In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, Kazakhstan has offered humanitarian aid to its Central Asian neighbours Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, answering a request by Bishkek and Dushanbe.
The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, took the decision earlier this week to provide humanitarian assistance to its two neighbours. This includes 5,000 tons of Kazakhstan’s flour for each country worth more than $3 million.
The decision was made following the official requests of the Kyrgyz and Tajik sides for food supplies.
Both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have applied for IMF emergency financing. An IMF official said Tajikistan could potentially receive the equivalent of its IMF quota which stands at about $240 million. Neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, which has already received $121 million from the fund, has asked to double the sum, fully utilising its own quota.
Tajikistan has so far confirmed no coronavirus cases on its soil. However, “mysterious deaths” have been reported, with symptoms very similar to coronavirus. Kyrgyzstan on Thursday (16 April) had 466 confirmed cases and 5 deaths.
Several strange deaths in Tajikistan, one of the few countries in the world claiming to be coronavirus-free, are generating suspicion https://t.co/ug3liiw9X6
— Eurasianet (@EurasiaNet) April 14, 2020
Kyrgyzstan has also applied for debt relief from China.
Jeenbekov asks Beijing for debt relief, how Beijing responds will be an interesting public precedent for Central Asia. Its all-but-certain Bejing has given such aid to Turkmenistan in the past though there are no public details https://t.co/JxPrcNwUPA
— Maximilian Hess (@zakavkaza) April 15, 2020
In a telephone conversation with President Tokayev, the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon expressed his gratitude for the humanitarian assistance and support for the Tajik people. He also expressed his gratitude for the assistance in the evacuation of Tajik citizens to their homeland since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, and the transit of goods through the territory of Kazakhstan.
During the telephone conversation between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Mukhtar Tleuberdi and the Foreign Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Chingiz Aidarbekov, the Kyrgyz side thanked Kazakhstan for the decision to provide humanitarian assistance.
Kazakhstan is taking active steps to combat the global coronavirus pandemic, and continues to provide humanitarian aid to partner countries.
Kazakhstan was one of the first to provide partnership support to China in February amid the Covid-19 pandemic, carrying out several deliveries of medical protective equipment.
In a recent speech the first President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed that help for close or distant neighbours is paramount for the country’s foreign policy.
As a result of systemic reforms, the country’s economy, previously relying mostly on the export of minerals and oil, diversified and agriculture received a powerful impetus for development: According to Nazabayev, Kazakhstan not only reliably provided itself with meat, milk and food products, but also has become one of the six leading countries in the world in the export of grain.