Kazakhstan seeking “new perspectives” for cooperation with Latin America

ASUNCION, June 3 (EFE) – Kazakhstan is seeking “new perspectives” for cooperation with Latin America via a series of diplomatic visits and accords as part of its desire to take on a greater role in the world, the Central Asian nation’s deputy foreign minister said here.

“In the current globalized world distance doesn’t matter as much as before,” Yerzhan Ashikbayev said in an interview with Efe.

The Kazakh official made a 32-hour journey to attend the 44th General Assembly of the Organization of American States, which got under way on Tuesday in Asuncion.

Kazakhstan has the largest delegation among the 39 observer nations present at the conference, which is being attended by the great majority of the foreign ministers in the Western Hemisphere.

The goal of the trip is to open “new perspectives of cooperation with Paraguay and with the region,” said Ashikbayev, who emphasized that Kazakh representatives have been in 27 of the region’s countries in the last two years.

Kazakhstan, a country with important reserves of petroleum, natural gas and minerals, has consular accords with Brazil, Argentina and Chile and is also interested in economic agreements.

“The issues of economic integration are of special interest to us,” said Ashikbayev.

The deputy foreign minister will travel on Thursday to Cuba and from there to Canada and the United States.

One of the issues on his agenda is his country’s candidacy for one of the non-permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council.

“Not only must the big countries be listened to, but also the small and medium countries should participate in the creation of the world’s future,” he said.

Kazakhstan is basing its campaign for getting a Security Council seat on promoting nuclear, energy, water and food security, factors that are “essential for the people’s wellbeing, prosperity and world development,” Ashikbayev said.

He also emphasized Kazakhstan’s experience as a country with more than 100 ethnic groups and 17 religions who live “in peace and harmony.”

“We can be a model for others,” he said.

In the economic sphere, Ashikbayev noted the recent creation of the Eurasian Economic Union, together with Russia and Belarus, which – when it enters into force on Jan. 1 – will create a $2 trillion market of 170 million people.

He also emphasized the “notable achievements” of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, or CICA, which emerged in 1992 at the initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to facilitate stability and cooperation at a time when the old Soviet republics were taking their first steps as independent nations.

“The idea was Kazakhstan’s but now it has the backing of the other Asian nations,” Ashikbayev said. EFE

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