Foreign Ministers’ Special Video Conference of the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue
On Tuesday, August 11, commencing at 3:00 p.m. for approximately one hour and half, the Foreign Ministers’ Special Video Conference of the “Central Asia plus Japan” Dialogue was held, chaired by H.E. Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. At the meeting, Minister Motegi and the Foreign Ministers of five Central Asian countries held discussion on: (1) regional cooperation in Central Asia and cooperation between Central Asian countries and Japan amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19; and (2) Way forward for cooperation towards the upcoming 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Japan in 2022, particularly the direction of the discussions towards the 8th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The Chairperson’s Statement was issued after the Conference (the Conference was attended on the Central Asian side by H.E. Mr. Mukhtar Tileuberdi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan; H.E. Mr. Chingiz Aidarbekov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic; H.E. Mr. Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan; H.E. Mr. Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan; and H.E. Mr. Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan).
- Minister Motegi noted that, even with the difficulties in conducting human exchanges due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to maintain the momentum for dialogue and cooperation that was further strengthened at the 7th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Tajikistan in May 2019. In addition, Minister Motegi stated that, even under these severe circumstances, solidarity among Central Asian countries becomes ever more critical for the “open, stable and self-sustained” development of Central Asia, and Japan continues to make its contribution as a “catalyst.” Furthermore, the Minister noted on the unchanging importance of a free and open international order.
- Minister Motegi offered his condolences for the loss of life from COVID-19 and to the families of the deceased in Central Asian countries. Minister Motegi expressed respect for the countries’ efforts to address infectious diseases, including progress in regional cooperation in Central Asia. At the same time, Minister Motegi noted that solidarity among the Central Asian countries becomes ever more critical for overcoming this common crisis. To support their countries’ efforts, Minister Motegi stated that Japan is: (a) providing grant aid for health and medical equipment totaling approximately 2 billion yen; (b) providing technical assistance as well as health and medical supplies through international organizations; (c) extending grant aid for the provision of Avigan tablets to countries, which requested the medicine; and (d) actively engaging in sharing information, lessons learned, and experiences on addressing infectious diseases, including exchanging opinions by teleconferences among medical experts. In response, the Central Asian foreign ministers expressed their appreciation for Japan’s cooperation.
- Minister Motegi, referring to the upcoming 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Japan in 2022, expressed his hope that the 8th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which will take place in Japan ahead of this important milestone, would be an opportunity for the five Central Asian countries to demonstrate their strengthened solidarity and for Japan to support this effort in the new post-COVID-19 situation. In response, the Central Asian foreign ministers expressed their support.