Int’l experts of Berlin Eurasian Club: Kazakhstan plays an important role in regional processes and security in Central Asia
October 23. KAZINFORM. BRUSSELS
In Brussels there took place the seventh meeting of the Berlin Eurasian Club (BEC ) on the issues of security in Central Asia in the context of the situation in Afghanistan, as well as Kazakhstan’s role in regional processes.
The event was attended by prominent representatives of political, business and expert circles in Europe, the U.S. and Kazakhstan. The meeting was an open and lively exchange of views. Kazakhstan and Western politicians and experts shared their views on stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan and the region in the light of withdrawal of the international coalition of the IRA in 2014. Much attention has been paid to the actions of the international community and the role of Kazakhstan in the process.
As the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Kazakhstan to Germany Nurlan Onzhanov said, “The government of Kazakhstan has designated priority areas of cooperation in the regional process in order to actively involve Afghanistan in economic and political life in the region. Our task is to help make Afghanistan not subject to influence, and one of the subjects of the regional process, intelligently and flexibly combine the military element of the economic and political instruments. It is necessary to make a regional political dialogue is not just about Afghanistan, and with the participation of Afghanistan, as an equal and a responsible partner”.
According to the EU Special Representative for Central Asia Patricia Flor the EU intends to cooperate with all partners in the Central African Republic to deal with common threats emanating from Afghanistan, as well as to avoid the spread of these threats. “This year we have started high-level dialogue on security issues between the EU and the countries of Central Asia, during which we solve the problems in the border regions, including in the context of the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in 2014. We would like to continue these meetings on an annual basis, considering the overall safety priorities”, said P.Flor.
According to the former Bundestag member Elke Hoff, Kazakhstan’s role in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan is very important. “Kazakhstan, as a neighbor of Afghanistan, is well aware of this country. Astana can forge closer ties with Kabul, in contrast to European countries that are facing a lack of understanding of some aspects of the culture and mentality of the people of Afghanistan. Therefore, Kazakhstan can make a significant contribution to the stabilization of the situation in the region”, she said.
According to a senior fellow at the FRIDE and program manager of EUCAM Jos Boonstra, after the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in 2014 the country may experience threats of various kinds. In this regard, Kazakhstanas the most developed country in Central Asia, could play an important role in stabilizing the situation in the IRA, as well as with the EU to cooperate in various matters, including provision of assistance to other countries in Central Asia.
The President of «Eurasian Transition Group» Michael Laubsch noted that “Kazakhstan to Brussels and to all European capitals is a priority partner of collaboration. In this connection it is necessary to realize that Kazakhstan should be seen as a “bridge ” between Europe and Asia, and to use this concept to build the security architecture of the entire Eurasian region”.
Majilis deputy Zhanat Jaras said that in order to ensure security in Central Asia it is necessary to contribute to further and rapid stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan and help the country move to civilian production in the construction of the state. In this connection it is necessary to assist in development of the economy and improving Afghan people lives”. As for that Kazakhstan does a great job. Our country is in total has provided approximately $250 million of aid to Afghanistan. About $ 50 million are allocated for schooling of the young citizens of Afghanistan. This will train about 1 million professionals in various fields, which will contribute to the economic development and stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan “, said the majilisman.
In turn, the deputy secretary of the Security Council Marat Shaikhutdinov focused his speech on the transatlantic vector strategy of Kazakhstan and formation of a new architecture of Central Asian security. According to him, being in the center of Eurasia, Kazakhstan is implementing a multi-vector strategy for cooperation with various integration projects and military-political blocs. Kazakhstan addresses security challenges relying primarily on the Eurasian and Asian security structure. We are talking about the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, SCO, CICA , etc. Astana is aware that the security of Central Asia cannot be guaranteed without close and constructive cooperation with the United States, NATO, the EU and other transatlantic structures.
Director of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan Bolat Sultanov noted that “Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries are sort of an outpost against the threats and challenges impending from Afghanistan in the west, where the final destination is Europe “.
Participants agreed that the Brussels meeting of BEC, the transfer of responsibility in Afghanistan will have a serious impact on the situation in Central Asia. There is an important need for close coordination of international efforts to connect the countries in the region. High score is given to approaches Kazakhstan, contributing actively to the cause of political and economic reconstruction of the Afghan state.
In light of the ideas of President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Eurasianism and the state program called “Path to Europe” the Berlin Eurasian Club (BEC) was created as a platform for dialogue to discuss a wide range of social and political issues between Kazakhstan and Germany, as well as the EU. The club is Kazakhstan’s first project of its kind in Europe, aimed at exploring new opportunities to strengthen the dialogue between the European and Asian cultures. The functions of the Secretariat are jointly implemented by the Kazakh Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) – a leading institute of the country, dealing with pressing international issues. The grand opening of the Berlin Eurasian Club was held February 7, 2012 with the participation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Currently there have taken place six meetings of the institution.