On Tuesday, during a visit to Astana, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Central Asian countries have taken a more decisive stance vis-à-vis Russia. At the same time, he expressed concern that potential routes for goods entering the Russian Federation that are on the sanctions list could pass through their territory.
Recall that Blinken arrived in Central Asia on Tuesday to meet with officials from the five post-Soviet states located here in the C5+1 format. This is his first visit to the region as Secretary of State.
“We are monitoring the implementation of the sanctions very closely and are constantly discussing with a number of countries, including our C5 partners… the economic consequences (of the war),” Blinken said during a briefing. press conference following a meeting in the capital of Kazakhstan with officials from five Central Asian states.
According to Blinken, Washington is issuing licenses to give companies time to sever ties with Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the West.
He announced $25 million in new funding to support economic growth, including creating new trade routes and helping businesses find new export markets, in addition to the $25 million that the Joe administration Biden has already committed to the region.
Recall that the Biden administration launched the Central Asia Economic Resilience Initiative (ERICEN) in September 2022 to stimulate economic growth in the region after Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine, and in particular to diversify trade routes.
Blinken also said Washington would not hesitate to impose sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals if Beijing violates US sanctions against Russia.
According to Blinken, if China provides Moscow with lethal assistance in the conflict, it will become a serious problem for Beijing in its relations with countries around the world.
During a visit to Astana, Blinken met with the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Secretary of State reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of the United States to the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Kazakhstan.
Blinken expressed the United States’ full support for the Kazakh leader’s reforms and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to working with the Kazakh government, the country’s civil society and other Kazakh partners to advance the values shared by the two States.
Blinken and Tokaev also discussed ways the two countries can strengthen the U.S.-Kazakh economic partnership and strengthen regional ties.
During Blinken’s meeting with Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, partnership options on the climate crisis, security and economic growth initiatives were discussed.
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