TASHKENT, March 27. /TASS/. Moscow maintains strategic partnership and allied relations with Central Asian states, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a high-level international conference in Afghanistan dubbed Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity, being held in Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent on Tuesday.
According to Lavrov, Central Asia has an important place in Russia’s foreign policy priorities. "Russia maintains strategic partnership and allied relations with the regional countries in almost all areas, both bilaterally and within the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) and other integration structures," the Russian top diplomat pointed out, adding that political dialogue with Central Asian states "is highly open and based on mutual trust."
Lavrov also pointed to the successful development of economic ties. "Russia’s investment in the region amounts to about $20 bln, more than 7,500 Russian and joint companies operate here," he noted.
Russia’s aid to the regional countries, including participation in multilateral projects, has exceeded $6 bln, Lavrov added.
In addition, the Russian foreign minister stressed that the countries were boosting cooperation between law enforcement agencies, as Russia was providing significant assistance to Central Asian states on a pro bono basis. "Large-scale cooperation between Russia and Central Asian states, as well as out assistance, strengthens their ability to counter threats such as terrorism, extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration," Lavrov said.