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"A painful process". Federica Mogherini about the reforms in Central Asia

Radio Liberty 08.07.2019 at 15:39

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, non-profit information service funded by the U.S. Congress, broadcasting to the countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East and Russia.

EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy said that the promotion of democratic practices in the countries of Central Asia – "a painful process", but is "hopeful" change, especially in Uzbekistan. Federica Mogherini spoke with a correspondent of Radio Liberty in Bishkek after the forum "European Union – Central Asia". The forum took place against the backdrop of mass arrests in Kazakhstan, where people protested against the official celebrations on the occasion of the birthday of former authoritarian leader Nursultan Nazarbayev (after renaming Astana to Nur the Sultan of the day was and the Day of the capital), as well as the confrontation between the former and current presidents in Kyrgyzstan. That may offer these countries the EU? What kind of partnerships can we talk? – Of course we can offer, as usual, – trade, investment, development cooperation, many projects which we Fund and support political reforms, political cooperation between the countries of Central Asia. And I think they like the fact that we have no hidden agenda. We are fully transparent. You can rely on us. They may not like everything that comes from us, especially the emphasis on human rights, on the legitimacy that is hard for such countries that somehow are still in transition, but they know that they will receive. – The European Union proposed a partnership agreement with Kyrgyzstan. But how it will work when, as you can see, the former and current presidents fighting each other, political stability in the country? Does it make sense to conclude such an agreement? – These agreements are important primarily because they give us the legal basis for projects, for a very specific collaboration that benefits the citizens of these countries. It is always our main goal. But they are important because help to carry out political reforms in countries to create an independent judicial system. It's a long process, but we believe that we should support him and be present with him. I think countries like the Kyrgyz Republic, understood the added value of investment in democracy. – You were also in Turkmenistan and signed an agreement to open a new representative office in Ashgabat. You hope that this will make the country slightly more open, slightly improving the situation with human rights? – I hope. But how exactly can this help? – First, we have offices European Union in all other four countries, and over the past five years, the EU has developed a strong partnership, strong cooperation with Central Asia as a wider region, and have offices in all five countries will give our work the sequence. Kazakhstan after the mass arrests is not coming from the news headlines. Your reaction to detention on a Saturday? You raised this question? – Such questions always rise, Yes. And again, our message to the authorities as the authorities of other countries, is that we must be consistent in fulfilling commitments to improving standards of human rights, we must be open, must be guaranteed space for free expression of public opinion and for the free run media of its role. These issues are constantly raised from our side. I strive in particular to emphasize that the country and its leadership [run this] gives advantages from the point of view of attracting investment, improving the country's image in the world and, of course, that comes naturally to us, Europeans, from the point of view of improving the quality of life of their own citizens. And on Uzbekistan, where over the last three years after coming to power new President have been many mostly positive changes. You have noticed these changes? In recent years I have twice visited Uzbekistan and, of course, due to tightness in time in the framework of these trips failed to meet with citizens. But I noticed that in the country there is genuine interest, and I thought he was sincere, for openness and reforms, but also to expand and strengthen cooperation with the European Union. At the same time they are well aware that to implement all this, they need to take a number of steps in the sphere of protection of human rights and civil society development. Therefore, I concluded that the leadership of Uzbekistan seeks to play a positive role in the region and to undertake a major transformation, said in an interview with Radio Liberty, Federica Mogherini.