In 2010, the United States intensified its efforts to broaden relations with the five Central Asia countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
"The United States is seeking to expand its engagement with all of the Central Asian countries on all of the issues of concern to us," said U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. "That means not only our common interests in Afghanistan but also how to expand trade and investment, and also how to work to improve human rights and democracy throughout Central Asia."
The U.S. is working with these countries to help support democratization and respect for human rights, and to promote open trade and free markets while helping to establish strong East-West and Central Asia-South Asia trade links. The U.S. is also helping to reduce trafficking in persons, arms and illegal drugs, and cooperating to combat terrorism and nuclear proliferation, all of which have a destabilizing effect on society.
The United States has tailored U.S. policy in Central Asia to the varying characteristics of each state. In Kazakhstan, we have helped to secure and eliminate Soviet-era nuclear and biological weapons, materials and facilities, signed a bilateral science and technology cooperation agreement, and urged the government to implement its National Human Rights Action Plan.
Private U.S. companies are involved in oil and natural gas development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. We have significantly increased U.S. humanitarian, health, and education assistance to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, hard hit by the 2008 global economic down-turn.
The U.S. has strongly supported Kyrgyzstan’s recent transition to parliamentary democracy, and donated $100 million following the ethnic violence in the south last June to help to support stabilization, humanitarian needs, police reform and reconciliation as well as move the democratic processes forward.
We also support the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline, or TAPI, because, as Assistant Secretary Blake said, "We believe there is a great strategic logic in trying to link the oil and gas reserves of Turkmenistan with the large and growing energy markets of South Asia," he said. At the same time, we continue to press the government of Turkmenistan to improve its human rights record.
We have deepened our economic and security relationship with Uzbekistan, while continuing to urge the Government to make progress on human rights and democratic reforms.
The United States appreciates the Central Asia nations' support of the multinational mission in Afghanistan.