Kazakh Senate Chairman Visits New York, Invites UN Secretary-General to Astana Int’l Religious Congress

Токаев ООНASTANA – Kazakh Senate Chairman Kassym-Jomart Tokayev completed his official visit to New York March 4, which was devoted to the upcoming Fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.

During his stay, Tokayev held talks with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and presented him with an invitation from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to participate in the congress, to be held June 10-11 in Astana, according to the Kazakh Senate’s press service.

“I am convinced that your personal involvement in the fifth congress will give the international community a strong signal that humanity will be able to effectively meet the challenges of the modern world by providing the conditions for further development on the way to progress and taking coordinated actions and mutual support from religious hierarches and politicians,” said Tokayev as quoted by the press service.

The UN Secretary-General appreciated the Kazakh model of interethnic and inter-religious peace and harmony and emphasised that the religious forum, organised at Nazarbayev’s initiative, is an important and effective dialogue platform. According to Ban Ki-moon, the UN will support the congress and cooperate with Kazakhstan to promote the goals and objectives of the forum in the world community.

While presenting information about the congress at the UN, Tokayev noted that New York is associated with the UN and its key global forums which give people hope to solve modern problems.

Tokayev also highlighted that Kazakhstan greatly values the UN’s multifaceted activities to promote dialogue between civilisations. The aim of the spiritual forum is to unite the efforts of religious leaders and promote ideas like interfaith dialogue, peace-building and conflict prevention on religious grounds, as well as development of new forms of international cooperation, he said.

Tokayev noted that the outcomes of the previous four congresses demonstrate that it has become a permanent forum of spiritual leaders, where they are able to discuss the topical issues of the modern world together with well-known politicians and leaders of international organisations. According to him, the Astana congress became a good example that overcoming the differences between religions and cultures is possible only through the establishment of peace, mutual understanding and partnership among different nations.

In New York, Tokayev also met with UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson and UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark, as well as UN senior officials, heads of major foundations and representatives of religious communities.

During the meetings, Tokayev informed the interlocutors of the preparations for the Astana congress. The theme of the congress will be “Dialogue of Religious Leaders and Politicians for Peace and Development” and will include a plenary session and four breakout sessions.

Tokayev mentioned that the congress will include discussions on such topics as responsibility of religious and political leaders to humanity, the influence of religion on young people, new trends and prospects of interaction of religion and politics and dialogue based on mutual respect and understanding between the leaders of world and traditional religions for the sake of peace, security and harmony.

Tokayev’s visit to New York became an important part of the preparations for the Fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions as the gathering is becoming an important element of wider international efforts aimed at ensuring global security and stability.