ASTANA – Emphasising that the global economic turbulence continues to generate social and political upheaval in the world, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said this situation creates opportunities both for his country’s development and for the new level of cooperation in Eurasia.
“We have to use this historic opportunity to lay the foundations of an adequate, effective and balanced global economic development model. Therefore, I suggested creating the unified Eurasian space,” Nazarbayev said March 2 during an annual meeting with the diplomatic corps accredited in the country.
He added today’s Eurasia is a key geo-economic and geopolitical player in world politics.
“The interests of all global giants such as China and Russia, the United States and the European Union, India, Iran and Turkey intersect in this territory. Geopolitical games, mutual economic sanctions and other archaic vestiges of the cold war have to go into the past. Building a peaceful, stable, prosperous and economically-strong Eurasia will give a strong multiplier effect to global growth and will be beneficial to all,” he said.
Nazarbayev called on all nations to concentrate efforts on developing cooperation in economic, trade and investment fields at bilateral, regional, interregional and global levels and proposed discussing this topic at the 9th Astana Economic Forum in May.
“The integration potential of the Eurasian Economic Union and implementation of a joint project with China for the New Silk Road Economic Belt will strengthen Kazakhstan’s position as an important business partner and hub in Eurasia,” he said.
According to Nazarbayev, statistics shows Kazakhstan already is making serious inroads in capitalising on its geographic position in the centre of Eurasia. While in 2013, 6,000 containers were shipped across the country going from China to Europe, in 2015 this number reached 95,000. While in 2013, 77 cargo trains crossed Kazakhstan in the same direction, in 2016 this number is expected to reach 1,100.
“We will actively participate in development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation,” Nazarbayev further said. “Kazakhstan will continue its efforts for transformation of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia into the Organisation for Security and Development in Asia.”
The head of state noted Kazakhstan became a full member of the World Trade Organisation last year
“It will help us to expand our foreign trade and increase investment capacity,” he said.
Moreover, the President elaborated on measures taken in the country to achieve sustainable development and raised the issue of promoting safety and equable development in the modern world.
“The 21st century has brought many challenges in the economic, environmental, geopolitical, resource and energy spheres. To overcome those negative trends, it is necessary to conduct qualitative changes,” said Nazarbayev.
The President also addressed the issue of international security.
“There is a need for the UN and the Security Council to play a bigger role in conflict resolution. The charter of the United Nations should be updated, while undoubtedly preserving the basic principles of international law,” he said, reiterating his earlier call for holding a high level international conference in 2016 to reaffirm these principles.
Even more important, according to Nazarbayev, is to continue with the development of a Plan of Global Strategic Initiative up to 2015, the centenary of the UN, which he put forward in September 2015 and which would outline a roadmap to “remove reasons for conflicts and set a new trend of development based on an equal access of all nations to infrastructure, resources and markets.”
Another important priority for Kazakhstan is nuclear disarmament globally. As a country that eliminated its nuclear arsenal, shut down one of the world’s largest nuclear test sites, Kazakhstan continues to contribute to the global process with contribution to reaching and implementing an international deal over Iran’s nuclear programme, the establishment of an IAEA low enriched uranium bank and other initiatives.
The Kazakh President said the fact that the total capacity of global nuclear weapons stockpiles now amounts to 113,000 bombs dropped on Hiroshima calls for radical steps to eliminate those stockpiles.
“That is why I proposed making global nuclear disarmament [humanity’s] main goal in the 21st century,” he stressed. “I am glad the UN General Assembly has supported us, and three months ago adopted the Universal Declaration on the Achievemnet of a Nuclear Weapons Free World.”
Nazarbayev reminded that in 2016, the world will mark several important dates such as the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site, the 10th anniversary of the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and the 20th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
“These historic dates are an important occasion to unite the efforts towards a nuclear weapons free world. Nuclear weapon states, first of all, must themselves show an example in this direction. Otherwise, it would not be possible to limit other countries’ aspirations to acquire a nuclear status.”
He drew attention to the fact that Kazakhstan will continue to implement a multi-vectored and balanced foreign policy this year and remain on its path of integration into the global economy. The President also noted 2015 was marked by the nation’s active foreign policy work.
“Two hundred and seventy-five economic agreements totalling approximately $60 billion were signed during my visits overseas. Leaders of the G20 countries and other states reaffirmed their mutual interest in strengthening multifaceted cooperation with our country,” said Nazarbayev.
He added cooperation with Central Asian states is among Kazakhstan’s absolute priorities.
Two months ago, the country inked an agreement to expand partnership with the European Union, its largest investment and trade partner.
“This is an important step to increase trade turnover and investment from the European states,” said the President.
The head of state noted the United States is one of the largest foreign investors in the Kazakh economy and the country intends to expand this cooperation with the U.S.
Nazarbayev drew attention to the fact that Kazakhstan, having close historic and spiritual links with Middle Eastern countries, plans to deepen its relationship with them and the Islamic world in general. In addition, Kazakhstan is interested in developing full-scale trade and economic cooperation with Iran, especially since most of the sanctions levied on this country have now been lifted.
Furthermore, the President noted the country will continue to promote the economic and social development of Afghanistan in manageable volumes, focusing on assistance to infrastructure development as well as continuing the education programme for Afghans to study at Kazakh universities.
Nazarbayev emphasised Kazakhstan’s goal of strengthening economic, investment and technological cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the countries of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
The head of state also stressed Kazakhstan is counting on support from the nations represented for his country’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2017-2018. The vote will be taken in New York at the end of June.
During the meeting, Russian Ambassador Mikhail Bocharnikov said the past year was marked by historic events such as the 20th anniversary of the Kazakh Constitution and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate, initially implementing major reforms to modernise the country’s economy and the presidential election. The events demonstrated the consolidation and unity of the Kazakh people to the international community, he said.