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Central Asia

Introduction

1. France was one of the first Western countries to recognize the independence of the nations that make up Central Asia and to establish diplomatic relations with them. For France, just like for the European Union, the attention paid to Central Asia has been increasing with the identification of hydrocarbon resources in the Caspian Basin, making it one of Europe’s future sources of supply, especially in light of the post-11 September 2001 situation. France has embassies in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. France is represented in Kyrgyzstan by its ambassador to Kazakhstan. A diplomatic base, placed under the authority of this latter but directed by a diplomat permanently based in Bishkek, was opened in early September 2004.

2. Our involvement in Afghanistan and the logistical opportunities on which we have been able to rely in Central Asia (stationing of troops in 2002 in Kyrgyzstan, presence of an air detachment in Tajikistan, overflight rights) have caused us to enhance our political dialogue and our political, defence and national security cooperation with the countries of the region. We opened an embassy in Dushanbe in 2002. Our high-level contacts are increasing: the President of the Republic held talks with his Kazakh and Uzbek counterparts in Prague in November 2002 and again with his Kazakh counterpart outside the NATO Summit in Istanbul in June 2004; the Tajik President visited Paris in December 2002, as did the Kazakh President in June 2003 and the Kyrgyz President in October 2003; the Secretary of State visited Central Asia in November 2002, as did the Minister responsible for Foreign Trade in May 2003, the Minister of Industry in November 2004 (Kazakhstan) and the Minister of Defence in June and July 2003 (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan), visiting Tajikistan more regularly.

3. Having said that, along with our European partners, we are showing ourselves to be vigilant with regard to totalitarian deviations and the deteriorating human rights situation. This is particularly true in Turkmenistan, where this deterioration has been condemned by an EU initiative following condemnations issued by the OSCE, the Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations General Assembly (2003 and 2004). In Uzbekistan, we have supported - along with our European partners - the review of the engagement strategy of the EBRD, which decided to suspend almost all of its loans to the public sector and to redirect its activities to promote the fight against poverty and the development of small- and medium-sized businesses. Moreover, we bring individual cases of human rights violations to the attention of the Uzbek authorities on a regular basis.

4. Our trade with the countries of Central Asia is expanding progressively, in particular with those countries that boast a substantial supply of hydrocarbons. Kazakhstan is by far our leading trading partner, followed by Turkmenistan (construction of a refinery in Turkmenbashi, numerous Bouygues projects) and Uzbekistan (projects in the areas of cotton and water). A latecomer to Kazakhstan, Total holds 20.3% of the shares in the Kashagan oil field and hopes to acquire new stakes in the exploitation of offshore fields. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are eligible for the “Emerging Countries Fund” (Réserve Pays Emergents, RPE), which supports development projects.

5. For us, the stability of the Central Asian countries, which are especially exposed to new threats (organised crime, drug trafficking from Afghanistan, terrorism), is a key issue. Held in Paris in May 2003, the Conference on Drug Routes helped raise international awareness of Central Asia’s strategic role in drug trafficking. This is the mindset we have adopted in directing our cooperation with regard to security in the region (appointment for two years of a regional police attaché in Tashkent, assisting Almaty since the summer of 2003, and creation of a post in Dushanbe in the autumn of 2004). We are relaying this cooperation at European Union and OSCE levels focussing on three main lines: enhancing border security (European Border Management for Central Asia - BOMCA - which is entering its third phase with €836,800, increasing funds for the following phase with €8.58 million), combating drug trafficking (Europe’s Central Asia Drug Action Programme - CADAP - with $4.5 million for 2003-2004) and training police forces (the OSCE’s pilot project in Kyrgyzstan).

6. In late 2001, the EU doubled the amount of aid allocated to Central Asia (TACIS programme): it now amounts to €50 million/year and has clear priorities: encouraging reforms and the state of law, enhancing security and border control, supporting the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework that encourages foreign investment and the development of local initiatives. The EU has entered into partnership and cooperation agreements (PCA) with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and, just recently, with Tajikistan. (October 2004).

LATEST NEWSs

  • Afghanistan – Second round of the presidential elections (14.06.14)

    France commends the determination of the Afghan people who expressed their will on June 14 in the second round of the presidential elections. Despite threats and violence, voters turned out in large numbers, signaling their desire to contribute to the future of Afghanistan in a democratic manner.

  • Afghanistan – Presidential elections – Statement by Laurent Fabius (07.04.14)

    Despite the attempts at intimidation and acts of violence on occasion, a large number of voters went to the polls. France commends the courage and determination of the Afghan people who, in this way, signaled their determination to take control of their future and to see their country make progress on the path toward democracy and peace.

  • Afghanistan - Attack against journalists (04.04.14)

    France reaffirms its support for the journalists who work, with courage and determination, to promote the freedom of information in Afghanistan. It is mobilized, notably within the United Nations, to ensure that the safety of journalists is guaranteed everywhere.

  • Elections in Bhutan (13.07.13)

    France welcomes the holding, on July 13, 2013, of the second set of elections in Bhutan since the establishment of democracy. The success of these elections strengthens democratic progress in this country.

  • Laurent Fabius’s visit to China (16-19.05.14)

    This visit built on the momentum created by President Hollande’s state visit to China in April 2013 and that of President Xi to France in March 2014 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

  • Visit by Laurent Fabius to China (20-24.02.14)

    This visit, which falls within the context of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, was also aimed at preparing for the Chinese president’s state visit to France.

  • Visit by Mr. Laurent Fabius to China (12-13.04.13)

    Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited China from April 12 to 13. He went to Beijing and Shanghai. This visit allowed the minister to meet with the new Chinese authorities who took office in March and to prepare for the visit that President Hollande will make to China in the near future.

  • Telephone conversation between Laurent Fabius and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi (18.03.13)

    The minister congratulated his Chinese counterpart on his appointment. He underscored the importance France attaches to the development of French-Chinese relations in all areas. The two ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening French-Chinese partnerships in the civilian nuclear and aerospace sectors, while developing other partnerships. The minister reaffirmed the need to restore balance to and strengthen trade between France and China.

  • India – Visit by Laurent Fabius (30.06-01.07.14)

    This visit provided an opportunity to reaffirm the importance we attach to strengthening the French-Indian strategic partnership. This partnership is exceptional in the degree of confidence that underpins it and its level of ambition.

  • India – French–Indian consultations (17.06.13)

    These consultations confirmed the excellent nature of French–Indian relations which are based on a strategic partnership, the critical importance of which President Hollande reaffirmed during his state visit to India from February 14 to 15, 2013.

  • India – Attacks in Hyderabad (21.02.13)

    France utterly condemns the attacks that took place in Hyderabad on February 21, 2013, which indiscriminately targeted innocent victims, leaving at least 14 people dead and more than a hundred injured. Our Consul General in Bangalore immediately visited the area in order to express our solidarity with India and to ensure the safety of the French community.

  • India – Death of 36 people at the Kumbh Mela (11.02.13)

    We were deeply shocked to learn of the death of 36 people at the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in Allahabad. In these tragic circumstances which have plunged India into mourning, France would like to extend its condolences to the bereaved and express its solidarity with the Indian authorities and people.

  • Laurent Fabius’s visit to Indonesia and Vietnam (01-05.08.13)

    This visit reflects France’s determination to strengthen its relations with Southeast Asia. ASEAN, which has a population of almost 600 million, is France’s second largest trading partner in Asia. Mr. Fabius will be accompanied by French business leaders.

  • Japan – Entry into force of the 1980 Hague Convention (02.04.14)

    France welcomes the entry into force in Japan on April 1, 2014, of the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This convention provides for cooperation between the central authorities of our two countries in order to ensure the swift return of children to their country of usual residence as well as the enforcement of visiting rights.

  • Maldives – Presidential elections (21.11.13)

    France welcomes the holding of the second round of the presidential elections in the Maldives and the election of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. France commends the very high voter turnout.

  • Myanmar/ Burma – Death of opposition leader Win Tin (21.04.14)

    Win Tin, a journalist who began his career in the Agence France-Presse office in Yangon, embodied for more than 40 years the fight against oppression and the struggle for freedom alongside Aung San Suu Kyi, with whom he co-founded the National League for Democracy in 1988. He received the French Republic’s Human Rights Prize in 1998.

  • Myanmar – Situation in Rakhine state (12.02.14)

    France is concerned at the situation in Rakhine state. Sectarian tensions are being exacerbated by the humanitarian crisis and human rights violations facing Buddhist and Muslim communities – the vast majority of whom want peace, security and development.

  • Myanmar/Burma - Human Rights Watch report (22.04.13)

    We have taken note of the Human Rights Watch report, which accuses the Burmese authorities of having carried out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingyas and reveals a number of disquieting facts. It is up to the Burmese authorities to shed full light on the communal violence that has been taking place in Rakhine State for a year now.

  • Burma – Unrest in Meiktila (22.03.13)

    France is concerned by the violence that took place in the town of Meiktila which has resulted in the death of around 20 people. It extends its condolences to the people of Burma and to the bereaved. France urges the parties involved to demonstrate tolerance and restraint, and has confidence in the Burmese government to swiftly restore calm.

  • North Korea – Firing of missiles (26.03.14)

    The firing of these missiles, which undermines regional security and stability, constitutes a further violation of the UN security resolutions which require North Korea to refrain from any activity related to a ballistic missile program.

  • North Korea – Nuclear test (12.02.13)

    We call on North Korea to put an immediate end to its attempts to destabilize the region. It must fully implement without delay UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. We again urge it to resume dialogue with a view toward the complete, irreversible and verifiable dismantlement of its nuclear and ballistic program.

  • North Korea – Nuclear and ballistic missile programs (23.01.13)

    France reaffirms its condemnation of the launch of a long-range rocket on December 12 by North Korea. It again urges North Korea to immediately comply with its international obligations and to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner.

  • Pakistan – Attacks against Karachi airport (10.06.14)

    France strongly condemns the attacks that targeted Karachi airport during the night of June 8 to 9 and then again on June 10. It extends its condolences to the victims’ families and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

  • Pakistan - Attacks (08-09.04.14)

    France condemns the attacks targeted this morning against a market in Islamabad and yesterday against a passenger train at the station in Sibi in Baluchistan Province.

  • Pakistan – Attack in Peshawar (22.09.13)

    France condemns yesterday’s heinous attack on a church in Peshawar. France asks the Pakistani government to take all necessary measures to protection the populations targeted by these attacks.

  • Pakistan – Attacks (17.06.13)

    France strongly condemns the particularly heinous attacks that targeted a hospital and Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University in Quetta, Baluchistan, on June 15. This institution is supported by France as part of an excellence-based scholarship program.

  • Pakistan – Elections (11.05.13)

    France welcomes the holding of elections in Pakistan on May 11. They were marked by the strong and courageous mobilization of the voters, who, despite violence on the part of extremist groups, freely expressed the diversity of their opinions. France extends its heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the violence.

  • Pakistan – Car bombing at the Jalozai refugee camp (22.03.13)

    France strongly condemns the attack that targeted the Jalozai refugee camp in Pakistan. According to the latest reports, this attack killed 15 people and injured around 40 in this camp that provides shelter to people fleeing the fighting between Pakistani security forces and Taliban forces.

  • Pakistan – Anti-Shi’ite attack in Quetta (18.02.13)

    France utterly condemns the attack on 16 February in the city of Quetta in Balochistan. According to the latest toll, the attack – which targeted the Shi’ite Hazara community – left more than 80 people dead and some 200 wounded. In these tragic circumstances, France shares the grief of the victims’ loved ones. She reiterates her solidarity with the Pakistani people and stands alongside them in the fight against terrorism.

  • Typhoon in the Philippines – Update as of November 15, 2013

    On November 9, Mr. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed our wholehearted solidarity with the people of the Philippines who have been affected by Typhoon Yolanda/ Haiyan. According to the latest reports, this typhoon may have killed more than 10,000 people, affected hundreds of thousands of people and caused major damage.

  • Philippines – Ferry disaster (20.08.13)

    France was shocked to learn of the sinking of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas late on Friday night off the island of Cebu in the Philippines. It extends its sincere condolences to the victims’ families and friends.

  • News about the cooperation network - First joint committee on the France-Korea Year (16.04.14)

    The France-Korea Year will take place in France from September 2015 to July 2016, before continuing in Korea from March to December 2016. Numerous events during the course of this year will reflect our dynamic bilateral relationship in all areas. The events will focus on youth (contemporary music, comic strips, video, fashion, sport) and new art forms (digital arts, Twitterature).

  • Thailand - Imposing of martial law (20.05.14)

    France renews its appeal for a peaceful solution to the political crisis through dialogue, while respecting the constitution and democratic principles. In the current context, we call for respect for the prerogatives of the interim government, the only legitimate interlocutor, and urge the relevant authorities to establish a timetable for the holding of new parliamentary elections.

  • Thailand – Political situation (16.05.14)

    France is concerned by developments in the situation in Thailand. We urge the relevant authorities to establish, as swiftly as possible, a clear timetable for the holding of new parliamentary elections.

  • Thailand – Political situation (22.01.14)

    While the Thai authorities have just declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, France is concerned by developments in the political situation in the country. We condemn the increase in incidents and violence over the last few weeks.

  • Thailand – Demonstrations (10.12.13)

    We encourage Thailand’s political leaders to find a peaceful resolution that fully respects the institutional framework, the rule of law and democratic principles.

  • Situation in Thailand (26.11.13)

    France is closely monitoring developments in the situation in Bangkok. Dialogue must prevail, in accordance with the rule of law and the democratic institutions.

  • Vietnam – Sentencing of Pham Viet Dao (19.03.14)

    France deplores the sentencing of Vietnamese blogger Pham Viet Dao on March 19 to fifteen months in prison. We reaffirm our attachment to the freedom of expression and opinion, including on the Internet, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • Vietnam - Arrest of blogger Truong Duy Nhat (27.05.13)

    This arrest follows a series of convictions handed down against rights defenders in Vietnam since autumn 2012, which breach human rights. France notably expressed its concerns after two young Vietnamese, Nguyen Phuong Uyen and Dinh Nguyen Kha, were sentenced to heavy punishments on 16 May. France is particularly attentive to these issues, which are the subject of a dialogue between the European Union and Vietnam.

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