The Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers, representing Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan, and the United States, have collectively committed to addressing the challenges confronting Central Asian nations. This joint statement was expressed at their meeting in Karuizawa, a city located in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture, which took place from April 16 to 18.
The G7 countries reaffirmed their support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Central Asian countries.
“We commit to working together with Central Asian countries to address regional challenges, including the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression, the destabilizing effect of the situation in Afghanistan, food and energy insecurity, terrorism, and the consequences of climate change. We are determined to foster sustainable connectivity, transportation, and trade and energy links to enhance regional prosperity,” the joint statement said.
The ministers said they remain committed to strengthening cooperation with Central Asian countries in the areas of socio-economic development, women’s economic empowerment, human rights, gender equality, domestic and institutional reforms and regional security.
“We welcome the intensification of regional cooperation of Central Asian countries in the abovementioned fields and remain committed to support such cooperation,” the foreign ministers said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed grave concern over the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and strongly condemned the Taliban’s decisions that infringe on human rights, including the increased restrictions on women’s rights. The Minister stressed the need for “persistent and direct” engagement with the Afghan authorities while continuing to provide assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
The G7 foreign ministers said the G7 should deliver a unified message to the Taliban to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a “safe haven for terrorism”, the statement said.
They also noted the importance of unhindered access for aid workers to effectively help Afghans.
The G7 countries said they would keep Russian assets frozen until Russia’s war against Ukraine is over.
They also expressed fears over China’s expanding nuclear arsenal and called on Beijing to negotiate with the United States to reduce strategic risks. The diplomats reiterated the importance of controlling items and technology that could be used for military purposes, mainly through multilateral export control regimes.
China’s Foreign Ministry said the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Japan was intended to slander Beijing.
Japan has intensified its efforts to develop relations with Central Asian countries in recent years. In November 2022, the Association of Diet Members for Japan-Central Asian Friendship was established in Tokyo, headed by Taro Aso, deputy chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and former prime minister.
In early December, the Central Asian Investment Forum was held in the Japanese capital, followed by the CA + Japan ministerial meeting at the end of the same month.
In April of the previous year, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi embarked on a tour of Central Asian nations, which included a stop in Uzbekistan. While in Tashkent, Hayashi pledged a loan of up to $200 million and conveyed Japan’s eagerness to collaborate with Uzbekistan on various pressing matters. These included the expeditious restoration of girls' education in Afghanistan, the establishment of an inclusive political system within the nation, and addressing the ongoing situation in Ukraine.