Foreign Minister Tileuberdi spoke at the 14th ASEM Foreign Ministerial Meeting, second plenary session ‘Building Sustainable Connectivity between Europe and Asia’ December 16, 2019; Madrid
The Honorable Chairperson,
At the outset, I would like to thank the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Vice-President of the European Commission Josep Borrell1 and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain Margarita Robles2 for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation, along with the excellent arrangements here at the 14th ASEM Foreign Ministerial Meeting3 in Madrid – one of the most beautiful cities of the world.
Today multilateralism is under more demand than ever. As President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev4 stated, the alarming new global reality is emerging due to a growing number of unresolved conflicts and tensions in various parts of the world. The lack of trust among global and regional actors leads to an erosion of the current security and arms control architecture, resulting in a renewed arms race.
In this challenging environment, Kazakhstan firmly pursues a policy of inclusive and sustainable development, comprehensive dialogue and peaceful endeavors.
Located in the heart of our vast continent5, Kazakhstan stands for closer partnership between Asia and Europe. Our First President Nursultan Nazarbayev put forward “Three Ds” (Three Dialogues) initiative6 to shape a new geopolitical reality.
The first is the dialogue among global powers. Kazakhstan calls upon the US, Russia, China, and EU to build confidence and trust as well as explore ways to manage international confrontations. If need be, Kazakhstan is ready to host such a meeting of the leaders.
The second dialogue implies bringing together the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)7 and OSCE8. The dialogue between CICA and OSCE would be important for strengthening peace and security in Eurasia.
The third dialogue is an economic engagement among the Eurasian Economic Union, the EU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN. Such cooperation is needed to enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe and facilitate the exchange of goods, capital and services across wider Eurasia.
These three dialogues are aimed to advance our common cause of peace and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the early days of its independence, Kazakhstan has made connectivity the cornerstone of its foreign economic policy in order to access global markets. As the largest land-locked country in the world, my country strives to transform itself into a land-linked9 one. In this context, allow me to say a few words about our vision on connectivity.
First, we welcome the EU Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia, which was adopted in 2018. We believe it helps to ensure effective and sustainable conditions for the connectivity of the Eurasian continent. Furthermore, we highly commend the adoption of the new EU Strategy for Central Asia10 in June 2019. This strategy contributes to connectivity between Europe and Asia, as it seeks to ensure the strengthening of stability, security and sustainable development in Central Asia.
Second, we think that green economy is the way forward in the 21st century. Our international initiatives such as the Green Bridge Partnership Program11, hosting International Specialized Exhibition EXPO in 201712 and the International Centre for Green Technologies and Investment Projects13 testify to the concrete steps Kazakhstan is taking to help build “green” corridors in our region.
Third, for us connectivity means more than just transport corridors and hard infrastructure. In our understanding, connectivity is about forming a network of financiers, entrepreneurs, scholars and scientists working together in cutting edge technologies. To be a part of such networks, we have launched the Astana International Financial Center14, the International Park of IT Startups “Astana Hub”15, and flagship Nazarbayev University16.
Fourth, located at the crossroads of civilizations and acting as a land bridge between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan serves as a meeting point for the Belt and Road Initiative. We support international efforts to reduce the time and distance from producers to consumers in Asia and Europe. I am pleased to note that compared to sea transportation, the delivery time by land via Kazakhstan has been reduced by 2-3 times from 35-40 to 12-15 days.17
Fifth, today the spirit of multilateral trading system faces a growing pressure. To explore ways to bridge the gaps between diverse positions and deliver tangible outcomes, we will host 12th WTO Ministerial Meeting in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan for the first time in Central Asia18. We hope the meeting of trade ministers will contribute to transparent and inclusive international multilateral trading system.
To create favorable external environment for our development and growth, we should adapt to the 21st century reality and stay away from Cold War era mentality and block mindset. Rather, in the face of global challenges, we should focus on building bridges and partnerships within the framework of ASEM and beyond. On its part, Kazakhstan is ready to play a proactive role in this process.
In conclusion, let me express my strong conviction that our dialogue within the ASEM and Kazakhstan’s “Three Ds” initiative will provide a worthy contribution to international peace and prosperity.
(Madrid, 16 December 2019)
Since 1st December 2019 Josep Borrell Fontelles from Spain has assumed the role of EU High Representative/Vice President. ↩
Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margarita Robles. ↩
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is the president of the Republic of Kazakhstan. ↩
Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed new geopolitical reality “Three D”; April 27, 2019 ↩
Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on 5 October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. CICA website ↩
The Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe is membered by 57 participating States and takes a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities. OSCE webiste ↩
The Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) is a unique hub on the map of the financial world that brings together the best practices and opportunities offered by similar institutions around the globe – from New York City and London to Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. website ↩
Astana Hub is a concept designed to create a system for start-up development, including interaction with local businesses and government. It seeks to find and create Kazakh experts in specific areas to offer their know-how internationally, such as in the field of smart city technologies. website ↩
Nazarbayev University (NU) was founded by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan-Elbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev. The University aims to develop into a research university of international renown combining education, research and innovation. Nazarbayev University educates the next generation of leaders of the Republic of Kazakhstan in science, public administration and various professions, thus contributing to the future development of the country. website ↩
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