According to Russian proverb, Russia has been waiting until the “thunder” dies out. The mass media has for a long time been trumping that the US is de facto in Asia, while Russia did not react. In Uzbekistan, there are Americans, and a US military contingent is arriving to Kirghizia soon. Who is next?
The beginning of the year 2002 is full of events. The head of Russian Foreign Ministry, Igor Ivanov, intends to discuss international and regional issues during his official visit to Tashkent. The main subjects of the negotiations are military and political situations in the region and the situation in Afghanistan as well as prospects of Afghan regulation. In this connection, questions of cooperation between Russia and Uzbekistan will be discussed in the context of joint efforts of the world community to help Afghanistan in its peaceful formation. The sides will also consider questions of the consolidation of bilateral cooperation in the fight with world terrorism, extremism, and drug criminality. Russia and Uzbekistan intend to stress “the importance of the consolidation of regional cooperation in the fight with these phenomena, including the framework of CIS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” – official spokesman for Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexandr Yakovenko, said.
Earlier, Igor Ivanov met with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashkhabad. During the meeting, questions were selected to be discussed by the presidents of Russia and Turkmenistan during a January meeting in Moscow. The field of discussion is huge: regional security, the CIS's future, participation of both countries in international organizations, economical issues, etc. The forward movement in Russia’s relation to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan is obvious, though it should be taken into account that the question is about large-scale policy, where there is no place for emotions but only for comercial interests.
Today, the main task for Russia is to maintain its geopolitical influence in Central Asia, which is important from geographical, historical, and economical points of view.
If somebody considers this to be imperial ambitions, he will only be partly right only. The West does not need the Asian republics. Therefore, there is no question about their equitable participation in international institutions. For example, Kirghizia, which hastened to enter WTO with such unprofitable conditions. You see, they will not be able to survive without Russia. When, finally, will they understand it? And what about the US military bases? Of course, there will be the bases. Though, the question is how to avoid US expansion in the region. The Shanghai Five will probably grow numerically and will finally play the part of international policeman in the region. If so, Americans will probably be asked to go home.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva