DUSHANBE, September 13, Asia-Plus /Bahrom Mannonov/ -- “The population of our region is some 56 million people sharing economic interest, common history and culture, and we should think over such an interaction that would not impede our historical ties and would promote further expansion of our trade and economic ties,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev remarked at a news conference in Dushanbe on September 13 after a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon.

Kazakh president reminded that Kazakhstan was initiator of forming of a Central Asian Economic Union.     

For his part, asked about his attitude to the idea of forming of the Central Asian Economic Union, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said, “We are for integration.   According to the World Bank, removing artificial barriers will allow doubling gross domestic product (GDP).”

However, the Tajik leader noted that to form such union there ought to comply with a number of terms.   “Firstly, the countries of the region become members of this union on the basis of absolute equality of rights; secondly, the single legal foundation is needed; thirdly, a free movement of goods is needed; and at last, the union members should settle the problem of rational use of water and energy resources in the region,” noted Emomali Rahmon.   

A Central Asian Union was proposed by Nursultan Nazarbayev on April 26, 2007.   The proposed Union would primarily deal with interstate border issues, trade, visa regimes, tourism, and security.   In his proposal, the Kazakh President said: "In the region, we share economic interest, cultural heritage, language, religion, and environmental challenges, and face common external threats. The founding fathers of the European Union could only wish they had so much in common. We should direct our efforts towards a closer economic integration, a common market and a single currency."