New York, January 19, 2018 – the UN Security Council under the Presidency of Kazakhstan held a ministerial-level debate on Building regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model to link security and development for the first time.
Foreign Ministers of Central Asia states and members of the UN Security Council, as well as the UN Secretary-General and the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan took part in the event.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Kairat Abdrakhmanov in his speech noted that the President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the political address on the occasion of the beginning of Kazakhstan's work in the UNSC titled “Conceptual vision of Kazakhstan to strengthen global partnership for building the safe, just and prosperous world" emphasized seven priority directions, one of which is to turn Central Asia and Afghanistan into a model zone of peace, cooperation and security. As another priority for our country's non-permanent membership in the Security Council, the head of state highlighted the contribution to long-term stability and sustainable peace by promoting the concept of interdependence of security and development.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres highly appreciated regional initiatives of Central Asian states and Afghanistan, including in the fields of water management, energy, infrastructure, and education, noting the willingness of the Organization to encourage such cooperation. In particular, he highlighted the initiative of the President Nazarbayev being implemented in Kazakhstan on giving free education to 1000 young Afghans in educational institutions of our country. According to the UN Secretary-General, joint efforts of the countries of the region in combating cross-border crime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, as well as countering terrorism, especially in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, are of great importance.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov welcomed “responsible and consistent approach of Kazakhstan" to promote the interests of the Central Asian region on the Security Council platform. At the same time, he stressed the concern of the international community about unprecedented increase in drug production in Afghanistan, and called for urgent measures to tackle this threat. In his opinion, the situation in this country requires a comprehensive approach of regional states and the world community as a whole.
The first deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan emphasized that the international community should assist in starting negotiations between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, which ignores relevant calls of the Afghan leadership. According to him, it is necessary to work together to deprive the Taliban movement of resources and isolate it in order to convince them that the only place where they could achieve their goals is the negotiating table.
Heads of delegations of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan who spoke in the Security Council, confirmed the importance of economic assistance to Afghanistan while simultaneously solving security issues in order to achieve long-term peace and stability in that country. Representatives of the Central Asian states reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening long-term cooperation with Afghanistan. Precise examples of successful deepening and expansion of trade and economic ties between the countries of the region and Afghanistan were provided.
Results of the ministerial debate showed that Central Asian states are ready to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan by extending interaction and implementing specific regional projects in transit transport, infrastructure, trade, economic, investment, and energy fields. They stressed that the country should be considered not as a threat, but as an important and promising partner with great untapped potential.
Representatives of the Security Council member states positively estimated efforts of Astana in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan. At the same time, the importance of the first since 2010 visit of the Security Council to Afghanistan, carried out at the initiative of Kazakhstan was noted, where members of the Council managed to obtain first-hand information on real situation in the country. The visit contributed to a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of current dynamics of Afghanistan's development, and once again convinced the Council of the need to provide assistance to Kabul in expanding regional ties with Central Asian states, as well as in nonseparability of security and development issues and the importance of promoting the principle of the One UN in tackling the problems of this long-suffering country.
Following the debate, the statement of the President, unanimously approved by all the UN Security Council member states, was adopted which calls on the international community to support Afghanistan through the expansion of regional cooperation and more efficient use of preventive diplomacy tools. Such approach is aimed at creating a zone of peace, cooperation and prosperity in Central Asia as a model applicable in other regions.