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Majlis Podcast: Central Asian Leaders Summit -- What Do They Hope To Achieve?

(Clockwise from left:) Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev will all be attending the upcoming Central Asian summit, but their Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will not be going. (composite file photo)

The first summit of Central Asian leaders in nearly a decade is set for March 15 in Astana though it is already clear that one of the five presidents will not attend.

While it is true that Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will not be coming, Ashgabat is at least sending a delegation led by the speaker of the parliament. In the past, Turkmenistan often did not send anyone to such meetings.

This week's Majlis Podcast looked at the upcoming summit and the main talking points included: why the meeting is being held now; what the leaders have to discuss, what they could realistically accomplish at this gathering; and how much of an effect Berdymukhammedov's decision not to attend might have on this latest attempt at regional cooperation.

Moderating the discussion was RFE/RL's media relations manager, Muhammad Tahir.

Joining the talk from Boston was Bakyt Beshimov, a former Kyrgyz lawmaker and currently a professor at Northeastern University. Taking part from Prague, we had Farruh Yusupov, the director of RFE/RL's Turkmen Service (known locally as Azatlyk), who is a native of Uzbekistan. I've also been watching efforts at regional cooperation in Central Asia for a long time now, so I had some things to say as well.

Majlis Podcast: Central Asian Leaders Summit: Why Now And What Do They Hope To Achieve?
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About This Blog

Qishloq Ovozi is a blog by RFE/RL Central Asia specialist Bruce Pannier that aims to look at the events that are shaping Central Asia and its respective countries, connect some of the dots to shed light on why those processes are occurring, and identify the agents of change. Content will draw on the extensive knowledge and contacts of RFE/RL's Central Asian services but also allow scholars in the West, particularly younger scholars who will be tomorrow’s experts on the region, opportunities to share their views on the evolving situation at this Eurasian crossroad. The name means "Village Voice" in Uzbek. But don't be fooled, Qishloq Ovozi is about all of Central Asia.