“One of the key priorities of Kazakhstan's foreign policy is to deepen cooperation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation, which is a long-term partner sharing trust, mutual understanding and common desire to build a safer world. In this context, the successful chairmanship of Kazakhstan in 2010, the only summit held in the 21st century and the adoption of the Astana Declaration have become an important contribution to the work of the OSCE," stated Minister of Foreign Affairs Beibut Atamkulov at a recent meeting with OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák in the capital of Kazakhstan.
Mr. Lajčák visited Kazakhstan as part of a regional tour of Central Asia, and in Nur-Sultan he held meetings with President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Speaker of the Senate Dariga Nazarbayeva.
The talks focused on the current OSCE agenda, and the state and prospects for bilateral cooperation. There was also a wide exchange of views on international issues.
Mr. Atamkulov commended the activities of Slovakia as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, emphasizing the relevance and need for the identified international priorities, the main purpose of which is to strengthen trust and security, conflict prevention, countering global threats, preventive diplomacy and mediation.
“The priorities of your chairmanship are in line with the international initiatives of the First President - Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev to create a Eurasian security platform. In particular, we are working on the International Conference on Security and Cooperation to be held in 2020, dedicated to the 45th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, as well as on the organization of a consultative meeting of the OSCE, CICA and ASEAN Forum," said the Kazakh Foreign Minister.
The head of the OSCE delegation stressed his intention to make serious efforts to enhance international dialogue in order to jointly confront common challenges, and noted the experience of Kazakhstan's OSCE chairmanship in 2010 and the results of the Astana OSCE Summit, which were important starting points for addressing many global issues.
Mr. Lajčák said that Kazakhstan played a key role in Central Asia, as well as in the Eurasian Economic Union. The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office thanked the Kazakh side for their positive assessment of the work of the Slovak chairmanship and the identified priorities, noting that in modern conditions, preventive diplomacy and mediation were becoming popular tools in conflict prevention and resolution.
Mr. Lajčák positively noted the constructive role of Kazakhstan in the OSCE activities. According to the Slovak diplomat, “thanks to its balanced and pragmatic domestic and foreign policy, Kazakhstan is a reliable and trustworthy partner of the organization. This was proved by extension of the term of Kazakhstan's representative to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Committee by the Slovak chairmanship."
The sides also discussed the prospects for representation of the OSCE bodies throughout the area of responsibility. At the same time, the importance of moving to a new format of field missions, which would increase the effectiveness of the organization's activities, was emphasized. The Kazakh side proposed the creation of an OSCE Thematic Center on Sustainable Interconnectedness, primarily aimed at implementing the goals and objectives of the economic and environmental dimension of the organization.
It was noted that this would be a pragmatic step, as the center would focus on sharing best practices, analysis and research work regarding economic interconnectedness, good governance, green economy, disaster risk reduction and energy security.
The sides also reviewed the preparation of the OSCE high-level event on Afghanistan, scheduled for later this year in Nur-Sultan. It was noted that the upcoming meeting would once again draw the organization's attention to the situation in Afghanistan and would contribute to strengthening cooperation across all three of the OSCE's security dimensions. Mr. Atamkulov expressed confidence that the future development of Afghanistan would largely depend on the degree of involvement of interested external actors in the country's reconstruction processes, including the OSCE.
The sides paid special attention to expanding bilateral cooperation with Slovakia, including in light of the strengthening economic component of Kazakhstan's foreign policy. It was stressed that Nur-Sultan and Bratislava have long-standing friendly relations, supported by cooperation in various fields of mutual interest. Last year was particularly significant for bilateral relations, with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini paying the first official visit to Kazakhstan, the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation holding regular meetings, and the organization of political consultations between the two sides.
During the meeting, the ministers reached a common understanding on the topics discussed, and reaffirmed the importance of joint efforts to further develop cooperation with the OSCE and Slovakia.