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Blinken meets Kazakhstan leaders in trip to boost US influence in Central Asia


Kabul: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Kazakhstan on Tuesday for a series of meetings with top diplomats of Central Asian nations to boost US influence in Central Asia.

Blinken’s visit to the capitals of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan on Tuesday marks his first trip to the region as the Biden administration’s top diplomat.

He will meet the foreign ministers of all five Central Asian states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in Astana on Tuesday before heading to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.

The trip is reportedly aimed to expand Washington’s regional presence.

“Our main goal is to show that the United States is a reliable partner, and we see the difficulties that these economies are facing — high food prices, high fuel prices, high unemployment,” Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South Asia and Central Asia, said at a news briefing.

In Astana, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in a meeting with Blinken on Tuesday said that they have “built very good and reliable long-term partnerships in so many strategically important areas like security, energy, trade and investments.”

According to the reports, Blinken is supposed to go to Uzbekistan later on Tuesday, and during his trip to central Asia, he will also participate in the G20 summit in India.

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