A NATO delegation plans to arrive in Astana in the first half of the year, said Estonian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Jaan Reinhold.
“We will greet NATO representatives in Astana during the first half of the year, as we have plans concerning holding a joint event in the second half of 2015,” explained Reinhold.
The Estonian diplomat also expressed hope to have a confidential dialogue between the parties during the upcoming meetings. He emphasised the active role of the country in the Central Asian region and its high engagement in promoting further cooperation, stability and peace.
“I hope that we will have a good and a long-term cooperation with the Kazakh Ministry of Defence, which will be based on trust, so we can plan some joint activities for the future,” said Reinhold.
According to him, the future NATO-Kazakhstan joint activities will be held in the framework of the Partnership for Peace programme, which centres on the development and exchange of experience for peacekeeping forces.
“The world has changed significantly after the recent events in Ukraine. We tried to explain and convey the importance of NATO to our partners more efficiently and the fact that NATO’s activities are based not only on military cooperation. Public diplomacy activities that are executed by the embassy in place are the best tool to review NATO goals and objectives,”said Reinhold.
He also mentioned the importance of the Estonian Embassy being a NATO Contact Embassy, which shows a gesture of trust from the North Atlantic alliance towards Estonia. Estonia is expected to become a reliable bridge between NATO and Kazakhstan.
The system of contact embassies was first established in 1992 in order to support the work of the North Atlantic Partnership Council and is also one of the major channels to learn more about NATO politics in partner countries. The main task of the contact embassy is to represent the goals and activities of the organisation, as well as to contribute to establishing and strengthening the contacts between NATO and the host country.
Reinhold recalled that Estonia joined NATO 10 years ago, saying that Estonia allocates 2 percent of its GDP to NATO defence politics.
“We constantly participate in joint operations, in particular for ensuring cyber security. Estonia has great experience in performing these functions in Sweden, Finland and Belarus. Previously, the function of the contact embassy in Kazakhstan was executed by the Latvian Embassy. We look forward to continuing this mission,” concluded the diplomat.
The NATO main office on communication and cooperation with the Central Asian countries is located in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.