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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, October 16, 2018

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US presents new assistance programs for Central Asia

Committed to prosperity, sovereignty, stability and security

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Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Nov. 2 By Demir Azizov – Trend: The US Department of State has announced new assistance programs for countries in Central Asia.

In a message issued Nov. 2, the Department of State said the US is firmly committed to prosperity, sovereignty, stability and security in Central Asia, and to regional economic relations as part of the development of the New Silk Road.

Since 1991, when Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan declared their independence, the US has provided some $8.8 billion in assistance programs throughout Central Asia.

The Department of State further said the new multi-year assistance program for Central Asia aims to increase the competitive capacity of the economies in the region.

The program is aimed at expanding exports in horticulture, transportation and logistics, and establishing ties with business and commercial organizations in foreign markets, including those of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The program also seeks to create jobs and train young people.

Additionally, training will be held to educate new personnel in managing shared water resources, as part of a new multi-year program, called Smart Waters.

The Smart Waters program, designed for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan, is to be implemented through the Central Asian Regional Environmental Center (CAREC).

Plans also call to continue support of the American University of Central Asia, located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which in 2002 received over $30 million from the US.

The support for the university will also be furthered through providing scholarships and programs aimed at the university’s long-term sustainability.

A new three-year project to support teachers and students of English in Central Asia, includes the introduction of innovative approaches in teaching English, as well as sending 30 US experts to the region for workshops, curriculum development and teacher training.

Meanwhile, a meeting of foreign ministers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with the US secretary of state, held Nov. 1 in the Uzbek city of Samarqand, approved the creation of the C5+1 talks format for regular political dialogue among the six countries’ foreign ministers.

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