On Monday, 15 April, Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu attended the high level conference “Connectivity for Sustainable Development”, dedicated to Central Asian states. The event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the context of the Romanian Presidency of the European Union Council, together with the European External Action Service.
The conference provided an efficient platform for in-depth discussions about Central Asian developments and the relations of the states in the region with the European Union at a time of particular importance for the region: ahead of the adoption of the EU Strategy for Central Asia and taking into account the EU Strategy for Europe-Asia Connectivity, adopted in October 2018.
The conference was attended by high-ranking officials of all the five states in Central Asia, representatives of SEAE and the European Commission, EU Member States, OSCE, Afghanistan and the USA, as well as heads of UN institutions (UN Economic Commission for Europe, UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, UNDP Regional Centre for Eastern Europe and Central Asia), and officials of international financial institutions (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, World Bank).
The proceedings of the Conference were held in three sessions. The plenary session was followed by press statements by Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu and the Special EU Representative for Central Asia, Ambassador Peter Burian.
The first topical session covered cooperation opportunities and security challenges in Central Asia from the perspective of the EU and the states in the region, and the second session covered the consolidation of Central Asian connectivity through transport corridors. Both sessions were moderated by Secretary of State Dan Neculăescu.
In his speech, Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu highlighted the positive Romanian agenda in its relations with all Central Asian states, both at bilateral level and in terms of aspects of regional interest (water management, transportation connectivity, energy, education), and the active support offered by our country for tightening relations between Central Asia and the EU, as a promoter of modernisation and sustainable development. Additionally, the head of Romanian diplomacy informed the participants about developments in terms of the Black Sea – Caspian Sea connectivity, and about the adoption of the Political Declaration on the Black Sea – Caspian Sea Route, by Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Romania, Turkmenistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, on 4 March, in Bucharest.
In the margins of the conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Meleșcanu had bilateral talks with Minister of Foreign affairs of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin, SG UN Special representative and Director of the UN Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia Natalia Gherman, Assistant to the Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Idrees Zaman, Assistant to the Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vasillenko and the Assistant to the Kyrgyz Minister of Foreign Affairs Azizbek Madmarov.