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Slovenian Foreign Minister Rupel to lead the EU-Central Asia Troika – information

The Slovenian EU Council Presidency is to prepare an EU Troika meeting with the Foreign Ministers of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, on 9 and 10 April 2008. The EU delegation will be headed by the Slovenian Foreign Minister and current President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Dimitrij Rupel, and will also include the European Commissioner for External Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Special Representative for Central Asia, Pierre Morel, and French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, representing the next Presidency country.

Talks will focus on the implementation of the EU Strategy Paper for assistance to Central Asia adopted in June 2007, which provides the basis for bilateral and regional cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries. The main topics covered by the Strategy are the economy and trade, energy, education, the rule of law, human rights, environmental protection, the fight against organised crime, water management, and border management.

The first - and so far only - EU Troika in Central Asia was organised during the German Presidency in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The forthcoming high-level visit to the region, headed by Slovenia, will further boost cooperation between the EU and Central Asian countries, providing new impetus to the implementation of the Strategy in all areas.

Central Asia is becoming an increasingly important partner for the EU, particularly in terms of energy, as this region has one of the largest oil, gas and uranium reserves in the world. The security component is important too, and includes blocking the spread of drugs and religious extremism from Afghanistan and other countries of south and south-east Asia.


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Date: 03.04.2008