Britain’s Europe Minister to forge closer relations in Central Asia
As Central Asia deals with the economic uncertainty caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, UK Minister Leo Docherty will reinforce UK support for the region as a close and valued partner.
On a three-legged visit, the Minister will welcome the political reforms taking place across Central Asia and promote British expertise to support the region’s sustainable economic development.
During the most senior visit by a UK official to Kyrgyzstan in more than a decade, the Minister will meet senior members of the government, including the Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, reaffirming the UK’s commitment to boosting energy security, climate cooperation and trade ties.
The region is of huge strategic importance straddling Europe, Asia and the Middle East and bordering Russia, China and Iran. The Minister will hold talks with officials and business leaders to discuss emerging opportunities for British businesses, delivering on the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the UK economy.
Russia has significant economic ties in Central Asia through trade, energy and economic migrants. However, the illegal invasion of Ukraine has caused significant consequences for the region due to rising food and energy prices and its dependence on Russian trade and energy.
Looking ahead to the visit, Minister responsible for Central Asia Leo Docherty said:
Few countries feel the impact of global security changes more than Central Asian States, from the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan to economic uncertainty caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The UK, as a close strategic partner, is committed to supporting political reforms and sustainable economic development for the region’s long-term stability and prosperity.
The Minister will also tour the Chunkurchak Mountain Gorge on horseback, showcasing a UK-supported business, Kyrgyz Twins Adventures. The tour company focuses on making the Kyrgyz tourism sector more inclusive for people with disabilities. They have received support from the UK’s Enterprise and Innovation Programme which helps to promote a stronger, diversified and more inclusive private sector in the region.
In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s business capital, the Minister will build on the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Astana in March by discussing opportunities for cooperation on critical minerals, clean technology, and agriculture.
The Minister will welcome Kazakhstan’s consistent support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, meet civil society groups to discuss reforms and look ahead to the annual UK-Kazakhstan Strategic Dialogue set to take place this autumn.
Wrapping up in Uzbekistan, the Minister will meet with counterparts in the Foreign and Trade Ministries to strengthen defence and trade ties, discussing cooperation on counter terrorism and security, reaffirming UK support for Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization and its ongoing domestic reforms.