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Five Central Asian Nations Sign Cooperation Program At Uzbekistan Meeting

Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (right) meets EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Bishkek on November 9.

The foreign ministers of the five Central Asian nations -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- have signed a Program on Mutual Cooperation for 2018-19.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said the document was signed in the Uzbek city of Samarkand during the 13th annual EU-Central Asia ministerial meeting on November 10.

The document outlines joint efforts to boost security, trade and economic cooperation, investment, transportation, energy, tourism, and culture across the region.

The ministers also agreed to cooperate in international activities and within international organizations, such as United Nations, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and others.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica also attended the EU-Central Asia gathering in Samarkand.

They arrived in Samarkand from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where on November 9 they met with senior Kyrgyz officials.

In Samarkand, Mogherini said security experts will join the EU delegations to the five countries to assist local governments' efforts against terrorism. She cited as concerns preventing the radicalization of youth, the Iranian nuclear program, and achieving stability in Afghanistan.

Mogherini stressed the importance of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and expressed hope that Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan will also do so.

With reporting by Interfax and TASS