Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Thursday in Kazakhstan the state of relations with this country which he described as of "closest ally", a country nevertheless increasingly courted by by the great powers contesting the traditional influence of Moscow in Central Asia.
In neighboring Uzbekistan, during an economic summit, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also trying to strengthen his presence in the region, launched new anti-Western diatribes on the situation in Gaza alongside Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi.
In Astana, the Kazakh capital, Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discussed the ties between their two countries in all areas, although the Kazakh leader also cultivates his relations with Western and Chinese leaders. or Turks.
“We are not only allies, but the closest allies,” declared Mr. Putin, regularly present in Central Asia since the invasion of Ukraine, while Mr. Tokayev praised “the unshakable values of friendship” between Russia and Kazakhstan.
Vladimir Putin's visit comes a week after that of French President Emmanuel Macron, during which agreements in the energy field were signed between Paris and this immense country rich in natural resources, which will now also supply uranium to China.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (l) greeted by his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev upon his arrival at Astana airport, November 9, 2023 in Kazakhstan © POOL – Pavel BEDNYAKOV
Because Moscow sees its influence traditional in the region contested by neighboring China, Turkey, the European Union, Iran and the United States, as evidenced by the diplomatic ballet of recent months.
Increased attention benefiting these former Soviet republics, independent since 1991 and eager to increase their partnerships, after three decades marked by numerous intra-regional conflicts that they are trying to overcome despite persistent tensions.
– Gaza –
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (r) and his wife upon their arrival at Tashkent airport, Uzbekistan © Uzbek Foreign Ministry – –
In Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, the leaders of nine countries gathered for a summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), during which Recep Tayyip Erdogan, already present last week in Central Asia, incriminated the 'West for its “hypocrisy” on the situation in Gaza.
“Western countries, which constantly talk about human rights, freedoms and democracy, watch from afar all the massacres committed by Israel” declared Mr. Erdogan, ensuring that he had observed “many examples of hypocrisy”.
In a similar tone, Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi accused the West of being responsible for the situation in Gaza, after a month of war between Israel and Hamas.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers the total support of the West, and in particular that of the American government, for the Zionist invasion of Gaza as the reason for the continuation of this crime”, indicated Mr. Raïssi, who had already addressed this subject on Wednesday in Tajikistan with his counterpart Emomali Rakhmon.
In addition to Gaza, discussions during this summit focused on humanitarian cooperation and transport, while the landlocked countries of Central Asia are trying to gain access to the sea, in particular via Pakistan, represented Thursday by its Prime Minister .
“The global political architecture is changing before our eyes,” said Uzbek President Shavkat Mirzioyev, who also called for facilitating trade between ECO members.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon (d) and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raïssi, November 8, 2023 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan © Press service of the presidency of Tajikistan – –
Although jostled , Russia remains an essential partner in Central Asia and is trying to assert its presence, particularly in the energy field, after seeing the European market close due to Western sanctions linked to the invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow has thus launched large-scale energy projects, such as the supply of gas to Uzbekistan via Kazakhstan, and is positioning itself on nuclear or hydroelectric power station projects in several countries in the region to compete with European proposals or Chinese.
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