The sixth High-level Political and Security Dialogue between the European Union and the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) took place on 28 May 2019 in Brussels. Afghanistan was invited to take place in the Dialogue as a special guest.
This meeting took place at a particularly significant moment in EU-Central Asia relations, as the High Representative and the European Commission adopted on 15 May a Joint Communication on “The EU and Central Asia: New Opportunities for a Stronger Partnership”. The new EU Strategy aims to convey a strong message of commitment to the region and to emphasise the new opportunities, opened up by positive dynamics in Central Asia, for taking the EU-Central Asia partnership forward.
The representatives of Central Asia and Afghanistan welcomed the new EU Strategy as a very solid foundation for taking relations forward. The Dialogue provided an opportunity to discuss in particular the implementation of the new Strategy in areas such as regional cooperation in Central Asia, security and the promotion of Euro-Asian connectivity.
Participants welcomed the launching of a new phase of the EU’s Border Management in Central Asia (BOMCA) project, which will include Afghanistan. They discussed enhanced cooperation in the prevention of violent extremism and counterterrorism as well as the fight against illicit drugs trafficking, following up in particular on the Conference on Countering Terrorism and its Financing through Illicit Drugs and Trafficking and Organised Crime, which took place on 3-4 April 2019 in Dushanbe (Tajikistan). The meeting also provided an opportunity to look into ways to step up cooperation on new security challenges such as hybrid threats.
The representatives of the EU, Central Asia and Afghanistan exchanged views on future cooperation aimed at ensuring that Euro-Asian connectivity develops in a sustainable, open and rules-based way.
The Dialogue also provided an opportunity for an in-depth exchange of views on regional developments. Following up on the Council Conclusions on Afghanistan adopted on 8 April 2019, the EU reaffirmed its strong commitment to contribute to peace in the country.
The meeting was hosted and chaired by Ambassador Jean-Christophe Belliard, Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs of the European External Action Service.