International integration

High-level C5+1 Meeting highlighted challenges and threats facing Central Asia

21 August 2019 saw the high-level meeting in a C5+1 format involving Kazakh Foreign Ministry Beibut Atamkulov, Deputy Chair of the Cabinet of Ministers – Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Chinigiz Aidarbekov, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirodjidin Aslov, Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov and US Under Secretary of State David Hale.
Nur-Sultan22 August , 13:50

Opening the high-level meeting, the head of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry stated that First Kazakh President – Yelbasy Nursultan Nazarbayev had established a fundamental priority of the Central Asian vector in Kazakhstan’s foreign policy.

He went on to say that the perpetuity of continuity of Nazarbayev’s policy underpins the regional strategy of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

“The progressive development of the regional, economic and humanitarian cooperation with our neighbouring countries encourages us”, the Kazakh Foreign Minister said.

He also pointed to Kazakhstan’s interest in highly qualified realization of the initiatives and agreements reached between the region’s States in bilateral as well as multilateral settings.

Beibut Atamkulov stressed that Kazakh diplomats attach high priority to developing the strategic partnership with the United States.

“I am particularly pleased to note my first visit to Washington in July this year and the fruitful talks with US Secretary of State Mr. Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor of the United States John R. Bolton, with whom we agreed to further enhance cooperation in the new political environment”, the Kazakh Foreign Minister stated.

The C5+1 format meeting considered the way forward in expanding trade ties, attracting investments and implementing multilateral economic projects within the region.

The parties demonstrated strong interest in co-developing the infrastructure and transit and transport potential of Central Asia.

The participants dwelled on a wide range of challenges and threats requiring a regional approach to promote security. Among them, facilitating Afghanistan’s restoration, as well as exchanging the experiences in repatriating and rehabilitating the citizens returned from the combat zones in Syria and Iraq.

On his Nur-Sultan tour, US Under Secretary of State David Hale met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin, Kazakh Foreign Minister Beibut Atamkulov and Executive Director of the Fund of the First Kazakh President – Yelbasy Asset Issekeshev going over the pressing issues of the Kazakhstan-US bilateral and international cooperation.

While meeting with US Under Secretary of State David Hale, the Kazakh President expressed gratitude to the US side for the opportunity to establish a direct telephone link between the Heads of State of the two nations by signing an appropriate agreement.

The interlocutors exchanged views on a broader strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the United States, in the area of counter-terrorism, as well as the social and economic restoration of Afghanistan.

The US diplomat, on his part, welcomed Kazakhstan’s political transformation, noting the importance of the goals and tasks on social and economic development and democratization and his readiness to back up their implementation.

The meeting between the Kazakh Prime Minister and the US Under Secretary of State saw the talks on the topical issues relating to the development of bilateral trade, economic and investment cooperation.

David Hale noted Kazakhstan’s high investment appeal.

“We have a great potential to develop our economic relations”, Askar Mamin said.

He also emphasized the prospects for deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries in energy, agriculture, health, information technology, logistics, tourism, and the aerospace industry.

“I’m convinced your visit will give an incentive to strengthen the countries’ interaction”, the Kazakh PM stressed.

With the US being among the largest investors in the Kazakh economy, from 2005 to 2018 the gross inflow of direct investment from the United States to Kazakhstan stood at 40 billion US dollars. Last year saw a record amount of investments valued at 5.3 billion US dollars, and the January-June 2019 trade between the two countries has totaled at 1.1 billion US dollars, up by 31.8% over the same period of last year.

The C5+1 format is a multilateral mechanism of cooperation among the five Central Asian States and the USA, centering on economic development, regional cooperation and security.

Such first meeting involving the heads of the foreign ministries of the six countries took place on November 1, 2015, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Photo: MFA RK