New Kyrgyzstan president makes first EU visit

The leaders of the EU institutions received the new Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov last week for talks that focused on steadily improving relations between the countries of Central Asia and the negotiation of a new Kyrgyzstan-EU agreement.

In a statement after the meeting, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he had congratulated Jeenbekov on his recent election and added that the two sides had started negotiations for a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Juncker said he had invited his guest to step up the fight against corruption and improve the situation with human rights and press freedom. He also said he had gladly accepted the invitation to visit Kyrgyzstan. “I am sure Kyrgyzstan has something to say to the world”, Juncker said.

Speaking in Russian, Jeenbekov said his visit was proof that his country considers the relations with the EU as a priority. He said Kyrgyzstan sees the EU as an important partner for its sustainable development and that Bishkek is ready for closer relations.

Jeenbekov is due to travel to Russia in mid-May to attend the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, and to china in June amid the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.