When King Abdullah II of Jordan paid an official visit to Kazakhstan on November 1 and met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, both sides discussed bilateral relations, mainly focusing on trade and economic cooperation. But in addition to this, there was another significant moment. The President of Kazakhstan presented to the King of Jordan the Nazarbayev Prize for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World and Global Security for the king’s contribution to regional stability, global security and steadfast stance against war and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The prize itself, and its first recipient, was first announced in August 2016. It is easy to see why the leader of Jordan deserved it. Jordan’s commitment to global peace and security in recent years has been noteworthy. The country took in more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees during the peak of the Syrian crisis last year. Jordan has also played an important role in promoting peace in the Middle East, including through the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region.
The hope is that the Nazarbayev Prize, which will be awarded every two years by a special committee, will urge other international actors to more vigorously pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.
The visit by the Jordanian King coincided with the seventh high-level international meeting on Syria within the framework of the Astana Process, which took place Oct. 30-31. As President Nazarbayev rightly pointed out, Jordan plays a big role in the Astana Process by participating as an observer. Jordan’s involvement will be very important to the success of the Astana Process and the overall resolution of the Syrian crisis.
Resolving the Syrian conflict is just one issue that brings Kazakhstan and Jordan together. In fact, both countries share a much wider commitment to global peace and stability, as well as nuclear non-proliferation. As is well known, Kazakhstan has been a consistent supporter of all global anti-nuclear initiatives since its independence and has led several international efforts to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. Kazakhstan has been actively promoting the idea of establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. The support of Jordan will be absolutely essential to prevent nuclear proliferation in the region.
Fortunately, Kazakhstan can count on Jordan, as the country has become one of Kazakhstan’s closest partners in the Middle East, not least because Astana and Amman share similar views on a variety of regional and global issues. Jordan has continuously showed its support for Kazakhstan’s initiatives on the international arena such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the Astana Economic Forum and EXPO 2017. In 2013, Kazakhstan allocated $200,000 to help Jordan in dealing with Syrian refugees located on their territory.
The President of Kazakhstan rightly noted that over the years, Kazakhstan and Jordan have built a very trustful and friendly relationship. During the visit, the two sides were able to deepen these relations further, especially in the field of trade and economic cooperation.
Enhancing the ties between Kazakhstan and Jordan is in the interest of both countries. There is ample opportunity for increased collaboration, especially in the field of renewable energy. Both countries can further explore joint investments and projects in the field of green energy. And if both countries continue to work together to facilitate the achievement of their ambitious mutual goals – world peace and a world free from nuclear weapons – then this relationship will be in the interest of the entire planet.