Dear participants of the meeting!
Ladies and gentlemen!
While welcoming you at the Kazakh hospitable land, I would like to express my gratitude for your countries' active support to the work of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
First of all, on behalf of all member states let me congratulate the Hashemite KingdomofJordan and the United Arab Emirates on joining our forum as full-fledged members and the State of Qatar as an observer to our Conference. This event demonstrates that the Conference on Interaction in Asia has turned into an important mechanism of multifaceted cooperation and gained great reputation in ensuring the lasting security in the Asian continent in front of the interested parties.
Dear participants of the meeting!
Ladies and gentlemen!
In the East they say: the greatest illusion is an illusion of dissociation as we are all a part of the whole. Neither frontiers, nor language distinctions, political contradictions cannot cancel that unbiased fact, that we live on one planet on which it is necessary to live to our children and grandsons.
Today the world is experiencing uneasy time. In their confrontation with other countries, the states are increasingly resorting to heavy-handed methods and the use of radical rhetoric, thus adding to mutual distrust and tension. Belligerent cliches of cold war epoch, such as "zone of influence", "policy of domination", "strategy of dissuasion" are becoming increasingly loud. Seeing all this makes us recall with alarm the Gegel's words: "the only lesson of history is that it never teaches peoples anything".
Famine, poverty, epidemics, environmental degradation, terrorism, drug trafficking – none of these global problems can be resolved without joint efforts of international community.
It is with satisfaction I note that the Kazakhstan's initiative on convening CICA voiced in 1992 at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly has translated into a real factor of international relations and serves an effective instrument for maintenance of safety and cooperation in Asia. Its viability is based on sincere hopes and aspiration of the continent's people to live in safer world, on the region's objective need in creation of infrastructure for open-minded and meaningful dialogue.
Over the past years, this initiative has passed a long evolution: from the idea of establishing peace and confidence in the Asian subregion and all way through the practical mechanisms of collective diplomacy. Two CICA summits were held to usher in new mechanism for maintenance of international safety on the continent.
The institutionalization phase in the forum's evolution is complete now, international Secretariat, Special working groups are successfully functioning, the Senior Officials Committee meets on a regular basis, implementation of the Confidence Building Measures Catalogue has been launched is going on smoothly.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation of all member states who assumed coordinator role in various dimensions of the Forum's activities.
The CICA members are facing important challenges today. Using every facilities of collective diplomacy, we should aim our efforts at combating international terrorism, religious extremism, organized crime, drug trafficking and illegal migration. To this end, it would be expedient to take practical steps towards establishing and strengthening cooperation in military and political dimension, which in a long run should become one of the major dimensions of the Confidence Building Measures Catalogue.
Unfortunately, there are many instability and tension foci on the Asian continent.
The situation in Afghanistan is still of great concern. This long-suffering country has become one of the largest centers of international drug industry, which accounts for nearly one third of annual turnover of "terrorism economy ".
Today every step should be taken to help Afghanistan promptly transit to peaceful life and restore its destroyed economy. The government of Kazakhstan has already adopted a special program of economic help to Afghanistan: funds have been allocated to construct roads, schools, hospitals, train professional in a broad range of specialties.
I am also glad to note that the CICA member states have initiated the provision of reasonable economic help to Afghanistan, a member of our forum. I call upon all of you to support this initiative!
We should not forget about Iraq whose distressful people deserves better destiny. We need a stable and progressing neighbor in this region.
I do hope that efforts made by co-sponsors of the peace process in the Middle East, international and regional organizations, coupled with good will of participants of negotiating process will bring about peace.
As a country which gave up nuclear weaponry, Kazakhstan supports the world community in its efforts to achieve universal nuclear disarmament. In this connection, we welcome the progress in phasing down the North Korean nuclear program achieved within the framework of six-partite negotiations.
It is our firm belief that the situation with Iranian nuclear program should also be addressed using exclusively diplomatic methods.
I cannot circumvent the situation which has developed in South Ossetia and Caucasus as a whole. Recent developments have raised great concern over the future and safety in this region.
The attempted forceful solution of the conflict resulted in deaths of civilians in South Ossetia and Georgia as well as deaths among Russian peacemakers. The Russia responded by using military force. This had seriously undermined the potential for political and legal resolution of this ethno-territorial problem, whose consequences are unpredictable not only for Caucasian region.
Now one of priorities is urgent delivery of humanitarian aid. Kazakhstan is already providing material support to the inflicted population. It is obvious that it will take long and uneasy way to find mutually acceptable solutions after the South Ossetian events.
The world community should undertake effective measures to normalize the situation in Caucasus and ensure détente in the region.
In this connection, we support the solution to this issue offered by the administration of Russia based on the UN Charter, norms and principles of international law.
We are also in favor of increasing the number of international observers in the conflict area and enhancing their role. Kazakhstan is willing to join in OSCE's efforts aimed at normalization of the situation.
Dear participants of the session!
Financial crisis, rising oil prices and soaring food prices – exactly these challenges will determine the modern global policy in the near future. All countries try to take steps to mitigate the consequences of economic turbulence.
Today we see increasing number of states who realize the necessity of uniting efforts with their neighbors in the region. Being aware of collective responsibility for development, we urge our partners to give joint cooperation within the framework of “Cooperative Approach” in economic dimension.
One of important directions in CICA's activities is the development and strengthening of cooperation in the area of culture, inter-ethnic and inter-religious interaction.
Hard work in this sphere allows for rapprochement of cultures, mutual enrichment of nations of various countries, preservation of diversity, education, tolerance and even peaceful settlement of conflicts.
Kazakhstan, as the CICA Chairman-in-Office and the future Chairman of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), is confident that modern challenges can be adequately addressed through united efforts of the regions, only. For this purpose, it is expedient to establish effective cooperation between the two fora: CICA and ACD, which have much in common. We share the thesis put forward by Thailand that CICA and ACD are the two sides of the same medal: Rising Asia.
As you know, the Kazakhstan's mandate who has been chairing our Conference since 2002 expires in 2010. Time therefore has come to nominate the next Chairman. We suggest that Turkish Republic, one of the most active participants of CICA, be elected to this post. In our opinion, it is the optimal candidate to such an important post.
I am sure that implementation of the above tasks will allow us to come up to the Third CICA Summit which will take place in 2010 with concrete results.
Ladies and gentlemen!
The world is highly appreciative of Kazakhstan's efforts aimed at strengthening of stability and safety, creation of favorable conditions for regional and global development.
Our country has made historical contribution to the nuclear disarmament process and strengthening the non-proliferation regime, by voluntary giving up the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal. As well as shutting down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site.
CICA and Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions have become integral parts of international relations system.
We are creating a new forum for dialogue between the West and the Islamic world entitled: "Common World: Progress through Diversity”. Its first meeting invited to which are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Muslim and Western countries will be held in Astana in October later this year.
A multi-billion project on revival of "the Great Silk Road" has been launched. The Western Europe and Western China will be soon connected through Kazakhstan by powerful transport communications.
Astana is actively participating in the activities of international regional organizations, including SCO and EurAsEc.
Our initiative to create the Union of Central Asian Countries was given warm welcome.
Our country is playing increasingly important role as a responsible player in the Eurasian energy and food markets.
Thus, Kazakhstan is assuming the Chairmanship in regional associations not empty handed, but with large positive luggage which, certainly, will be offered for using to the public good, enhancing the role and authority of the above organizations.
Let me thank you all for taking part in this session, for high level representation of your countries and support to the CICA process.
I am convinced that we will not encounter intractable problems in Asia, if we address them interaction and confidence. This understanding inspires us and strengthens our belief in the future.
We are sure of the efficiency of such multilateral mechanisms as CICA in ensuring safety and stability. Kazakhstan will always be together with those states which intend to facilitate the solution of complicated issues and problems of the entire region.
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
In order to institute efficient diplomatic system in the continent, an arduous work is still to be done.
I think we should use this example to demonstrate to entire world that the only correct rule in each state's foreign policy shall be tolerance, responsibility and dialogue.
I wish fruitful work to the Conference!