TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, July 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Heads of state and of government and senior ministers from over 20 nations have begun arriving in Tashkent in preparation for a major conference on current and perspective ties between Central and South Asia later this week.
The conference, officially entitled "Central and South Asia: Regional Interconnectivity. Challenges and Opportunities", is scheduled for Friday (July 16) and is expected to gather more than 600 participants from over 40 countries. Among the participants will be Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres will address the participants via video-message.
Plans for the conference were first alluded to in September when President Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly. "Today, the Central Asian states face an important strategic task," he said. "This is to ensure deep integration of our region into the global economic, transport and transit corridors." He then announced specific plans for this week's conference in his yearend address to Uzbekistan's parliament, the Oliy Majlis.
While the event is intended to build links to South Asia and help stabilize and propel economic expansion across the entire region, much discussion is expected to focus on the future of Afghanistan. President Mirziyoyev has spent much of his first term in office creating conditions for friendly relations with Uzbekistan's closest neighbours, including Afghanistan.
One major element of that effort has been his promotion of strategically important transport and energy links through Afghanistan to the South Asia markets beyond. Along with plans for a major transport and energy corridor, also through Afghanistan, the current security situation is expected to be discussed. Regional states will discuss how they can help to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
Other stakeholders such as the United States, Russia, China, India, the EU and the United Kingdom will be represented. Russia's and China's delegations will be led by foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Wang Yi, respectively. Other delegation leaders will include: EU External Relations Commissioner Josep Borrell, UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations Lord Ahmad, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu and others.
Representatives of multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank, ADB, EBRD and IDB will also attend.
Some 80 members of the international media will be present. Much of the conference will be streamed live in Uzbek, Russian and English.
SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, London