Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the European Union of attempting to push Russia out of Central Asia. According to him, Moscow will never leave Central Asia.
As reported by the AFP agency according to Ozodlik, Lavrov discussed this during an interview with journalists following negotiations between President Vladimir Putin and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan in Astana on November 9.
"The European Union does not hide its intention to squeeze us out of Central Asia and the Caucasus as much as possible. This will not happen. We have historical foundations in these regions. We will not leave. Our partners know this well," said Lavrov.
Lavrov's statement was in response to comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron on November 1 in Astana.
During negotiations with his counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Macron expressed support for the Kazakh government's efforts to avoid dependence on any single country. He also noted the pressure being exerted on Kazakhstan from various factors.
"Your country's choice to reject being a vassal of any major state and to seek cooperation with various countries on an equal footing is close to the strategy of France," Macron had said.
French President Macron also held negotiations with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Samarkand on November 2.
According to the press service of the Uzbek president, during the negotiations, "the leaders thoroughly discussed issues of further developing the comprehensive cooperation between France and Uzbekistan and agreed to elevate bilateral relations to the level of strategic partnership."