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

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The first summit of Central Asian leaders in many years 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.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.