Central Asia: Regional Security

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th October 2009.

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Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their priorities towards the central Asia region as regards (a) regional security and stability, (b) good governance, and (c) energy security.

Photo of Lord Malloch-Brown Lord Malloch-Brown Labour

The central Asia region, and our relationships with its five independent states, is important to a number of the Government's strategic objectives.

The Caspian basin is a region of growing importance for world energy markets. Kazakhstan is set to become one of the world's top 10 oil producers. The UK will potentially be a major importer of central Asian gas. The diversification of supplies to ensure energy security, for example, by the development of a southern corridor bringing gas from the Caspian region via Turkey to the EU, is a key priority.

We remain concerned about human rights and shortcomings in democratic values and the rule of law in many parts of the region. We regularly raise these concerns in our dialogue with central Asian governments and continue to work with EU, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other international partners to support real reform in these areas.

Central Asia is important to our efforts in Afghanistan as well as to combating drugs, the spread of religious extremism and international terrorism. With EU and other partners, we are monitoring the risk posed to regional stability by water management issues because of competing demands between upstream and downstream states.

We fully support the EU's Strategy for Central Asia. This aims to support the development and consolidation in central Asia of stable, just and open societies that adhere to international norms. It includes good governance, the rule of law, human rights, democratisation, education and training, and regional security and energy issues as key areas for co-operation.

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