Kazakhstan hosted the sixth meeting of foreign affairs ministers in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, known as CICA, on Monday and Tuesday at the Akorda Palace in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan’s capital.
The meeting chaired by Kazakhstan and attended by 40 CICA member states and observers included foreign ministers of Bahrain, Belarus, India, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the Minister of Tourism of Israel, deputy foreign ministers of a number of countries and heads of international organizations and diplomatic missions sharing discourse on security and sustainable development in Asia in new realities of the post-COVID-19 world.
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held a meeting with the heads of delegations participating in the CICA Foreign Ministers meeting and discussed ambitious priorities underpinned by the strategic goal of transforming the CICA into a full-fledged international organization.
Tokayev noted that CICA has essential features of an international organization, including foundational documents, decision-making and working bodies, an operational budget and a permanent secretariat, and CICA’s transformation will highlight the new role of Asia in global affairs, affirming CICA member states’ commitment to creating a genuinely common, indivisible and comprehensive security architecture on the largest continent.
He also announced Kazakhstan’s bid for another term at the helm of CICA for 2022-24 and pledged to use a renewed mandate to reinforce collective efforts in fulfilling CICA’s noble mission, if the Kazakhstan chairmanship is extended.
“Twenty-first century will really belong to Asia provided that we develop a truly unified and constructive approach, assume greater responsibilities and obligations,” Takayev said during the meeting.
The Kazakh president also stressed issues surrounding Afghanistan, saying five Central Asian states have a special interest in Afghanistan getting back on track and that Kazakhstan has a very simple and clear message of striving for great gains in the heart of Asia.
Tokayev concluded that all his proposals are aimed at achieving a common goal: building a safer, more sustainable and prosperous Asia.
Thanking President Tokayev for his attention and support for the CICA process, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered remarks via video link focusing on the need to join hands in maintaining security and stability, to actively promote economic recovery and to firmly practice multilateralism.
Indian Foreign Minister Jayshankar applauded Kazakhstan’s chairmanship and contribution as a strong force to advance CICA objectives and applauded CICA participants’ collaboration, reaffirming CICA members’ commitment to the Kazakhstan president in enhancing peace, security and stability in Asia.
The CICA initiative was put forward by the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the 47th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 5, 1992.
CICA observer status has been granted to nine states and a number of international organizations, and partnership agreements have been concluded with other organizations.
The most important fundamental document of the CICA, the Almaty Act, was adopted at the first summit of the heads of state and government of the CICA in 2002, which also acts as the charter of the forum.
According to CICA Executive Director Kairat Sarybay, CICA aims to reduce global geopolitical tensions and the threat of conflicts, and focus on collaboration and development, especially in Asia.
Since its inception, five summits and five meetings of foreign ministers have taken place, demonstrating active political support for the conference process. Kazakhstan (2002-2010), Turkey (2010-2014), China (2014-2018) and Tajikistan (2018-2020) have consistently held the CICA chairmanship.
According to the Kazakhstan Embassy in Seoul, Kazakhstan President Tokayev‘s vision lies ahead in building CICA into a fully fledged security system capable of carrying out international mediation.
By Sanjay Kumar (email@example.com