The development and diversification of Central Asia’s energy sector will provide more power for citizens and businesses, contribute to the region’s economic security, and give the region a firm footing in a growth industry of global importance.
Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Sarbaev stressed that many of the problems plaguing Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan, such as security and drug trafficking, are in fact regional problems, and that multilateral negotiations and mutual concessions can help find solutions to these problems.
The economic crisis has had a clear impact on the already impoverished countries of Central Asia, but few Americans and Europeans have noticed. China and Russia have stepped in to provide aid, and their investments threaten institutional reform in the region.
Strengthening regional cooperation in Central Asia is one of the most powerful ways to foster development and would enable the states of the region to better meet the daunting individual and collective challenges they face.
The United States must recognize that former Soviet states are and will continue to be an important focus of Russia’s foreign policy, and should take a broader regional view to its relationships with countries in Russia's sphere of influence.
The Obama administration needs a new approach to the Caspian region that provides opportunities for local leaders to engage with the United States in economic and political development.
Russia’s aggressive behavior in Georgia will have implications throughout the Caspian Sea Region, forcing Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to rethink their strategic priorities with the West. Russia has reasserted itself as the dominant player in the region and revealed how difficult it is for the U.S. to maintain a strategic position around the Caspian.
Discussants review how to improve relations between the U.S. and Turkmenistan through economic partnerships and development aid.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Evan Feigenbaum elaborated on his perspective of the current state of U.S.-Turkmenistan relations and offered his thoughts on how the two countries can move forward.
Recent high-level meetings between Putin and Central Asian leaders and the conclusion of several deals that seem to give Russia more power over the latter’s oil and gas have catapulted Russian-Central Asian relations back into the spotlight, and cast them as amicable.