The head of the American diplomacy will pay a visit to Central Asia
< /p> UPDATE DAY
US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken will visit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan next week, Washington announced on Thursday, as it seeks to strengthen ties with these former Soviet republics.
The US Secretary of State will travel to Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on Tuesday for talks before heading to Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan.
He will then go directly to a meeting of ministers G20 Foreign Affairs in the Indian capital New Delhi, the State Department said in a statement.
The trip will take place shortly after the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With the notable exception of Belarus, the former Soviet republics have not openly supported Vladimir Putin in his war, despite their close ties to Moscow.
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, had called for “joint collective searches for a formula for peace” in Ukraine. He also let into his country tens of thousands of Russians fleeing to escape the partial mobilization decreed by Mr. Putin at the end of September.
“For Kazakhstan, Russia has always been and remains the main strategic partner,” Mr. Tokayev nevertheless declared during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in the Kremlin at the end of November.
Uzbekistan has also remained on the sidelines of the Ukrainian conflict. Its president Chavkat Mirzioev has carried out important economic and social reforms, but despite progress, Uzbekistan is still accused by NGOs of flouting fundamental freedoms.
China is also seeking to extend its influence in the region. Its President Xi Jinping chose Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in September for his first trip outside his country since the Covid-19 pandemic.