About Us Kazakhstan

Welcoming Address by H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of the Republic Kazakhstan

Dear Ministers,

Dear participants of the meeting!

Ladies and gentlemen!

While welcoming you to the Kazakh hospitable land, I would like to express my gratitude for your countries' active support to the work of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

First of all, on behalf of all the member states, let me congratulate the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates on joining our forum as full-fledged members and the State of Qatar as an observer.  This event demonstrates that the Conference on Interaction in Asia has turned into an important mechanism of multifaceted cooperation and gained great reputation in ensuring the lasting security in the Asian continent in front of the interested parties.

Dear Ministers,

Dear participants of the meeting!

Ladies and gentlemen!

In the East they say: the greatest illusion is an illusion of dissociation as we are all a part of the whole. Neither frontiers, nor language distinctions, political contradictions can cancel the unbiased fact, that we live on one planet on which it is necessary to create conditions for our children and grandchildren to live peacefully.

Today the world is experiencing uneasy time. In their confrontation with other countries, the states are increasingly resorting to heavy-handed methods and the use of radical rhetoric, thus adding to mutual distrust and tension. Belligerent cliches of cold war epoch, such as "zone of influence", "policy of domination", "strategy of dissuasion" are becoming increasingly loud. Seeing all this, makes us recall with alarm the Hegel's words: "the only lesson of history is that it never teaches peoples anything".

Famine, poverty, epidemics, environmental degradation, terrorism, drug trafficking – none of these global problems can be resolved without joint efforts of international community.

I note with satisfaction that the Kazakhstan's initiative on convening CICA, taken in 1992 at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly, has translated into a real factor of international relations and serves as an effective instrument for maintenance of safety and cooperation in Asia. Its viability is based on sincere hopes and aspiration of the continent's people to live in safer world, on the region's objective need in creation of infrastructure for open-minded and meaningful dialogue.

Over the past years, this initiative gone through a long evolution: from the idea of establishing peace and confidence in Asian continent to all way through the practical mechanisms of collective diplomacy. Two CICA summits were held to usher in new mechanism for maintenance of international safety on the continent.

The institutionalization phase in the forum's evolution is complete now. International Secretariat, Special working groups are successfully functioning, the Senior Officials Committee meets on a regular basis, implementation of the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures has been launched and is going on smoothly.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all member states who assumed coordinator role in various dimensions of the Forum's activities.

The CICA members are facing important challenges today. Using every facility of collective diplomacy, we should aim our efforts at combating international terrorism, religious extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration. To this end, it would be expedient to take practical steps towards establishing and strengthening cooperation in military and political dimension, which in long run should become one of the major dimensions of the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.

Unfortunately, there are many spots of instability and flash points on the Asian continent.

The situation in Afghanistan continue to be of great concern. This long-suffering country has become one of the largest centers of international drug industry, which accounts for nearly one third of annual turnover of "terrorism economy ".

Today every step should be taken to help Afghanistan to promptly move to peaceful life and restore its destroyed economy. The government of Kazakhstan has already adopted a special program of economic help to Afghanistan: funds have been allocated to construct roads, schools, hospitals, train professionals in a broad range of specialties.

I am also glad to note that the CICA member states have initiated the provision of reasonable economic help to Afghanistan, a member of our forum. I call upon all of you to support this initiative!

We should not forget about Iraq whose distressful people deserve better destiny. We need a stable and progressing neighbor in this region.
I do hope that efforts made by co-sponsors of the peace process in the Middle East, international and regional organizations, coupled with goodwill of participants of negotiating process, will bring about peace.

As a country which gave up nuclear weaponry, Kazakhstan supports the world community in its efforts to achieve universal nuclear disarmament. In this connection, we welcome the progress in phasing out the North Korean nuclear program achieved within the framework of six-party talks.

It is our firm belief that the issue of Iranian nuclear program should also be addressed using exclusively diplomatic methods.
I cannot circumvent the situation which has developed in South Ossetia and Caucasus as a whole. Recent developments have raised great concern over the future and safety of this region.

The attempted forceful solution of the conflict resulted in deaths of civilians in South Ossetia and Georgia as well as deaths among Russian peacemakers.  The Russia responded by using military force.  This seriously undermined the potential for political and legal resolution of this ethno-territorial problem, whose consequences are unpredictable not only for Caucasian region.  

Now one of priorities is urgent delivery of humanitarian aid. Kazakhstan is already providing material support to the affected population. It is obvious that it will take long and difficult way to find mutually acceptable solutions after the South Ossetian events.
The world community should undertake effective measures to normalize the situation in Caucasus and ensure dйtente in the region.
In this connection, we support the solution to this issue offered by the leadership of Russia based on the UN Charter, norms and principles of international law.

We are also in favor of increasing the number of international observers in the conflict area and enhancing their role.  Kazakhstan is willing to join in OSCE's efforts aimed at normalization of the situation.

Dear participants of the session!

Financial crisis, rising oil prices and soaring food prices – exactly these challenges will determine the modern global policy in the near future. All countries should try to take steps to mitigate the consequences of economic turbulence.

Today we see increasing number of states who realize the necessity of making joint efforts with their neighbors in the region. Being aware of collective responsibility for development, we urge our partners to jointly cooperate within the framework of “Cooperative Approach” in economic dimension.

One of important directions of CICA's activities is the development and strengthening of cooperation in the area of culture, inter-ethnic and inter-religious interaction.

Hard work in this sphere allows for rapprochement of cultures, mutual enrichment of nations of various countries, preservation of diversity, education, tolerance and even peaceful settlement of conflicts.

Kazakhstan, as the CICA Chairman-in-Office and the future Chairman of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), is confident that modern challenges can be adequately addressed through united efforts of the regions, only. For this purpose, it is expedient to establish effective cooperation between the two fora: CICA and ACD, which have much in common. We share the thesis put forward by Thailand that CICA and ACD are the two sides of the same coin: Rising Asia.

As you know, Kazakhstan's mandate, who has been chairing our Conference since 2002, expires in 2010. Time therefore has come to nominate the next Chairman. We suggest that Turkish Republic, one of the most active participants of CICA, be elected to this post. In our opinion, it is the optimal candidate for such an important post.

I am sure that implementation of the above tasks will allow us to come up to the Third CICA Summit, which will take place in 2010, with concrete results.

Ladies and gentlemen!

The world is highly appreciative of Kazakhstan's efforts aimed at strengthening of stability and safety, creation of favorable conditions for regional and global development.

Our country has made historical contribution to the nuclear disarmament process and strengthening the non-proliferation regime, by voluntary giving up the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal, as well as by shutting down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.

CICA and Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions have become integral parts of international relations system.

We are creating a new forum for dialogue between the West and the Islamic world entitled: "Common World: Progress through Diversity”. Its first meeting, to which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Muslim and Western countries are invited, will be held in Astana in October later this year.

A multi-billion project on revival of "the Great Silk Road" has been launched.The Western Europe and Western China will be soon connected through Kazakhstan by powerful transport corridors.

Astana is actively participating in the activities of international regional organizations, including SCO and EurAsEc.

Our initiative to create the Union of Central Asian Countries, which is and will be in demand in future, was given warm welcome.

Our country is playing increasingly important role as a responsible player in the Eurasian energy and food markets.

Thus, Kazakhstan is assuming the Chairmanship in regional associations not empty handed, but with large positive luggage which, certainly, will be offered for use of the public good, enhancing the role and authority of the above organizations.

Let me thank you all for taking part in this session, for high level representation of your countries and support to the CICA process.

I am convinced that we will not encounter intractable problems in Asia, if we address them with interaction and confidence.This understanding inspires us and strengthens our belief in the future.

We are sure of the efficiency of such multilateral mechanisms as CICA in ensuring safety and stability. Kazakhstan will always work together with those states which intend to facilitate the solution of complicated issues and problems of the entire region.

Today we’ve heard that there was a plane crash at the airport “Manas” in Kyrgyzstan, which has led to death of numerous passengers, including Kyrgyz and Kazakh citizens. On my behalf and on behalf of our people allow me to express our deep condolence, to the people of Kyrgyzstan, to relatives and families of the victims.

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

In order to institute efficient diplomatic system in the continent, an arduous work is still to be done. 

I think we should use this example to demonstrate to the entire world that the only correct rule in each state's foreign policy shall be tolerance, responsibility and dialogue.

I wish fruitful work to the Conference!

Thank you.