forms and mechanisms for the development of cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, investments, transport and transit, agriculture, industrial cooperation, protection of environment, energy, water resources, tourism, science and culture.In short, they pledged to develop in Central Asia something akin to ASEAN, the Nordic Council, the Vishegrad Group, or Mercosur. After centuries of being played against one another, the Central Asian states have linked arms to advance their common welfare.
I know that we share a common past, a common culture, common values, and common understandings, and we also face common threats. Furthermore, I know that we all know each other far better than outsiders know us.Acknowledging this basis for mutual collaboration in Central Asia, one should also note that some of the most successful regional entities globally are comprised of countries that differ radically from one another. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) includes among its member states Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim countries. While some of them boast participatory governments based on market economies, they also include authoritarian and communist states. In population ASEAN countries range from Indonesia (271 million) to Singapore (5.7 million) and Brunei (430,000). And yet they collaborate effectively through a complex web of coordinating, consultative, and legislative bodies in virtually every field of endeavor. Similarly, the venerable Nordic Council, formed in 1952, includes both members of the European Union and nonmembers, as well as members of NATO and nonmembers.