Washington has stepped up efforts to force Central Asian countries to support US sanctions against Russia
US President Joe Biden will meet next week in New York with the leaders of five Central Asian countries allied with Russia. While a pro-NATO think tank described the summit as an opportunity for Biden to counter Russian and Chinese influence in the region, the White House insists the meeting is “not against any country.”
Biden will speak with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. Representatives from these five countries have met with their American counterparts since 2015, but the New York summit will be the first time their leaders have met during this period.
Speaking to reporters Friday, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the group would discuss “a range of issues, from regional security to trade and connectivity, climate change and ongoing reforms to improve governance and the rule of law. »
“This summit is not against any country” Sullivan added. “It is for a positive program that we want to work with these countries. »
However, the NATO-funded Atlantic Council presented the summit as a “opening” that Biden pressure the five countries to implement US sanctions against Russia and offer financial aid to pro-Western politicians and NGOs in the region.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a Eurasian bloc of post-Soviet nations. Additionally, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military alliance roughly analogous to NATO.
None of the five condemned the Russian military operation in Ukraine, or imposed sanctions on Moscow in response. Amid reports that the United States was preparing the so-called “secondary sanctions” on Kyrgyzstan last month, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said he was placed under “pressure” by Washignton to side with the United States on Ukraine.
However, Japarov insisted that Kyrgyzstan “an independent country” And “will continue to maintain equal relations with all countries.”
Similar warnings have been issued in Kazakhstan, with U.S. Treasury Department officials traveling to Astana in April to pressure local authorities to enforce U.S. export controls on goods bound for Russia .
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