At UN General Assembly, FM presents Kazakh initiatives, meets foreign officials, US business representatives

ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov participated in the signing of the Code of Conduct Towards Achieving a World Free of Terrorism while in New York Sept. 24 to 28 for the UN General Assembly, where he presented Kazakhstan’s position on international challenges at the General Debate and met with foreign politicians and US business representatives.

Photo credit: inform.kz.

The Code of Conduct, an idea launched by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2015, was signed by foreign ministers and high representatives of more than 70 nations at a signing ceremony held in the format of a high-level special event.

Presenting the Code of Conduct, Abdrakhmanov stressed its main objectives: giving impetus to the practical implementation of a wide range of international commitments to counter terrorism and establishing a broad global coalition towards achieving a world free of terrorism by 2045. The Code formally recognises for the first time the interdependence of security, development and the fight against terrorism, and thus supports the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speakers at the ceremony were Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office; Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union; Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Chair of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee; as well as Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre Advisory Board and the OIC Group on Counter-Terrorism.

Voronkov praised Astana for preparing the Code of Conduct and stressed the successful activities of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council, including its chairmanship of three sanctions committees related to the fight against terrorist groups. Counter-terrorism is one of the highest priorities of the reform programme of UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) will ensure better coherence, capacity building and robust partnerships, Voronkov noted. He also welcomed the further implementation of the Joint Plan of Action to implement the GCTS in Central Asia, and the contribution of Kazakhstan as its donor. At the same time, the focus was on the need to regularly update comprehensive measures in the fight against terrorism, including through the use of effective preventive tools.

Other speakers also praised the adoption of the Code as an important step in strengthening international cooperation and the UN’s counter-terrorism architecture.

Meeting with Guterres Sept. 28, Abdrakhmanov briefed him about the outcomes of the recent summits of the Caspian littoral states in Aktau, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea, and the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States. According to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Abdrakhmanov noted  Kazakhstan intends to continue supporting the Secretary-General in reforming the UN, promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, coping with contemporary challenges and threats, as well as facilitating the organisation’ presence in Central Asia.

Guterres highlighted the historic significance of the recent Aktau Caspian Summit, and also confirmed the readiness of the UN to further boost the cooperation of Central Asian states. He expressed support for the Code of Conduct, initiated by Kazakhstan, to achieve a world free from terrorism.

“We highly appreciate the initiatives of President Nazarbayev, which are a solid pillar of peace. The constructive role of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council, where your country represents the voice of wisdom and acts as a bridge-builder, is highly important,” the Secretary-General said, according to a press release from the Foreign Ministry in Astana.

Guterres underlined the contribution of Astana in helping settle the Syrian crisis, which prevented the worst case scenario from developing in the region. As he stressed, Kazakhstan’s diplomacy is extremely positive in fostering mutual understanding between countries and religions.

As part of his visit to New York, Abdrakhmanov also participated in the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, a high level event held Sept. 24 to mark the centennial anniversary of the South African anti-apartheid fighter. Kazakhstan welcomed the adoption of the Political Declaration of the Summit, which reaffirms Mandela’s values. Abdrakhmanov underlined that the commitment of Kazakhstan’s diplomacy to peace is embodied in Nazarbayev’s anti-war manifesto, “The World. The 21st Century,” and his political address to the UN Security Council in January 2017, “Kazakhstan’s conceptual vision of strengthening the global partnership for building a safe, just and prosperous world.”

In addition, Abdrakhmanov attended the 13th Ministerial Meeting on the Middle East and participated in the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Kyrgyz writer Chingiz Aitmatov in the UN Library.

On the margins of the General Assembly session, Abdrakhmanov held bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Cuba, Norway, Azerbaijan, the Dominican Republic, Armenia, Angola and Greece, and exchanged views with the foreign ministers of Germany, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Eritrea. Abdrakhmanov also met with representatives of the U.S. business community Sept. 27 at an event organised by the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU) and American companies interested in implementing joint trade and investment projects.

According to Abdrakhmanov, Kazakhstan, as a member of the WTO since 2015, is striving to join the ranks of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“Kazakhstan and the United States are strengthening trade and economic relations in the spirit of an expanded strategic partnership, due to the agreements reached by President Nazarbayev and U.S. President Donald Trump in January. The heads of state agreed to promote a fair and mutually beneficial economic partnership that will increase trade and investment, create jobs and opportunities in both countries,” he noted. Kazakhstan and the U.S. are planning to sign an agreement in the field of civil aviation to establish direct flights, he revealed.

In 2017, trade turnover between Kazakhstan and the U.S. reached $1.88 billion. The U.S. is traditionally the largest investor in Kazakhstan, with a total investment of more than $42 billion. Last year, U.S. companies invested more than $3.7 billion in the economy of Kazakhstan. Currently more than 500 U.S. companies operate in Kazakhstan, six of which are members of the Foreign Investors’ Council under the President (CITI Group, JP Morgan and Co., Chevron, Exxon Mobil, GE Oil & Gas, and Baker McKenzie Int.). According to the foreign minister, there is particularly strong demand for U.S. companies’ involvement in healthcare, engineering, construction, agriculture and food.