EU deepens dialogue on counter terrorism with five Central Asian countries

eu flagOn 24 and 25 April the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Mr Gilles De Kerchove, together with colleagues from the European External Action Service, visited Kazakhstan.

The purpose of his visit was to deepen the dialogue on counter-terrorism with five Central Asian countries; Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Over the course of two days the coordinator engaged among other things in conversations with think tanks and the chief Imam of the Almaty mosque as well as in a detailed dialogue with government officials of all five countries. Main topics of discussion were the preventing of radicalisation and terrorism, countering terrorist financing and foreign fighters.

This step-up in engagement is timely. Possible consequences of the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan this year as well as foreign fighters travelling to Syria to join terrorist groups pose new challenges for the region. “These problems are real and form a growing threat for both the EU and Central Asia” Mr De Kerchove said. “It is therefore important that we increase our cooperation in order to benefit from each other’s experiences in dealing with these challenges.”

In addition, the visit was organised in the context of a High Level Security Dialogue with the region that will be organised by the European Union in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in May.

In the aftermath of this visit and the High Level Security Dialogue the EU will look into concrete ways of supporting the Central Asian states to help further develop capacities to effectively counter radicalisation and terrorism as well as other security challenges. The Counter-Terrorism Coordinator stressed that with this capacity building effort special attention should also be paid to further strengthening respect for human rights and the rule of law.

 

 

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