NEW YORK – Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Erlan Idrissov visited New York from Sept. 22-27 to pledge support for the United Nations, promote Kazakhstan’s candidacy for the UN Security Council for 2017-2018 and advance bilateral ties with more than 50 countries in meetings held on the margins of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly.
In a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 26, Idrissov reaffirmed Kazakhstan’s interest in building up the UN presence in Central Asia and its willingness to provide necessary assistance, including through the planned establishment of a UNregional diplomacy hub in Almaty. Ban Ki-moon praised Kazakhstan’s contribution to regional and global security and development.
Earlier in the week, during a Sept. 22 meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Idrissov outlined the prospects of his country’s development under the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, stressing that the goal of the strategy is to join the 30 most developed countries by 2050. According to the foreign minister, the strategy provides great opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation with the United States and other foreign partners. Both Idrissov and Kerry stressed the importance of an early conclusion of negotiations on Kazakhstan’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Idrissov repeated Astana’s strong support for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis in accordance with the agreements reached at the summit in Minsk last August. Kerry praised Kazakhstan’s contribution to strengthening regional security, including helping to stabilise Afghanistan, as well as the country’s constructive and balanced foreign policy. He also confirmed the interest of the United States in further strengthening political and economic cooperation.
According to the U.S. State Department, “Secretary Kerry reiterated the strong U.S. support for Kazakhstan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and its increasing leadership on the world stage.”
Idrissov also invited Kerry to visit Kazakhstan and invited American companies to participate in EXPO 2017 in Astana.
On the same day, Idrissov met with representatives of American companies, including Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft, Citigroup and Chevron. They discussed strengthening cooperation and the prospects of doing business in Kazakhstan in light of new incentives for foreign investors announced this year. The business people welcomed the introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of the U.S. and nine other countries and expressed a desire to expand their business in Kazakhstan, particularly in the non-primary sector.
The Kazakh minister held a series of bilateral meetings with his foreign colleagues, including Foreign Minister of Costa Rica Manuel Gonzalez Sanz and Foreign Minister of Algiers Ramtane Lamamra. During these meetings, the sides discussed the current situation and prospects of bilateral relations, ways to enhance cooperation within international organisations and topical international issues.
On Sept. 23, Idrissov participated in the UN Climate Summit 2014, where he explained Kazakhstan’s position and efforts regarding global climate change. Idrissov emphasised that climate change is an international threat. “That is why mitigation and adaptation to climate change should not be limited to the needs of one country or region, but should cover the entire international community,” he stressed. He briefed summit participants on policies and measures undertaken in Kazakhstan. “Growth of the green economy [and] efficiency of the renewable energy sector have a paramount priority on the path toward achieving the goal of joining the 30 most developed countries. Undoubtedly, Kazakhstan is one of the largest producers of traditional energy sources, but we strive to reduce the energy intensity of our gross domestic product and carbon emissions in the energy sector. To date, we have adopted laws and regulations that form the legal basis for the conduct of such policies and measures that will achieve our ambitious targets for the green economy,” Idrissov said.
The Kazakh foreign minister held talks with the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad bin Amin Madani, during which cooperation between Kazakhstan and the OIC was discussed, including the further institutionalisation of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) in Astana, created under the initiative of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in December 2013.
On Sept. 24, the Kazakh delegation participated in the opening of political debates of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, which included remarks by Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, U.S. President Barack Obama and others.
The delegation also participated in a UN Security Council meeting chaired by the United States, titled, “Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.” Kazakhstan was among the co-sponsors of the council’s unanimously adopted resolution introducing tough measures against participants in extremist organisations.
On the same day, Idrissov met Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier, as well as the foreign ministers of Lesotho, Moldova, Niger, Sudan and Uruguay. The parties discussed cooperation and collaboration within international organisations and Kazakhstan’s bid for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for 2017-2018, and exchanged opinions on international issues.
Idrissov also participated in a number of events organised within the framework of the UN General Assembly, where he talked briefly with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, King of Spain Philip VI, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and her successor, current Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. He also met with the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al-Hussein and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer.
He also conducted an unofficial meeting with foreign ministers of the G7+, which groups 20 conflict-affected or post-conflict states in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Idrissov briefed his counterparts on Kazakhstan’s road of political stability, dynamic development and establishing itself as a trustworthy partner of the international community, underlining Kazakhstan’s contribution to global security through energy, ecology and nuclear non-proliferation policies, the rehabilitation of Afghanistan and participation in peacekeeping missions, as well as the country’s great potential for supporting food security activities.
“Kazakhstan has been a contributor to the economic rehabilitation of Afghanistan. In keeping with the commitments made at the Chicago NATO Summit, we have allocated $2.38 million for the construction of social infrastructure in Afghanistan and provided humanitarian food supplies worth more than $17 million. We have also delivered a $50 million educational programme for Afghan students, which has allowed around 1,000 Afghans to study and gain a profession in some of Kazakhstan’s leading educational institutions. The first wave of Afghan students we hope will soon be playing their part in the reconstruction of Afghanistan,” Idrissov said.
The G7+ ministers positively assessed Kazakhstan’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Separately, Idrissov met with the foreign ministers of Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Nepal and the Czech Republic. The parties discussed cooperation and collaboration within international organisations.
With the foreign ministers of South Korea, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Haiti, Guatemala, Mauritania, Serbia and Jamaica, Idrissov discussed bilateral issues of partnership and cooperation in the framework of international organisations.
The Kazakh foreign minister also held substantive talks with Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and UN Deputy Secretary-General Gyan Chandra Acharya, discussing expanding cooperation and the implementation of specific projects in their areas.
On Sept. 26, Idrissov took part in the informal meeting of the UN General Assembly devoted to the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. “The problem of nuclear disarmament is one of the top priorities on the agenda of foreign policy initiatives of our country. In 2009, at the UN General Assembly, on the initiative of President Nazarbayev, Aug. 29 was established as the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Kazakhstan sees good opportunities for synergies and joint efforts of governments and the international community within the framework of these two dates,” he noted in his speech.
Idrissov also participated in the ministerial discussion, “The Ukraine Crisis, the OSCE and the Future of European Security,” chaired by President of the Swiss Confederation and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter. During the gathering Idrissov expressed his concern about the numerous civilian victims of the crisis in Ukraine and mutual sanctions by the West and Russia. He noted that Kazakhstan supports peace initiatives aimed at the speedy de-escalation of the conflict, including the Minsk peace agreements.
During the trip, Idrissov also addressed gatherings of the foreign ministers of the UN regional group for African states and the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), briefing both on the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy, Kazakhstan’s Concept of Foreign Policy for 2014-2020 and on Kazakhstan’s plans to increase its representation in their regions. Foreign ministers from Senegal, Gambia, Togo, South Sudan, Mauritius, Namibia, Ivory Coast and Lesotho, among others, attended the gathering of African states. Addressing CARICOM, Idrissov highlighted Kazakhstan and the CARICOM states’ shared positions on many issues, in particular the transition to green economy. Idrissov invited his colleagues to participate in EXPO 2017.