Bahrain News Agency (BNA) and Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on April 14 that the second ministerial meeting of the Strategic Dialogue between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Central Asian nations took place in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, on April 15.  

According to QNA, Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Jasem Mohammed Albudaiwi said that the meeting confirms the desire of the two sides to boost relations, and their keenness to strengthen strategic dialogue and work to serve their common interests, in accordance with their shared values, interests, and historical ties, and with the Joint Action Plan for the period 2023-2027, they signed in September 2022.

Albudaiwi reportedly added that the discussions will focus on ways to enhance relations between the two sides, in addition to regional and international developments.

Asharq Al-Aswat reported yesterday that Chaired by Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bakhtiyor Saidov, the meeting underscored the joint commitment to forming a sustainable and forward-looking partnership based on common values and mutual interests.

The participants reportedly stressed the need to promote trade and investment exchanges between the two regions, noting the importance of cooperation to ensure sustainable supply chains, transport and transit connection, food, energy and water resources.

They exchanged views on regional and international issues and highlighted the importance of coordinating their positions through the mechanisms of the Strategic Dialogue.

In a statement, they underlined the importance of implementing joint investment projects, developing clean energy, addressing environmental problems and sharing best practices in education and health.

They took note of proposals for investment promotion mechanisms from participating countries, including proposals by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and encouraged investment officials from both sides to study these proposals and explore effective mechanisms to promote investment between the two regions.

They called on Israel to fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law for the unimpeded provision of all humanitarian aid and basic needs to the population in Gaza. 

The Ministerial Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council reportedly expressed its deep concern over the recent dangerous military escalation in the region and its impact on regional security and stability.

The council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the escalation.  It met at the headquarters of the Qatari Embassy in Tashkent on the sidelines of the joint ministerial meeting between the GCC and Central Asian countries.

In a statement, the council stressed the importance of reducing the escalation immediately to maintain the security and stability of the region.  It underlined the need for all parties to make joint efforts and turn to diplomacy as an effective way to resolve conflicts, while exercising the utmost levels of self-restraint, and sparing the region and its people the dangers of war.

Recall, the inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the GCC-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue was held in Riyadh on September 7, 2022.  The event was attended by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The meeting was chaired by the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

The parties discussed topical issues on the international agenda. Issues of regional security and further steps to establish effective cooperation in trade, economic, investment and cultural spheres were also raised.

Following the meeting, the ministers adopted a Joint Action Plan for 2023-2027, which covers such areas as politics and security, economy, transport, water resources and energy, education, health, culture, youth and sports.

The GCC+CA Strategic Dialogue is aimed at strengthening the political dialogue between the countries and developing interregional cooperation in the trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Meanwhile, the first summit of the GCC and Central Asian nations took place on July 19, 2023.  The summit, the first of its kind, reportedly reflected the keenness of the GCC countries to establish partnerships with the international community in order to enhance the global status of the GCC.

According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the maximum rate of merchandise exports from the GCC to Central Asia reached 0.37% in 2020, while the maximum rate of merchandise imported by the GCC reached 0.21% in 2021.