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Tashkent, March 27, 2018. Kazakhstan supports international efforts to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and calls on the parties concerned to launch peace talks as soon as possible. This was stated by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov at the Tashkent High-Level Conference on Afghanistan “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity", initiated by the leadership of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. The event was opened by Presidents of these states Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
The main purpose of the Conference was to coordinate the basic principles of a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan, develop a mechanism for launching negotiations between the government of Afghanistan and the armed opposition, the Taliban movement in particular, as well as to coordinate joint efforts of the world community to support this process.
In his address, the Kazakh Foreign Minister underlined that building a model of a regional zone of peace, security, cooperation and development in Central Asia, including the provision of multilateral assistance to Afghanistan in economic and social development, countering threats to peace and security, and strengthening its potential is one of the main priorities of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council.
Global initiatives of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev widely supported by the international community are aimed at achieving these and other sustainable development goals.
The Kazakh delegation to the UN Security Council held a ministerial debate “Building Regional Partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a Model to Link Security and Development" on January 19, which resulted in a consensus statement by the UNSC President aimed at improving the efficiency and coordination of the UN funds, agencies and programs in our region.
It is noteworthy that in his welcoming address to the participants of the Tashkent conference President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev expressed his sincere gratitude to President Nursultan Nazarbayev for initiating that meeting in the UN Security Council.
“We believe that reforms aimed at improving social and economic indicators in the country and enhancing the level of education and other human standards should serve as the foundation for stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan," the Minister said.
It is known that Kazakhstan had taken the initiative to continue an education program for Afghan citizens provided it would be co-financed by the European Union and other partners. Since 2010, the $50 million education program for Afghan citizens is being implemented in the Kazakh educational institutions. About 1,000 Afghan citizens will receive training in Kazakh universities from 2010 to 2021 as part of the program.
“Kazakhstan plans to organize an Empowering Women in Afghanistan International Conference in the autumn of 2018 in Astana. Among its main goals is to discuss the role and contribution of women in the peaceful development of Afghanistan; empowering Afghan women in social, economic and political spheres of the country by enhancing their involvement in the public and private sectors as well as the development of specific recommendations aimed at empowering women in this country," Minister Abdrakhmanov said.
It was noted that Kazakhstan would continue rendering technical and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, both as part of bilateral arrangements and multilaterally, annually providing thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies, including food, essential goods, petroleum products and various equipment.
New opportunities for providing collective assistance to the social and economic development of Afghanistan are opened by the successful outcome of the working (consultative) meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia, chaired by the President of Kazakhstan in Astana on March 15.
The Conference in the capital of Uzbekistan was attended by Foreign Ministers and High Representatives of China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Turkey, United Kingdom, UN, European Union, CSTO, SCO, NATO, and others.
The Conference adopted a Tashkent Declaration, which sets out further steps to promote a political settlement in Afghanistan, outlines the central and coordinating role of Afghanistan in the political settlement.
On the margins of the international conference, Minister Abdrakhmanov held bilateral meetings with the heads of the US and Iranian delegations.
At the meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon, the two sides discussed how to further strengthen the enhanced strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the United States. Particular attention was paid to the implementation of the agreements reached during the official visit of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to the United States in January 2018.
The diplomats confirmed the readiness of the sides to support international efforts in stabilization and economic recovery of Afghanistan. The US highly appreciated Kazakhstan's contribution to the peaceful development of Afghanistan. The sides also exchanged views on strengthening regional cooperation between Central Asian countries and the United States.
At the meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, the ministers discussed Kazakh-Iranian cooperation, including trade, transport and logistics. The main theme of the conversation was interaction within international and regional organizations, including the CICA, SCO, and in the context of the Astana process for the settlement of the conflict in Syria.