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Central Asia-Russia Summit in Astana discuss regional cooperation

The first-ever summit in the Central Asia-Russia format saw discussions on expanding regional cooperation and matters of mutual interests.

The summit held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Friday saw the attendance of the heads of state of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

“Based on the primary responsibility for ensuring our security, we will continue to encourage six-party cooperation and information exchange focused on countering terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, and illegal drug production and trafficking,” said a joint statement issued following the summit.

Russia and Central Asian countries also welcomed the creation of an international organization under the auspices of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to support and promote the Russian language.

The statement also said that the countries “intend to expand the practice of settlements in national currencies, taking into account the interests of the parties.”

Earlier, addressing the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country’s trade with Central Asian countries has doubled to $37.1 billion.

“Russia is the leading investor in the economies of the Central Asian countries; the total volume of our direct investments is about $5 billion,” he added.

“Russia is open to strengthening multilateral cooperation with our Central Asian friends, in particular, to participating in the creation of new production and supply chains, ensuring the smooth functioning of joint ventures, and building alternative logistics schemes,” he added.

The Central Asia-Russia Summit, the first of its kind, came amid various events held in Astana under the auspices of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Earlier on Friday, Astana hosted the CIS Heads of State Summit chaired by Tokayev.

On Oct. 12-13, the Kazakh capital also hosted the sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).