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Blinken To Visit Central Asia Ahead Of G20 Ministerial


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Central Asia February 28-March 3 to hold meetings with representatives from all five former Soviet republics before heading to Delhi, India for the G-20 foreign ministerial.

  • Critics of US foreign policy have called for greater US attention to Central Asia, a region which controls considerable oil and gas reserves, and straddles a geo-strategically critical corridor connecting China, Russia, and the Middle East.
  • Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in particular may be central to plans to diversify European oil and gas imports away from Russia.
  • China has developed closer political ties in the region, dislodging Russia as the dominant external partner, and boosting infrastructure via the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Blinken will have a particularly close eye on Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, both countries which are emerging from long periods of “strong man” rule and are in the early stages of liberalising reforms.
  • The State Department notes that Blinken will visit Astana, Kazakhstan to meet with senior Kazakhstani officials to and travel to Tashkent, Uzbekistan for discussions “on a range of bilateral and regional issues.”

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