Abstract. The weight of any Central Asian state in the framework of current international relations is determined by its economic and demographic potential, geographical location, character of its relations with other states, primarily with neighboring ones, by its role in the regional and global international organizations. With the completion of the transAsian railway constructions, with the development of road and air communications, the geostrategic, trade and economic significance of CentralAsia will rise further for it will start to serve as a route for considerable cargo flows from Asia and the Pacific region to Europe and West Asia and back.
"Himalayan and Central Asian Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1, April-June 1997, p. 30-50.
Over 55 million people live in the region of Central Asia, it is quite rich in natural resources and has at its disposal a rather developed economic, scientific, and technical potential.
The strategic significance of the region lies in the fact that it borders with two out of five nuclear states of the world - Russia and China - and through Iran and Afghanistan it has an access to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.
An interesting and internationally significant phenomenon is that Central Asian states are simultaneously members of European (OSCE, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and Asian (Organization of Economic Cooperation - OEC, Organization of Islamic Conference, Asian Bank OfDevelopment, Islamic Bank of Development) regional international organizations and banks.
What is the backbone of the defence policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan?
Firstly, currently the formation of the armed forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan capable to defend the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country is under the way.
Secondly, on 25 May 1992, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation concluded the Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, in which they fixed the Obligationto render each other military assistance in case of aggression against one of them. As an extension of it. there were signed the Agreement on Military Cooperation and a whole package of documents regarding the military sphere. Russia is leasing Baykonur, military grounds. There are forces and military objects on the territory of Kazakhstan which are under the Russian jurisdiction.
Thirdly, the Republic of Kazakhstan signed the Agreement on Collective Security on 15 May 1992, which involves nine countries of the CIS. and it is making every effort to create a joint defence space aimed at the coordination of defence activities.
One of the important factors on the way to strengthening the security of the Republic of Kazakhstan after its joining the Agreement on Non- Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear state, was the acceptance of formal affirmations of security from Russia. USA and Great Britain. On December 5, 1994, in Budapest, during the OSCE summit, the President of the Russian Federation B. Yeltsin, President of the USA B. Clinton and Prime-Minister of Great Britain J. Major signed the Memorandum on Security Guarantees.
In that document Russia. USA and Great Britain have confirmed their commitments to the Republic of Kazakhstan, in accordance with the principles of the OSCE, to respect its independence, sovereignty and existing borders, to avoid threatening with force or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of the Republic OfKazakhstan, to avoid economic pressure.
In case the Republic of Kazakhstan becomes a victim of aggression or an object of aggression threat with use of nuclear weapons. Russia. USA and Great Britain will demand immediate actions of the UN Security Council in order to render assistance to the Republic of Kazakhstan as to a non-nuclear member-state of the Agreement on Non-Proliferation OfNuclearWeapon [2, p. 107].
The Chinese Government also has declared that it gives to Kazakhstan guarantees of security, and that declaration was published by Xinhua agency on February 8, 1995. It says: "China fully understands the desire of Kazakhstan to get security guarantees. To abstain unreservedly from the use of nuclear weapon or threat of its use against non-nuclear states and non-nuclear zones, this is the consistent position of the Chinese Government. This position of principle applies to Kazakhstan" [2, p. 113].
According to the inter-governmental agreement concluded in October 1992 between Russia and Kyrgyzstan, the latter, to ensure its own security, the security of the Russian Federation, and the collective security of the CIS member-states, delegated the issues of guarding of its state border with China to border troops of Russia.
As an extension of that agreement, in April 1994, the parties signed another document - on the order of recruitment and military services of citizens of Kyrgyzstan in the border troops of Russia deployed on the territory of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. According to that document, the parties create required conditions for recruiting Kyrgyzstani citizens for military services and ensure activities of personnel in compliance with the legislation of both states.
By mutual agreement Russia covers 80% and Kyrgyzstan 20% of the expenses of those troops.
Also in April there was signed the Protocol on the Interaction in the operative provision of guarding between the Federal Border Services - Chief Headquarters of the Border Troops of Russia and the State Committee of Kyrgyzstan on National Security.
Russia is helping Kyrgyzstan to form its own border troops in the course of the transition period. However, the terms of the transition period are not specified.
In his report to the first plenary session of Oliy Majlis, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov, characterizing the principles of national security, said: "In the surrounding us unrest world we have friends, but there are those as well, who would like to drag Uzbekistan into their leverage sphere. And those forces may use any available methods, including military ones. Therefore, we must have a mobile, well-trained and equipped army, capable to defend our borders, our independence and sovereignty" .
The key elements of the concept of national security declared by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan I. Karimov are the following:
- Uzbekistan occupies an extremely favorable geographic location, in the center of transportation and autonomous energy and water systems of the region;
- Uzbekistan outnumbers its neighbors, and surpasses them in its scientific and technical potential, and other capacities;
- the Republic has unique natural and climatic conditions, long agricultural traditions and mineral resources that allow it to achieve self-sufficient production of foods, production and export of most valuable types of technical agricultural produce;
- the Republic has oil. oil products, gas. that is. those resources which are the backbone of any economy. It has all chances to increase its economic potential;
- Uzbekistan occupies a deserved place in human civilization. Its land is rich in spiritual heritage, and it exerts a strong influence on various spiritual and political processes not only in the region but all over the world.
"If one takes into account all these aspects - concludes I. Karimov. - then Uzbekistan is capable to achieve high positions in the world in the spheres of culture, science, technology, and economy and to become an integration center in Central Asia".
At the 48th session of the UN General Assembly I. Karimov proposed to set up in Taslrkent a permanent seminar of the UN on issues of security, well-being and cooperation in Central Asia. In this connection he thinks that "the Republic could serve as an outpost in Asia, bridge-head of cooperation between the OSCE and the UN in provision of regional security and cooperation, preventive diplomacy and conflict prevention".
Uzbekistan is a full-fleshed member of the Non- Aligned Movement. Does this membership, which stipulates non-participation in military blocks, contradict the commitments OfUzbekistan according to the Agreement on Collective Security signed in its capital on 15 May 1992?
It doesn’t, since NM is not intended to undertake any actions against any member of the CIS. and the Agreement on Collective Security cannot serve as a basis for the formation of certain military blocks, therefore, participation in it does not contradict the objectives of the NM. Another aspect of this matter is that the criteria of membership in the NM are not clear-cut. and it includes a lot of countries which have defence agreements with other countries of the world.
During the summit of the Presidents OfKazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in Bislrkek, April 29- 30, 1994, Kyrgyzstan joined the earlier signed Agreement on the Creation of a Single Economic Space between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Since then it became a trilateral agreement. It is noteworthy that the integration of three Central Asian states is deepening not only in the economic, but also in the defence area. There is created the Council OfDefence Ministers which guides the process of working out concrete proposals on military cooperation.
During the session of the Interstate Council of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, held on December 15, 1995, in Jambyl. the Regulation on the Council OfDefence Ministers of these three states was approved. According to it. the Council, as a working body of the Interstate Council, considers all relevant issues of the regional security, defence coordination and cooperation. In the framework of the latter issue, it will coordinate operative and military exercises, air defence, mutual supplies, as well as repair of weaponry and equipment, military research work and other works .
In order to ensure the national and regional security. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan should direct and coordinate their efforts in the following directions:
Individual defence - forming and strengthening of national armed forces;
Collective defence - forming a collective security system in the framework of the CIS. Since the Agreement on Collective Security, signed in Taslrkent in May 15, 1992, mechanisms of its realization haven’t been worked out. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have to proceed with their efforts aimed at the coordination of their defence activities in Central Asia;
Creation of a system of Euro-Central Asian security, coordination of defence policies and cooperation, as well as peace-keeping activities - jointly with member-states of OSCE and NATO;
CreationofanAsiansecurity system, strengthening of cooperation and confidence-building measures - jointly with the Asian states;
Creation of a global security system - jointly with all the UN member-states, primarily with the members of the Security Council.
Turkmenistan, which didn’t join the Concept of Military Security and the Agreement on Collective Security and a number of other CIS documents related to issues of military policy, fixed in its military doctrine that it did not treat any state as an enemy.
In his speech at the Ashgabat International Conference "Neutrality of Turkmenistan and International Relations in Asia" held in September 1995, President of Turkmenistan S. Niazov substantiated the neutrality policy: "Having today over 30% of the world reserves of natural gas, up to 12 billion tons of oil only in the Caspian shelf, a huge territory and just about 5 million population, it is impossible to do without neutrality, it’s impossible to join any group of countries for that would lead to the creation of blocks and weaken the neutrality" .
Abiding to those principles, Turkmenistan didn’t sign the Taslikent Agreement on Collective Security and didn’t join the Council of Collective Security.
At the same time, Turkmenistan has stepped into strategic partnership relations with Russia and solves jointly with it many defence issues, including guarding of its borders on a bilateral basis.
The year of 1995 demonstrated a record number of border conflicts in the entire history of the existence of the Turkmenistan’s external borders. There were registered 50 armed clashes on the Turkmen- Afghan border, resulting in the extermination of about 20 frontier intruders, seizure of more than 2 tons of drugs and confiscation of more than 50 guns. Turkmen border troops lost four people killed. The growing tension on the border with Afghanistan forces Turkmenistan to strengthen guarding of its frontiers jointly with the operative groups OfRussian border troops.
The armed forces of Turkmenistan number about 35 thousand people. There are formed the General Headquarters and Headquarters of Armed Forces and Rear Services of Turkmenistan, as well as the Headquarters OfNational Air Forces and Air Defence and Land Forces.
The President OfTurkmenistan, Chief Commander of the Armed Forces OfTurkmenistan Mr. Saparmurat Niazov, while declaring that Turkmenistan will follow the principles of positive neutrality, stresses that his country will achieve these goals with the support of Russia.
It is noteworthy that the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan employ many Russian military officers, and the Defence and National Security Council of Turkmenistan includes the Head of the Operative Sector of the Russian Defence Ministry in the Defence Ministry OfTurkmenistan Major-General V.M.Zavarzin, Commander of Border Troops K. Kabulov and his First Deputy V.S. Grishchak.
It is obvious that without Russian support Turkmenistan will not be able to guard its 2300 km- Iong border with Afghanistan and Iran in the nearest future.
Another feature of the formation of the armed forces of Turkmenistan is that its officers are being trained at military schools not only of Russia, but also those of Turkey. Turkmenistanhas agreements on training its officers with the defence departments of Iran and Pakistan as well.
Radical geopolitical changes which happened in the world after the dissolution of the USSR and the appearance of substantially new threats to the security of the states dictate the necessity of the elaboration of new approaches to the formation and functioning of a collective security system and geography of its members.
Economic, social and political, interethnic, and eventually state and territorial instability in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia undermines the international security. Fromthe military and strategic standpoint, the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty and the single defence space of the USSR has contributed to that.
Nothing emerged to replace it. NATO is the only real and effective military and political alliance left in Europe which is comparable by its military power only with Russia. Eastern European states which escaped the external ring of the Soviet Empire want to enter NATO, though it is not in a rush to accept them due to a number of reasons, one of most important being the desire not to change too radically the geostrategic balance that would push Russia to neoimperial revival.
Attempts to create a new system of collective security within the framework of the CIS so far haven’t been successful. The cool attitude of Russia towards the Taslikent Agreement on Collective Security signed in May 15, 1992, its orientation more towards bilateral rather than multilateral cooperation in a military field, negative attitudes of a number of the CIS states to the idea of the creation of the system of collective security or attempts to use it in cases of confrontation between each other (Armenia and Azerbaijan) are considerably hindering the process of reintegration of the defence space of the former Soviet Union.
Another hindrance is the absence of real external threat for the CIS states. More realistic are threats to their security from each other. Lieutenant-General L. Ivashov, Secretary of the Council of Defence Ministers of the CIS, considers that "CIS countries have a right to consider NATO as a factor of military threat". He draws his conclusion on the basis of a possibility of NATO expansion to the east .
Does the issue of "NATO threat" really exist? This is a disputable question. If certain circles in Russia consider the "expansion of NATO to the east" as a real external threat to the national security of the Russian Federation, the other states of the post-Soviet space do not think in this way. Anyway, nobody, except the President of Belarus A. Lukashenko, supported the statement OfDefence Minister RGrachev that in such case the CIS states should set up a military block. And how could one support such proposals taking into account the Russian policy of neoimperial pressure, its desire to dominate on the territory of the former Soviet Union and many other aspects of the real, not declarative Russian policy in the near abroad.
If Russia wants to protect its interests on the international arena using the CIS and the united defence potential, then it is obvious that it should build its relationships with the other CIS members on the basis of equality, rather than domination as it is expressed in the Decree of the President of the RF, dated September 14, 1995, on the approval of the strategic course of the Russian Federation in the CIS.
The Agreement on cooperation in the protection of the borders of the CIS countries with the non-CIS states was signed on May 26, 1995. It was signed by Armenia. Belarus. Georgia. Kazakhstan, Russia. Tajikistan. The list of the countries which did not sign it included Azerbaijan, Moldova. Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine.
According to this Agreement the parties bear mutual responsibility for the provision of guarding of their sections of the frontier, taking into consideration the security interests of the Parties (Article 3) [7, p. 44].
The Russian Federation also signed bilateral agreements on the protection of the external borders with a number of CIS countries.
At present, the system of the united air defence of the former republics of the Soviet Union is being built up.
Neither Russia, nor Central Asian states are able to equip new state borders among themselves. According to Russian estimates, the equipment of one kilometer of frontier would cost no less than 1 billion Roubles. An acute issue for Russia is whether to continue to guard the Tajik-Afghan 1300 km long border, or to leave Tajikistan and to start the equipment of a new Kazakhstan-Russian border which is 6200 km long. As for the Central Asian states, they cannot afford the equipment of new state borders. Therefore, it is in the interests of Russia and Central Asian states to leave "transparent" borders among themselves and strengthen the guarding of outer borders of the CIS. especially the Tajik-Afghan section.
A real danger in the foreseeable future is not any external threat, but the possibility of disintegration of the newly independent states as a result of interethnic, intraetlmic. regional, tribal and other contradictions caused by social and economic chaos and crisis of power or actions of external forces.
This is confirmed by the events in the former Yugoslavia. Moldova. Transcaucasia and Tajikistan. People and politicians of the Ukraine are facing a threat of the breakdown of the state for ethnic and religious reasons and opposite geopolitical orientations. This threat is realistic for Russia as well, for it is being affected by increasing regionalism caused not only by ethnic reasons, but even by geographic ones.
Despite the fact that the number of "hot points" on the post-Soviet space is growing, so far no one is able to eliminate discrepancy of interests of CIS states regarding the participation and funding of peacekeeping operations.
The first attempt to create peace-keeping forces of the CIS was undertaken at the Kiev summit of the CIS states on March 21, 1992. There was signed the Agreement on Groups of Military Observers and Peace-Keeping Collective Forces in the CIS.
The Nagorny Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia served as the backbone for such decision. Azerbaijan signed it with the note saying "The Agreement comes into force after the ratification by the Parliament of the Republic", and Ukraine added "In every concrete case the decision on the involvement of Ukraine is to be made by the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine."
During The Taslrkent summit on 15 May 1992, the leaders of the countries signed the Protocol on the Status of Groups of Military Observers and Peace-Keeping Collective Forces, and the Protocol on Recruitment. Structure. Logistics and Funding of Groups of Military Observers and Peace-Keeping Collective Forces in the CIS. These documents were not signed by Belarus. Moldova and Turkmenistan.
As for the Protocol on the Temporary Order of Recruitment and Performance of Groups of Military Observers and Peace-Keeping Collective Forces in the Zones of Conflicts between the States and within the Member-States of the CIS. it was not signed by Azerbaijan, Belarus. Turkmenistan and Ukraine.
On September 24, 1993, in Moscow. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan signed the Agreement of the leaders of the CIS states on Collective Forces and Joint Measures for Material and Technical Supply.
Also there was adopted the Regulation on the United Command of Collective Peace-Keeping Forces, and shares of member-states in the funding of the UC CPKF were approved. Russia covers 50%. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, by 15%, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, by 10%.
It was decided to form CPKF by October 1, 1993, and to provide their arrival to their destinations on the agreed terms. It was decided to form CPKF for the period of six months. Further, on the request of the government of a hosting country, their stay on the territory of the hosting country may be prolonged by the resolution of the leaders of member-states. Major discussion topics during the meeting of Defence Ministers of the CIS states in Moscow. July 18-19, 1994, were peace-restoration operations in Abkhazia and Tajikistan.
Taking into account the fact that peace-keeping forces and funds from the UN are not available for Abkhazia and Tajikistan, Russia proposed to create a special foundation at the HQ for the coordination of military cooperation of the CIS countries. In this case the peace-keeping activities of the CIS states would be reflected not only in the physical participation, but also in cost-sharing of certain expensive operations.
However, due to economic and financial difficulties, and, probably, because of the fear to be involved in conflicts far away from their own territories, there were proposed other variants of financing peace-keeping operations. So, Kazakhstan proposed that CIS members should participate in such operations according to territorial features, rather than pay shares for every operation on the territory of the entire CIS.
The post-Soviet space will serve as an arena of interethnic and interstate conflicts for a long time. Demand for peace-keeping operations will be rising. Who will be conducting them: only Russia or cooperative peace-keeping forces of the CIS, where the dominance of Russia will be present, or international peace-keeping forces with a mandate from the UN or OSCE? This question is very important in the post- Soviet space.
It became obvious that the UN cannot afford involvement of peace-keeping forces because of the shortage of funds and lack of interest from the side of the majority of Afro-Asian-LatinAmerican members. The attention and funds of the UN are already spread all over the world in 17 peace-keeping operations costing 3.6 million USD a year .
The UN has contributed very little to the resolution of the conflicts in Transcaucasia and Tajikistan. It tried instead to give a greater role in the resolution of these problems to the OSCE. The first place to test the OSCE was the conflict in Nagorny Karabakh. There already exists and is being implemented actively the "Consolidated Plan of OSCE, CIS and Russian Federation" on Nagorny Karabakh. The OSCE has sent observers to Tajikistan.
It is noteworthy, that both the West and the conflicting states within the CIS prefer the involvement of Russian troops, if any, only under the international control. Obviously, this reflects the fear of the conduct by Russia of neoimperial policy under the umbrella of peace-keeping operations.
Neither the UN, nor OSCE and NATO want to free Russia’s hands in the post-Soviet space, allow peacekeeping operations without an international mandate.
During the meeting of the Interstate Council of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, held in Jambyl on December 15, 1995, the countries signed the resolution on the formation of joint peace-keeping battalion of three countries under the aegis of the UN and the agreement on the organization and formation of a collective peace-keeping battalion.
Presidents N. Nazarbaev, A. Akaev and I. Karimov appealed to the UN Secretary General Mr. Butros Gali with the request to send a UN mission for consultations with representative of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence, as well as for the preparation of required documents in order to join the Agreement on Reserve Forces of the UN.
The Presidents of three Central Asian states decided to form a joint peace-keeping battalion because of their concern with the situation in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps, it was initiated by the understanding of the inefficiency of collective peace-keeping forces in the framework of the CIS.
Economic orientations of the Central Asian states do not coincide. Kazakhstan is mostly interested in development of trade and economic relations with Russia and other states situated in the European part of the CIS due to the established close contacts in the framework of a single economy of the USSR. Kyrgyzstan has similar orientations, however, a smaller economy and its smaller dependence on Russia allow it to hope on solving its economic problems in the framework of Central Asian integration and cooperation with China.
Tajikistan war-torn and disliked by Uzbekistan has to gravitate toward Russia, in fact it is Russia’s protectorate.
Uzbekistan making pretensions to being the regional leader shows its rather cool if not negative attitude to integration processes in the CIS framework.
Turkmenistan counting on its rich natural gas reserves and geographic remoteness declared a policy of permanent neutrality and doesn’t participate in in integration processes both in the framework of the CIS and in the region of Central Asia.
Taking into account different orientations of the newly independent Central Asian states, unfortunately, it should be stated that presently the region of Central Asia cannot be characterized as an integrated economically and politically region.
Central Asia, despite the common historic fortunes and interests of the states of the region, is pregnant with potential conflicts. They can emerge both on economic (land and water disputes) and ethnic grounds (bloody clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the town of Osh in summer 1990). There is a disguised rivalry for leadership in the region between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. As Russian researcher V. Y. Belokrenitsky forecasts: “it is conceivable that in prospect an overfall of potentials among the states of the region and (or) aggravation of internal problems will make Uzbekistan look for a way out along the
use-of-force tracks of open or masked expansion. An obvious consequence of such a development will be alienation between it and Kazakhstan.” [8, p. 44].
It is well-known that Central Asia suffers from shortage of water resources. Disputes about the distribution of water resources can instigate interstate conflicts, especially between the “upper-stream” states (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) and “lower-stream” states (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan).
On 23 September 1993, the deepening of cooperation among Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan was marked with the signing of an Agreement on creation of an economic union. On 10 February 1994, a Single Economic Space was declared. On 8 July 1994, an Interstate Council was created; later appeared its Executive Committee. Then a Central Asian Bank for Development and Cooperation was created. A Program for economic cooperation until 2000 is being worked out.
Due to the efforts of President of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbaev, President of Uzbekistan I. Karimov and President OfKyrgyzstanA. Akaev, there were created a foundation for the union of Central Asian states and specific mechanisms (Interstate Council of the three Central Asian states and its Executive Committee) allowing for the creation of a single economic space in the region. This union is open to all the other states ofthe CIS.
Integration processes in Central Asia go far beyond just economy. New aspects appear - political, legal, humanitarian, and those of information and regional security.
It’s noteworthy that the integration of three Central Asian states is deepening both in the spheres of economy and defence. A Council of Ministers of Defence has been created which is supervising the development of specific proposals for military cooperation.
At the session of the Interstate Council of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan which took placeon 14 December 1995 inZhambyl the Regulations on the Council OfMinisters OfDefence of these three states were confirmed. In accordance with them, the Council of Ministers of Defence, as a working organ of the Interstate Council, considers all issues in the sphere of regional security, defence interaction and military cooperation. In the framework of the latter it will coordinate the operative and military training, air defence, mutual supplies, and repair of weapons and
equipment, research in the military sphere, etc.
At the same session, a decision on formation of a joint peace-keeping battalion of three states under the aegis of the UN and Agreements among these Republics on organization and formation of a collective peace-keeping battalion were signed.
At the later summits, it was decided to prepare and conduct trainings of the Central Asian battalion under the aegis of the UN with the participation of multi-national forces on the territory of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and the Regulations on the Central Asian peace-keeping battalion under the aegis of the UN were signed.
At the Bislikek session of the Council OfMinisters of Defence which took place on 10 January 1997 an Agreement on creation of a Committee of the Headquarters Heads was reached. Its main tasks are planning and coordination of military activities, training, conduct of joint trainings. Special attention will be paid to preparation and conduct of the coming summer military training of the Central Asian peacekeeping battalion with the participation of the US.
The activities of the Committee as well as those of the Council OfMinisters OfDefence will be conducted in strict accordance with the aims and objectives of the Agreement on collective security of the CIS states.
The readiness and political will of three Central Asian states to deepen the process of integration were manifested by the signing on 10 January 1997 in Bislikek of an Agreement on friendship by the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
The Central Asian states have a lot in common from the historic, cultural, linguistic and religious points of view. Of course, the integration of the states of Central Asia is hindered by the similarity of their economies - all of them are mostly raw material economies. To reach close cooperation among the raw material economies isn’t easy. However, this process is underway; new projects appear which despite their modest scale help to solve problems of the regional development and complete each other.
The geopolitical situation that emerged by now around Central Asia is such that integration processes in Central Asia have a deeper and more dynamic character than similar processes in the CIS. At the same time, bilateral and multilateral relations within the framework of the CIS and OEC are developing.