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Peters Visits Central Asia to Reaffirm U.S. Commitment to the Region, Help Counter Russian and Chinese Influence

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and member of the Armed Services Committee, recently returned from a congressional delegation to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan to demonstrate U.S. engagement and commitment and to help counter Russian and Chinese influence in the region.
“This trip was an important opportunity to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Central Asia and discuss security concerns in the region and our shared strategic goals,” said Senator Peters. “As Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine continues, it’s imperative that the United States stays engaged with partners around the world, particularly those with historical ties to Russia like the Central Asian states. The United States remains committed to working with these countries to deepen economic ties, further security cooperation, and ensure respect for territorial sovereignty by preventing Russian or Chinese dominance of the region.”
Peters met with government officials and civil society leaders throughout the region to discuss shared security, economic and political concerns. In Kyrgyzstan, Peters met with President Sadyr Japarov, Foreign Minister Jeenbek Kulubayev, and Defense Minister Baktybek Bekbolotov to discuss the relationship between Kyrgyzstan and the United States. Peters urged Kyrgyz authorities to combat Russia-related sanctions evasions and to reject the Russian-style 'Foreign Agents' legislation, which would negatively impact non-governmental organizations, pending before Parliament. In a meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Nurlanbek Shakiev, Peters conveyed U.S. support for Kyrgyz efforts to increase English language education. He also met with representatives from the National Democratic Institute to discuss democratic governance and accountability issues.
In Tajikistan, Peters met with Defense Minister Sherali Mirzo and Foreign Minister Sirojiddin Muhriddin to discuss security cooperation between the two nations and counterterrorism issues in the region.   
Peters also traveled to Kazakhstan, where he met with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Foreign Minister Murat Nurtleu and Defense Minister Ruslan Zhaksylykov to discuss the strategic partnership between the two countries and the prospects for further cooperation. Peters thanked Kazakh leaders for not supporting Russia in its illegal war in Ukraine and for their cooperation with U.S. authorities to combat Russia-related sanctions evasion. He also held a meeting with leaders of the international business community to discuss economic development and the investment climate in Kazakhstan and met with civil society groups to discuss press freedom concerns.
During visits with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Defense Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov and Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov in Uzbekistan, Peters stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship and the role of Uzbekistan in ensuring regional stability. He discussed security cooperation issues and thanked Uzbek officials for resisting Russian pressure to support their illegal invasion of Ukraine. Peters also met with Chairwoman of the Senate of Uzbekistan Tanzila Norbaeva to discuss democratic reforms and the need for closer economic ties between the two countries.