President, Experts Seek Solutions at 3rd Astana Club Meeting

More than 60 politicians, scholars and thought leaders from 28 countries, including Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, discussed global policy issues including sanctions confrontations and integration prospects at the Nov. 13-14 Astana Club’s third meeting.

President Nazarbayev praised the gathering as a platform to discuss the Eurasian continent’s future and seek solutions to global issues.

“We are trying to bring to the world something that it has recently lacked so much – unification, cohesion and tolerance for solving global problems,” the President said.

Among those problems, said Nazarbayev, is the spreading of international terrorism resulting from deepening global geopolitical and ideological fault lines.

“The construction of a new architecture for global development takes place in the context of a deepening geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-ideological fault along the East-West line. Political repression, poverty, low level of education and health are a breeding ground for international terrorism and extremism,” he said, adding that sanctions wars fragment the economic and technical space.

He also noted the rise in terrorism in recent years as well as the resurgent threat of nuclear weapons.

“Since the beginning of the third millennium, the number of terrorist attacks, as well as the number of deaths, has increased tenfold, and terrorist attacks have occurred in 104 countries, more than half of the world. By geography and scale, we are, conditionally, in the state of the third world war – a war against terror,” said Nazarbayev.

Other issues upon which Nazarbayev spoke include international migration, population growth food resources. And, he said, the implementation of the Belt and Road initiative, the Eurasian Economic Union, the economic dimension of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Nurly Zhol programme and other projects makes it possible to create a fundamentally new geo-economic configuration of the Eurasian continent.

Other meeting speakers included Kanat Jumabayev, executive director of the First Kazakh President Foundation, who praised the club for following Chatham House Rules, which provide anonymity of expert opinions.

Former Polish Prime Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz also praised the forum.

“It was the right decision to choose that kind of topic about Eurasia, because in the changing world when almost everywhere, everything becomes new unlike it was before, it is the perfect time to think in terms about the future of incorporation and the relations of Asia and Europe,” he said.

He also spoke about the role of Kazakhstan in international relations.

“Many people, especially most of the political leaders, are very well aware of the significance of Kazakhstan’s initiatives concerning the nuclearisation of the country over 25 years ago and all of the following initiatives concerning the liquidation of nuclear arms. That used to be a kind of traditional area of Kazakh activity. But in the last ten years there were more initiatives presented by President Nazarbayev to the United Nations and other partners; for example, the problem of Syria where Kazakhstan did a great service in the kind of mediation which was difficult at the very beginning,” he said.

Cimoszewicz noted the participants were impressed by the country’s modernisation plans, including the launch of the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and the role Kazakhstan wants to play in the Belt and Road initiative.

David Chikvaidze, chef de cabinet of the United Nations director-general office in Geneva, thanked the Kazakh President and the forum organisers. He also praised Kazakhstan’s role in mediating international conflicts.

“It is no accident that the Syrian talks are held in Astana as a supplement to the Geneva talks. Kazakhstan provided a platform for this kind of international meeting due to impartiality, equidistance and a balanced approach to the issue,” he said.

Yerzhan Saltybayev, director of the First Kazakh President Foundation Institute of World Economy and Politics, also stressed the neutrality of the Astana club organisation.

“Our task is to provide a platform and to give an opportunity to discuss many things. Astana secured its role as a global neutral platform, where strategic dialogues take place at the highest political level,” he said.