Arab Gulf states and Central Asian international locations cemented their political, safety and financial ties on Wednesday through the GCC-C5 Summit, a gathering of the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states and the presidents of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
On the occasion, which befell in within the Saudi metropolis of Jeddah, a Joint Motion Plan for Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation between GCC members and Central Asian states was permitted, overlaying the interval from 2023 to 2027.
In a joint assertion on the finish of the summit, the leaders of the 2 blocs careworn the significance of strengthening political and strategic relations on the collective and bilateral ranges, and persevering with coordination so as to obtain regional and worldwide safety and stability, confront challenges and work to make sure flexibility” in fields starting from provide chains to meals safety.
Amongst different points, they expressed concern in regards to the rising rhetoric of racism and Islamophobia, and acts of violence in opposition to Muslim minorities and Islamic symbols.
“The motion plan with Central Asia contains activating cooperation in numerous fields,” mentioned Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, secretary-general of the GCC. “We’re engaged on consolidating what has been agreed upon, and constructing session and coordination mechanisms with Central Asia.”
In recent times, there was a rising curiosity in deeper financial cooperation between the GCC and Central Asia. The areas have complementary economies, with GCC international locations having fun with a wealth of oil and gasoline assets and Central Asia benefiting from a younger and rising workforce. There are additionally alternatives for cooperation within the areas of commerce, funding and tourism.
Talking on the sidelines of the Jeddah summit, Khalid Al-Falih, the Saudi minister for funding, mentioned the Kingdom maintains shut ties with nations within the Central Asian area and hopes to strengthen them additional.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman addressed the summit and in addition, throughout a separate occasion in Jeddah on Wednesday, presided over the 18th consultative assembly of Supreme Council of the GCC on behalf of King Salman.
Noting that every one 5 of the Central Asian nations collaborating within the summit assist Saudi Arabia’s bid to host World Expo 2030, the crown prince instructed them: “We respect your international locations’ declaration of assist for the Kingdom’s candidacy to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh, which displays the energy of the connection between our international locations and our aspiration for a greater future for our area.”
A press assertion issued on the finish of the consultative assembly quoted GCC Secretary-Basic Albudaiwi as saying: “Their Majesties and Highnessees reviewed throughout their assembly the developments of the joint GCC motion course of along with exchanging views on a variety of regional and worldwide points.”
Al-Falih mentioned the explanation the Kingdom determined to host this first-ever summit between GCC and Central Asian nations was to bolster these present ties, the Saudi Press Company reported.
He mentioned mentioned the Kingdom’s proactive involvement with Central Asia, beneath the management of King Salman and the crown prince, had been properly acquired on the regional, pan-Asian and international ranges.
In his feedback to the SPA in regards to the summit, Al-Falih expressed optimism in regards to the anticipated outcomes of the occasion, particularly these associated to the event and enlargement of financial and funding relations between collaborating international locations.
The historical past of bilateral relations between GCC members and Central Asian international locations is lengthy and sophisticated, relationship again to the time of the Silk Highway commerce route. Nonetheless, these historic ties had been largely severed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Within the years since then, the GCC and C5 nations have been working to rebuild the relationships. In 2001, the 2 areas established the GCC-Central Asia Dialogue, a discussion board wherein to debate political, financial and safety cooperation. Talks have been held frequently since then, and have helped to foster nearer ties between the areas.
Throughout his deal with to the summit, on behalf of King Salman, the crown prince welcomed the heads of the Central Asian delegations to their “second house,” and mentioned the occasion was a continuation of ties based mostly on historical past, assets and financial development. He added that the Kingdom and its Gulf allies sit up for opening new home windows of alternative for cooperation between the 2 areas.
“The challenges our world faces right now require all efforts to boost cooperation between our international locations to realize safety and stability in our area,” he instructed the summit.
“On this regard, we stress the significance of respecting the sovereignty, independence and values of states, non-interference of their inner affairs and the necessity to intensify joint efforts to confront every thing that impacts vitality safety and international meals provide chains.”
On the GCC facet, the individuals included the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani; the crown prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah; and the vp of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
“The assembly of GCC and Central Asian leaders displays the frequent need to develop relations. We hope that our assembly right now will contribute to strengthening partnerships between the Arabian Gulf and Central Asia,” the Kuwaiti crown prince instructed the summit.
Oman and Bahrain’s rulers had been represented by Sayyid Asaad bin Tariq Al-Stated and Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa respectively.
Sheikh Nasser praised the energetic position performed by the Kingdom in enhancing cooperation and coordination amongst GCC international locations and consolidating the friendships and joint cooperation with different international locations.
The presidents of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Emomali Rahmon and Shavkat Mirziyoyev, arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday.
“We’ve shut historic relations with Gulf states and we search to develop them. We search a long-term partnership with Gulf international locations in numerous fields,” Mirziyoyev mentioned.
“We sit up for financial and AI (synthetic intelligence) cooperation with the Gulf. We search to develop the clean-energy sector along with the Gulf. We’re able to implement a mechanism to boost cooperation within the discipline of meals safety with the GCC.”
Safety gave the impression to be excessive on the record of priorities of the visiting leaders.
“Safety cooperation with Gulf international locations is critical to boost stability in Central Asia,” President Rahmon instructed the summit.
Throughout his go to, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan, visited Madinah, the place he prayed within the Prophet’s Mosque forward of the summit.
“We share objectives with GCC international locations when it comes to improvement and economic system. We search to broaden cooperation between the international locations of Central Asia and the GCC. We’re able to develop infrastructure to advertise commerce,” he mentioned.
The president of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdimuhamedow, and the president of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, arrived in Jeddah on Tuesday night time.
“International threats and challenges require us to strengthen partnership to make sure safety. We wish to strengthen partnership within the discipline of vitality with Gulf international locations,” Berdimuhamedow instructed the summit on Wednesday.
“We additionally search to develop a sports activities partnership between Central Asia and Gulf international locations.”
Based mostly on their feedback through the summit, there gave the impression to be a specific urge for food among the many leaders for joint infrastructure initiatives.
“Central Asia is a area with extensive financial alternatives,” Kyrgyzstan’s Japarov mentioned. “Financial and funding cooperation is an important factor on the agenda of this summit. I invite our companions to cooperate in constructing railways linking Central Asia to the Gulf.”
In accordance with Saudi Funding Minister Al-Falih, the Kingdom and the Central Asian nations have loved sturdy ties partially because of their spiritual bond, because the area has broadly professed Islam for the previous 14 centuries.
He welcomed the strategic improvement plans laid out by the Central Asian international locations, together with Kyrgyzstan’s Nationwide Improvement Technique 2018-2040 and Kazakhstan’s Technique 2050.
He mentioned such packages join properly with the visions of GCC member states, together with Saudi Arabia’s Imaginative and prescient 2030 social reform and financial diversification blueprint, Oman’s Imaginative and prescient 2040, and Bahrain’s Financial Imaginative and prescient 2030.
In 2018, the GCC and Central Asia held their first financial discussion board in Kazakhstan, attended by representatives from the six GCC international locations and C5, the place the main focus was to seek out methods to extend commerce and funding between the 2 areas.
In 2020, a memorandum of understanding on cooperation within the discipline of training was signed that goals to advertise pupil and school exchanges between the 2 areas. A yr later, one other MoU on cooperation within the discipline of tourism was signed to advertise tourism between the 2 areas.
The worth of exchanged items between the GCC and Central Asian international locations amounted to $3.1 billion in 2021, about 0.27 p.c of the overall worth of the GCC merchandise commerce. The worth of GCC exports to Central Asia amounted to $2.06 billion in 2021, whereas imports amounted to $1.03 billion.
Air connectivity between the areas has elevated lately, with Saudi airways similar to flynas linking the Kingdom with some Central Asian international locations. Al-Rajhi Worldwide Group additionally has funding plans within the agricultural sector of Uzbekistan.
In recent times, cooperation on safety has intensified, as each areas have confronted rising threats from terrorism, extremism and different transnational challenges.
In 2022, the GCC and Central Asian international locations made a variety of commitments to deepen their safety cooperation. These included the institution of a joint safety dialogue to fight terrorism, extremism and different transnational threats.
It additionally concerned the creation of a joint activity power to coordinate their counterterrorism efforts, the trade of intelligence and knowledge on terrorist threats and coaching of safety forces in counterterrorism and different security-related issues.
In 2022, the GCC and C5 additionally launched a strategic dialogue, which provided a extra formidable framework for cooperation. It covers a variety of areas, together with political and safety cooperation, financial and funding cooperation, and cultural engagement. The objective is to create a stronger and extra diversified partnership between the 2 areas.