Almaty Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan
On April 26, Kazakhstan hosted the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan. More than 50 delegations led by the foreign ministers of the participating states and others, gathered in Almaty for the Conference. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev inaugurated the event. It was co-chaired by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov and Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul. The group endorsed six implementation plans of confidence building measures to consolidate the regional countries’ efforts to promote trust, security and result-oriented cooperation on Afghanistan and reaffirmed its commitment to expand colloboration based on the principles of friendship, respect and mutual benefit.
In his welcoming remarks, President Nazarbayev highlighted the importance of regional cooperation and outlined Kazakhstan’s contribution and consistent role in the international community’s plans on Afghanistan. He noted that Kazakhstan had been providing political, economic and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan starting in the 1990s.
The participants adopted a declaration of continued support of Afghanistan, reconfirming their resolve to build greater confidence, trust and cooperation within the region. The participants highlighted the importance of demonstrating their solidarity through ongoing commitment to assist Afghan nation in its process of transition and at the time of withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Forces from Afghanistan. They adopted specific action plans for each of the six packages of the confidence-building measures of the Istanbul Process.
The event has allowed countries in the region to harmonize their approaches toward Afghanistan and to identify concrete measures of cooperation in the fields of education, economic development, anti- terrorism, anti-drug trafficking, and relief from natural disasters. The participants recognized their shared responsibility and common interest to work together for the sake of stable and prosperous Afghanistan and the entire region. They emphasized the convergence of interests in “The Heart of Asia” region and their willingness to work closely with international and regional organizations such as the UN, SCO, CICA, OSCE, CSTO and ECO, since it is essential for the success of shared effort.
Several side events took place during the Almaty Conference. These included a presentation by the mayor of Almaty, Akhmetzhan Yessimov, about the opportunity to turn the city into a regional hub of multilateral diplomacy. An expert level seminar of the relevant agencies discussed Kazakhstan’s potential as a transit and transport corridor.
On the sidelines of the Almaty Conference, President Nazarbayev met with the heads of several delegations, including Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. In addition, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Erlan Idrissov, held a series of bilateral meetings that covered issues of bilateral and multilateral concern.
In accordance with the adopted Declaration, the next Conference of the foreign ministers of the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan will be held in China in 2014.
Medical student in Almaty Kazakhstan