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Central Asian foreign ministers at meeting with Mogherini approve renewal of EU's regional strategy

TASHKENT - The Central Asian and European Union nations held a ministerial meeting in Tashkent on Monday, Uzbekistan's Foreign Ministry said.

It was attended by foreign ministers Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan, Erlan Abdyldayev of Kyrgyzstan, Sirodjidin Aslov of Tajikistan, Abdulaziz Kamilov of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Vepa Khadjiyev, and Federica Mogherini, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

"The Central Asian foreign-policy chiefs welcome Europe's intention to develop and adopt in 2019 an updated EU Strategy on the region, and expressed their countries' readiness to take an active part in this process," the ministry stated on its website.

The meeting also focused on prospects of the region's economic development, inter-regional cooperation on trade, economy, investment, technology, science and education, the spokesperson said.

"Particular attention was given to the issue of stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan and its socio-economic development in the run-up to the 'Peace Process, Cooperation in the Sphere of Security and Regional Interaction' conference due to be held in Tashkent. In particular, the attendees exchanged their views on EU support for Central Asian countries' efforts to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan, to participate in regional economic and infrastructure cooperation," the statement said.

The foreign ministers have decided to meet next in Brussels in the second half of 2018.

The last such meeting was also held in Uzbekistan (in Samarkand) on November 10, 2017, as part of the 13th session of the EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting.

On Tuesday Mogherini will attend a high-level international conference on Afghanistan in Tashkent.

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