Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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FM Idrissov Presents Diplomas to Winners of ‘Kazakhstan through the Eyes of Foreign Media’ Contest 0

Posted on September 15, 2016 by KazCham

Astana Times

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry hosted a ceremony Sept. 6 to award the winners of the third annual “Kazakhstan through the Eyes of Foreign Media” contest organized by the Ministry and the Club of Chief Editors of Kazakhstan.

The winners represent France, Jordan, Russia, Turkey and the United States. As a prize, they received a trip to Kazakhstan in September, including visits to Astana, Almaty and the Borovoye resort area, as well as an extensive cultural programme.

“The media as a ‘fourth’ estate of power performs vital educational and ideological work, forms the informational space and has a huge impact on public opinion,” said Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov in welcoming the winners.

He also briefed the guests on the nation’s initiatives in various fields, in particular, nuclear non-proliferation and the fight against terrorism and extremism.

Guests representing the diplomatic corps as well as the sponsors of the contest attended the event.

American Douglas Burton, who writes for “The Washington Times,” won for his article “Kazakh Studying Abroad in Ambitious ‘Future’ Programme Aims to Lift Former Soviet Republic.” In it, he told the story of a Bolashak Presidential Scholarship Programme student, Shalkar Nursetov, who studied at George Washington University to pursue a Master’s degree in media and public affairs.

This year, the contest attracted 60 entries from 29 countries. The victors will tour the same areas visited by last year’s prize-winning journalists from Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Poland and Uzbekistan.

Idrissov noted the raising quality of the applications this year and continued growing interest in Kazakhstan’s dynamic development and upcoming major events, such as EXPO 2017 and the Winter Universiade in Almaty next year.

How Kazakhstan is Charting its Own Course in the World 0

Posted on November 29, 2015 by KazCham

LAND OF PEACE AND PROSPERITY

The Great Gain Not the Great Game: How Kazakhstan is Charting its Own Course in the World, by Erlan Idrissov,The Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan

Diplomatic Courier

It is a sign of Central Asia’s and Kazakhstan’s increasing role and importance in the world that more and more is written about our region. But what is striking – and at times frustrating – is how reporting and analysis can be distorted to fit narratives which have little relationship to what’s actually happening.

It has, for example, become increasingly popular for journalists to see events in our region through the prism of a revival of the Great Game in Central Asia. It is through this narrative of major powers fighting for influence that recent visits by the leaders of China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Japan, as well as the U.S. Secretary of State are seen.

I can see why this makes a neat headline but that does not make it true. Kazakhstan is not a silent by-stander in anyone else’s strategy. We are a country successfully making its own independent way in the world.

We have purposely built good relations and strong economic ties with countries, big and small, to the east and west, south and north. We have close links with both Russia and China. Europe is our biggest trading partner and the US our second biggest foreign investor after Europe.

This is not an accident but the result of our multi-vector foreign policy. Our economic progress – which has seen our GDP rise 19-fold since independence – is also based on being open to trade, investment and ideas. This commitment continues which is why, in the last year, we have helped found the Eurasian Economic Union and become full members of the WTO.

Far from being at the centre of a re-run of the Great Game, Kazakhstan is, if you like, at the heart of what could be a Great Gain for all in terms of regional and global stability and prosperity, and is adamantly promoting this vision for all to embrace. This is why, in the last couple of months alone, President Nazarbayev has held extremely productive meetings with President Xi Jinping, President Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – and has had very successful back-to-back visits to London and Paris as well, for example, to Qatar.

These countries and their leaders all want to strengthen their relationships with Kazakhstan – as we do with them – as a partner and friend. As Secretary Kerry explained, for example, the U.S. is not pursuing a “zero-sum game” in central Eurasia but believes greater engagement by all will benefit all. This is a message which we wholeheartedly welcome and which I hope all those watching and commenting on Kazakhstan will hear.

EEU and multi-vector policy were key in 2014, says Foreign Minister 0

Posted on January 17, 2015 by KazCham

The Astana Times

At a press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov summarized the country’s foreign policy achievements for 2014 while stressing the importance of a multi-vector foreign policy.

Idrissov noted that President Nazarbayev made 8 foreign visits and received 16 heads of state, while Kazakhstan’s senior most officials  participated in over 59 events at the highest level and 70 bilateral visits.

The country adopted a new Concept of Foreign Policy until 2020 as per President Nazarbayev’s Jan. 29 decree, wherein the EEU was given top priority.

Kazakhstan also successfully negotiated an expanded Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU, and furthered in its path to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Ukraine featured strongly as a major political concern in Kazakhstan, and Astana continually expressed its support for a peaceful de-escalation of the armed conflict and mutual cooperation between countries as per internationally recognized agreements.

Kazakhstan has also been making a strong case for its candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2017-2018, by focusing on basic necessities like energy, food, water security, as well as non-proliferation.

President Nazarbayev focused intensely on regional security in 2014. At the fourth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on May 21 in Shanghai, President Nazarbayev introduced an initiative to transform CICA into an Organisation for Security and Development in Asia. He also led Kazakhstan’s joining of ASEM at the 10th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) summit in Milan.

Nazarbayev held talks with President Barack Obama during the Nuclear Security Summit and emphasized strong relations with the U.S. Kazakhstan maintained strong relations with Russia, with Nazarbayev and Putin holding 10 meetings in 2014. Nazarbayev also made a state visit to China in May, where he signed 16 agreements for furthering bilateral cooperation.

Kazakhstan worked towards harmony in Central Asia by extending humanitarian and economic aid to Afghanistan for rebuilding efforts.

Idrissov also noted that “special attention was paid to attracting further foreign direct investment, promoting Kazakhstan’s export to foreign markets, developing transit-transport cooperation and elaborating on projects in the energy sector, as well as implementing preparations for EXPO 2017.”

A visa-free regime with 10 countries, the creation of Kazakhstan’s own regional aid agency KazAID, and the new Nurly Zhol economic policy were all remarkable achievements of 2014 as well, according to Idrissov.

 

 

Minister Idrissov Attends the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly 0

Posted on October 02, 2014 by KazCham

Tengri News

Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov attended the 69th session of the UN General Assembly that opened on Sept 24 and held bilateral talks with his foreign counterparts and heads of international organizations.

Speaking at the UNGA,  Mr. Idrissov, said he was particularly concerned with the continuing violence in the Middle East and Africa, and now Ukraine, whose impact extends to the entire region including through sanctions being imposed by countries that together make up 60 per cent of the world GDP.

To help adjust to emerging global challenges, the UN should focus on the promotion of tolerance, justice and peace. “We believe a stronger UN presence in Almaty would allow the UN to better support Central Asia and wider Eurasia at a critical time in its history, ‘filling in’ the geographical gap between UN offices in Istanbul and Southeast Asia,” he said.

Two weeks ago, on the International Day Against Nuclear Tests, the UN commemorated the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site – a defining moment for Kazakhstan and a starting point towards peaceful foreign policy.

Kazakhstan is also working hard to transition to a “green economy”, having recently adopted voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Along with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), it is developing a training system in the sectors of oil and gas, agriculture and medicine. As the largest landlocked country in the world, Kazakhstan understands the need to address the special transportation and trade vulnerabilities of such nations.

On Afghanistan, he welcomed the election of the new President and said that economic development is key to the country’s re-emergence as a peaceful and prosperous Central Asian neighbour. Afghanistan’s integration into the region must be in all areas including trade, energy and transportation.

Earlier, on Sept 22, the Minister met top executives s of US companies, notably those of Boeing, Sikorsky Aircraft, Citigroup, Chevron and some others. They dwelt on ways to strengthen cooperation and prospects of business in Kazakhstan following the newly announced incentives for investors. US businessmen lauded the recently introduced visa-free regime for citizens of 10 nations, including the USA.

At the bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, they discussed the current state and prospects of bilateral relations, ways to expand cooperation, interaction within international organizations, and the acute issues on the international agenda.

During his meeting with Secretary Kerry, they affirmed the importance of the strategic partnership and discussed how we can collaborate on regional and global problems. Secretary Kerry reiterated the strong U.S. support for Kazakhstan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and its increasing leadership on the world stage. He raised the importance of the international coalition efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL and discussed with Foreign Minister Idrisov ways to enhance and expand our counterterrorism cooperation.

Secretary Kerry also thanked Foreign Minister Idrissov for Kazakhstan’s longstanding support for the security, political and economic transitions in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Idrisov highlighted Kazakhstan’s leadership in realizing the New Silk Road vision for regional economic cooperation. By helping to build trade and energy linkages across Central and South Asia to increase stability and prosperity for Kazakhstan and its neighbors, Foreign Minister Idrisov underscored how the region could benefit from being “land-linked” instead of “land-locked” and work towards a mutual great gain. Finally, Secretary Kerry expressed his strong support for Kazakhstan’s eventual WTO accession

Delivering concluding remarks at Asia Society’ New Silk Road event, Minister Idrissov spoke about Kazakhstan’s constructive role in enhancing regional connectivity and spoke strongly for win-win cooperation in Central Asia. According to him, “for us, the New Silk Road, is not just about construction of railways, highways, pipelines or broadband across the region, but also the linkages between people. I think the human interaction is much more powerful and enabling in the age of globalization, instant messaging and smart devices.”

Minister Idrissov Supports New Silk Road and Speaks for Enhanced Regional Connectivity 0

Posted on October 01, 2014 by KazCham

Embassy of Kazakhstan in Washington

Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov on September 23rd expressed strong support for reviving the Great Silk Road “as a historical basis for cooperation among Asian countries.” Speaking at the New York event organized by the Asia Society, the top Kazakh diplomat maintained that “Kazakhstan stands to gain from the implementation of various Silk Road projects, as it is a land bridge between East and West, South and North.” He listed a raft of infrastructure projects launched under the ambitious Strategy 2050. One of them is the main transport corridor called “Western Europe – Western China,” which would enhance connectivity and significantly expedite goods delivery from Europe to China. Idrissov also mentioned the creation of new railroads that would open access to the Gulf and Middle East countries, as well as projects to build a shorter route to get from the East to the Caspian and further to the Caucasus and Europe.

The infrastructure projects will “open up additional markets for our goods, boosting economic growth, creating opportunities and pockets of prosperities along highways, railways, pipelines and other lines of communications,” according to the foreign minister. In addition, Idrissov highlighted Kazakhstan’s humanitarian and technical assistance to Afghanistan. He concluded by encouraging the United States and international community to remain involved in the Central Asia region, which remains “one of the least integrated regions in the world.”

Kazakhstan Completes OIC Chairmanship 0

Posted on November 21, 2012 by KazCham

Kazakh Foreign Ministry, Nov 16, 2012

Foreign Minister Idrissov hands over to Djibouti

On November 15, Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) drew to a close. Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov handed over the reins to his counterpart in Djibouti at the meeting of the Council in the East African nation on November 15 – 16.

In a commentary published in the Gulf Times on November 16, Minister Idrissov reflected on the achievements of Kazakhstan during its tenure as chairman since June 2011 and on Kazakhstan’s ambitions for the future of the OIC.

Kazakhstan took on the chairmanship for two reasons, he said: because the OIC provides an important mechanism for uniting the Islamic world at a time when pan-Islamic unity and solidarity is much needed; and secondly, because Kazakhstan believed that it could add important new impulses to the Organization’s long-standing objectives of promoting modernization in the Islamic world in line with the values of Islam based on peace, tolerance and human dignity.

Mr Idrissov recalled that when Kazakhstan assumed the chairmanship in June 2011 it was a particularly challenging moment, just after the events of the “Arab Awakening”, which were in some cases evidence of the lack of economic and social modernization that had delayed progress and deprived people of justice, stability and a positive outlook for the future.

Kazakhstan continues to believe that the OIC’s main focus should be on promoting economic development and competitiveness through trade and investment policies based on effective investment in education, science and technology.

Accordingly, the major initiatives proposed by Kazakhstan during its chairmanship included the establishment of a dialogue platform for the ten leading Islamic economies; the creation of an international center for innovation; support for the small and medium-sized business sector; and the development of a system of food security within the OIC.

Kazakhstan also placed strong emphasis on formulating and implementing the OIC Special Program for Central Asia, a set of measures to promote economic and social development in the region and in neighboring OIC member states.

Another area of focus was the promotion of interfaith and interreligious dialogue within the OIC, in keeping with Kazakhstan’s experience as a country where Islam and Christianity co-exist peacefully along with numerous other faiths.

Afghanistan was a priority focus and Kazakhstan continued its support for the OIC’s long-standing efforts to promote a sustainable peace through socio-economic development and reconstruction. Through its bilateral assistance program, Kazakhstan is devoting considerable resources to re-developing agriculture in Afghanistan in order to support the economy and reduce unemployment.

Looking to the future, Minister Idrissov defined three main priorities for OIC countries: regional stability, gradual political modernization and strengthening the capacity of the OIC itself. He pledged Kazakhstan’s ongoing support for the efforts of the OIC to maintain a bold and purposeful agenda reflecting new priorities, while further strengthening its international role both through its own initiatives and interaction with organizations such as the G20, the EU, the OSCE and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

New impulses for cooperation 0

Posted on November 20, 2012 by KazCham

By Erlan Idrissov, Special to Gulf News, Nov 16, 2012

For the OIC to be successful, many of its member states need to find solutions to their problems of political and socio-economic development

Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the 57-country Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ended on Thursday when it was succeeded by Djibouti. As Kazakhstan prepares to hand over the reins, it is time to reflect on what it set out to do and what it believes it has accomplished.

Kazakhstan took on the chairmanship in June 2011 for two reasons — first, because it believes that the OIC provides an important mechanism for uniting the Islamic world at a time when pan-Islamic unity and solidarity is needed; and second, because it felt it could add important new impulses to the OIC’s long-standing objectives of promoting modernisation in the Islamic world in line with the values of Islam, based on peace, tolerance and human dignity.

Kazakhstan assumed the chairmanship at a particularly challenging moment after the events of the “Arab Awakening”. There were evidences, in some cases, of the lack of economic and social modernisation that had delayed progress and deprived millions of people in OIC countries of justice, stability and a better future.

Speaking at the June 2011 Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, emphasised that the Islamic world, despite its vast economic potential, still had to solve the fundamental issues of peace and modernisation and address the vital needs of ordinary people.

Kazakhstan continues to believe that the OIC’s main focus should be on promoting economic development and competitiveness through trade and investment policies based on effective investment in education, science and technology.

This explains why Kazakhstan has proposed, during its chairmanship, a number of major initiatives — including the establishment of a dialogue platform for the ten leading Islamic economies, the creation of an international centre of innovations, support for small and medium-sized businesses and the development of a system of food security within the OIC.

At the same time, Kazakhstan has placed strong emphasis on formulating and implementing the OIC Special Programme for Central Asia — a set of measures to promote economic and social development in the region and in neighbouring OIC member states.

Kazakhstan has strongly promoted inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue based on the experience in Kazakhstan — a country where Islam and Christianity meet and coexist peacefully alongside numerous other religions and faiths.

Kazakhstan has also made Afghanistan an area of priority focus and has supported the OIC’s long-standing efforts to promote sustainable peace through socio-economic development and reconstruction. Through its bilateral assistance programme, for example, Kazakhstan is devoting significant resources to re-developing agriculture to improve the economy and reduce unemployment.

Based on the support and encouragement the country has received from other member states and the OIC’s secretariat, Kazakhstan believes that its approach has contributed to strengthening the OIC and given it new impulses in the second half of its Ten-Year Programme of Action. This began in 2005 and is aimed at promoting tolerance, modernisation, wide-ranging reforms as well as good governance and promotion of human rights.

Looking beyond Kazakhstan’s chairmanship, there are three main priorities for OIC countries: Regional stability, gradual political modernisation and strengthening the capacity of the OIC itself.

Sustaining regional stability is an acute priority challenge. Instability in one country can spill over into another with dangerous consequences. The intensification of the crisis in Syria, for example, risks moving beyond a potential humanitarian catastrophe to become a source of regional instability and even conflict. Kazakhstan continues to believe that the principles of sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs must be upheld and that efforts to resolve the crisis must focus on bringing together representatives of the Syrian government and opposition forces to halt the bloodshed and develop a plan for Syria’s transition.

Kazakhstan sees political modernisation in the Islamic world as essential to prevent countries from falling into the hands of extremists and allowing radical and destructive groups to mislead the population and destroy the social, ethnic and religious balance. We warmly welcome the efforts of the new leaderships of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to maintain social peace and equality based on democratic values. In the Islamic world, evolution — rather than revolution — is the safest and most effective way to establish effective systems of democratic rule, economic progress and social justice.

Finally, the OIC needs effective tools to pursue its ambitious agenda. Since the process of OIC reforms began in 2005, we have seen many impressive achievements. Kazakhstan strongly supports the efforts of the OIC and its Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, to maintain a bold and purposeful agenda, reflecting new priorities, while further strengthening the OIC’s international role through its own initiatives and its interaction with other organisations such as the G20, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Kazakhstan also strongly supports the initiative of the OIC Secretary-General to open six OIC regional offices.

For the OIC to be successful in the international arena, many of its member states need to find solutions to their problems of political and socio-economic development by raising living standards and creating stability. More success stories of this kind in the Islamic world will be the most effective way to strengthen the international presence of the organisation.

Erlan Idrissov is Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan.



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