

    18 July 2024 - 17:39

    US embassy congratulates ANAMA on its 26th anniversary

    18 July 2024 - 17:25

    Russia's Middle East strategy: Exploiting instability

    Caliber.Az on YouTube

    18 July 2024 - 17:12

    Aliyev, Orbán discuss bilateral cooperation in amicable meeting

    PHOTO/VIDEO

    18 July 2024 - 17:12

    Luxembourg’s prime minister to attend COP29

    PHOTO

    18 July 2024 - 16:58

    Azerbaijan, World Bank discuss financing for green energy integration

    18 July 2024 - 16:42

    Armenia's poisoning incidents expose strained trade relations with Russia

    Escalating food safety crisis

    18 July 2024 - 16:27

    North Korea launches balloons likely carrying trash toward South Korea

    18 July 2024 - 16:11

    FM: Yerevan's rejection of meeting between Azerbaijan, Armenia's leaders hinders peace process

    18 July 2024 - 15:53

    Italy, Azerbaijan discuss prospects for joint industrial & transport projects

    18 July 2024 - 15:39

    Is the ISIS-Khorasan a local or transnational threat?

    Forging caliphate

    18 July 2024 - 15:25

    Germany to host US missiles in response to Russian Iskanders in Kaliningrad

    Defence Minister says

    18 July 2024 - 15:24

    Armenia: A pawn of external influence in the South Caucasus

    Pundit assesses destabilizing factors in the region

    18 July 2024 - 15:10

    Turkish army renders harmless 1,427 terrorists since January 2024

    VIDEO

    18 July 2024 - 14:56

    SOCAR plans another sale of carbon credits on European market

    18 July 2024 - 14:42

    Paris 2024 hijab ban: Amnesty slams France's "discriminatory" policy against Muslim athletes

    Article by Middle East Eye

    18 July 2024 - 14:23

    Former CIA analyst charged with acting as foreign agent

    18 July 2024 - 14:08

    Azerbaijani border guards intercept marijuana smugglers

    18 July 2024 - 13:54

    Azerbaijan condemns Armenia's refusal to meet in London, calls it setback to peace efforts

    18 July 2024 - 13:44

    Iran has no plans to build atomic bomb, acting FM says

    18 July 2024 - 13:42

    Azerbaijani president attending EPC summit in UK

    Meets Luxembourg premier

    18 July 2024 - 13:33

All news