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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Kazakhstan for a sequence of assembly with high diplomats of Central Asian nations

ByThe Related Press

February 28, 2023, 1:59 AM

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kazakhstan on Tuesday for a sequence of conferences with high diplomats of Central Asian nations as tensions soar over Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Blinken sat down for talks with Kazakh International Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi after which with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. A gathering of the so-called C5+1 group, made up of the U.S. and the previous Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, was anticipated to comply with.

At that assembly, Blinken will stress the U.S. “dedication to the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Central Asian nations,” the State Division stated in an announcement that mirrors the wording it has been utilizing to assist Ukraine in its conflict in opposition to Russia.

Blinken’s go to to Astana and later this week to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, mark his first journey to Central Asia as secretary of state. It comes simply days after the anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which has rattled the area.

Not one of the 5 former Soviet republics in Central Asia, historically seen as a part of the Kremlin’s sphere of affect, publicly backed the assault.

Kazakhstan welcomed tens of 1000’s of Russians fleeing from the navy call-up final fall. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke on the telephone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thrice since Russian troops rolled into Ukraine final February, calling for a diplomatic decision of the battle in accordance “with the U.N. constitution and generally accepted norms of the worldwide regulation.”

Nevertheless, all 5 Central Asian republics, together with India, which Blinken will go to subsequent, abstained in a vote to sentence the invasion final week on the U.N. Basic Meeting on the primary anniversary of the conflict.

U.S. officers hope that Blinken can persuade the Central Asian nations that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a menace to them.

The U.S. has for many years sought with out nice success to wean the previous Soviet nations of the area from Moscow’s affect. Some, notably Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, assisted the U.S. logistically throughout its 20-year battle in Afghanistan.

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