Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – from June 11 to June 17, 2022

Central Asia Watch Team : Aliya Yechshanova, Sophie Marc, Mathieu Bailly et Denis Lavaud

06/14/2022: The meeting of the Kazakh-French intergovernmental commission in Paris – Aliya Yechshanova – 

On June 14, in Paris, within the framework of the working visit of the Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kairbek Uskenbayev to Paris, his talks with Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Attractiveness to the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Frank Riester.

During the conversation, the Co-Chairmen of the Kazakh-French Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation stressed the importance of continuing the dialogue, which confirmed the intention of both sides to expand and strengthen the strategic partnership, as well as increasing trade, economic, technological and investment cooperation in priority industries. It should be noted that the constructive negotiations were conducted in a spirit of pragmatism and mutual trust. In particular, noting the general mood of French enterprises to work actively in Kazakhstan, Frank Riester confirmed the intention of Alstom to invest in the economy of our country more than 50 million. He also noted that the French TotalEnergies will continue to implement the project for the construction of a wind farm with a total capacity of 1 GW.

Following the meeting with the participation of the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to France Jean Galiev, the parties agreed to follow the progress of the implementation of the planned mutually beneficial projects and to organize the next round of negotiations this autumn.

06/14/2022 – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signs a decree on the creation of a new Kazakh national council – Denis Lavaud –

On June 14, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a decree “on the creation of a Kurultai” (council regarding decisions of national scope). The Kurultai is an advisory body attached to the Cabinet of the Kazakh Presidency. This council aims to work on the development of ideas and advances for the consolidation of the state and national values; it also has a dimension of creating a constructive dialogue between representatives of the community, political parties, non-state sectors and bodies of power.

The council, whose first meeting took place on June 16, will take place at least once a year.

06/14/2022 – Exchanges of fire between Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards – Denis Lavaud –

On the morning of June 14, exchanges of fire took place between Kyrgyz and Tajik border guards at the Bulak-Bashy border posts in the Batken region. Around 7 a.m., border guards from the “Kekh” post in Tajikistan fired towards the Bulak-Bashy border post in Kyrgyzstan, whose guards fired back.

The Kyrgyz Republic spokesman said, “Border guards from both sides immediately took up combat positions. The border representative of the Kyrgyz Republic for the Batken region and the border representative of the Republic of Tajikistan for the Sughd region spoke by telephone. The heads of the border detachments of the parties left for the scene of the incident” in a press release.

Other shots took place around 8 a.m., and the exchanges took place for about twenty minutes. Representatives of the two parties then met in order to avoid an escalation. Although the situation remains tense, the border security services of the republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are working to stabilize the situation.

06/15/2022: UK seeks to attract Central Asian labour for this summer’s crops – Sophie MARC – 

Western economic sanctions that have hit the Russian economy since the start of the war in Ukraine have caused Russia to lose its position as the most attractive destination for migrants from Central Asia. Workers from this region in Russia can no longer afford to send their families money to feed themselves. 

On the other hand, there has been a shortage of labour across the Channel in the UK since the Brexit, particularly on farms for seasonal work. The UK has therefore sought to bring in labour from Central Asia to fill these jobs. 

For example, Kyrgyzstan struck a deal in March with an international agricultural recruitment company, Agri-HR, to organise the travel of these workers to the UK. For 1,000 jobs offered, 7,000 applications were received, showing the success of this alternative destination to Russia. 

Another country interested in the approach is Uzbekistan, whose government has set itself the goal of diversifying its labour destinations to reduce its dependence on Russia.

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