Kazakhstan strengthens ties with neighboring leaders

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Astana/Kazakhstan, Brussels (30/10 – 33).

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has transformed Kazakhstan and its capital into a hub of political activity in recent weeks, with Astana hosting an array of international forums and summits that included Russia and western countries. A dim ray in the dark clouds of Central Asian border tensions, the war in the Ukraine and Russian ambitions, Kazakhstan could emerge as the Switzerland in Central Asia, but the road is long and thorny.

On October 13, 2022, President Tokayev inaugurated the sixth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit in Astana, Kazakhstan and highlighted the role of Asian countries in the 21st century. During the CICA Summit, Tokayev stressed sustainability in international relations, underlined the need to form efficient corridors to remove disruptions in supply chains and also pointed to the threats from climate change. Kazakhstan was the testing ground for Soviet nuclear missiles making sections of the country a nuclear waste land.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of CICA, the 27-member intergovernmental forum which was proposed by the first Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, during the 1992 session of the United Nations General Assembly. The global leaders who attended the CICA summit in Astana included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

After the CICA Summit, President Tokayev initiated the first meeting of Heads of State of Central Asia, which brought together five Central Asian state leaders and the European Council leader in Astana on October 27. The meeting was held to reaffirm commitment to continue building a strong diversified and forward-looking partnership underpinned by shared values and mutual interests.

The five state leaders attending the meeting are Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov (represented by Turkmenistan’s Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers Khodzhamurat Geldymuradov) and the European Council President Charles Michel.

Tokayev noted that it is symbolic that the meeting is held, as the Central Asian countries and the EU are to mark 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Tokayev added that Central Asia being at the crossroads of Asian and European Continents is a connecting bridge between geopolitical centers and global markets.

A joint press communique that was issued following the meeting noted that all leaders underlined their “full respect for international law and their commitment to uphold the UN Charter” and its values. The participants also expressed their deep gratitude to Kazakhstan for initiating and hosting the first meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and the EU and agreed to meet regularly.

Apart of holding the joint meeting, President Tokayev also held one-on-one meeting with the Kyrgyz President, during which Tokayev and Japarov discussed the countries’ interactions in transport and logistics as well as cultural and humanitarian areas.

President Tokayev also held a virtual meeting with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on October 22. The two leaders discussed the prospects for the development of an enhanced strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the European Union. Special focus was paid to cooperation in trade, investment, transport and logistics areas. Tokayev and von der Leyen also exchanged views on the international agenda.