In the presence of heads of state, ministers and heads of companies and international organizations, the Astana International Forum will open tomorrow (Thursday) in the capital of Kazakhstan.
Roman Vasilenko, photo: Government of Kazakhstan
This is an upgrade of the Astana Economic Forum, known as the "Davos Forum" of Eurasia, but this year the organizers decided to expand the range of topics, and the dozens of sessions and panels will also deal with issues of sustainability and international development, energy and climate change, as well as issues of international security.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan,
The latter issue has become particularly acute since Russia invaded Ukraine, and it has also affected Kazakhstan. The reason: The war damaged supply chains from the East to Europe, the routes that pass through the northern route (through Kazakhstan to Russia and Belarus and from there to the European Union). Inflation has also risen and remains high.
Due to extensive economic cooperation with Russia – with which Kazakhstan shares the world's second-longest land border – and membership in international organizations in the Eurasian region, Astana has not joined the sanctions, but judging by the words of Deputy Foreign Minister Roman Vasilenko, there is also a reason in principle. "We believe that sanctions and the use of military force are not a solution to conflicts," Vasilenko told reporters from around the world. "However, we have made it clear to all our partners – the US, the EU – but also Russia – that the territory of Kazakhstan will not be used to circumvent the sanctions. Everyone understands that we are not interested in inviting more pressure on the Kazakh economy because of secondary sanctions."
In order not to risk dependence on its huge neighbor to the north, which is under sanctions by Western democracies, Kazakhstan is eager to promote the Middle Corridor, which will connect China with Kazakhstan by rail, roads and sea routes, and both with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. At the same time, the project is not only about making the northern route to Russia problematic, but also about Kazakhstan's desire to further strengthen its position as a regional power in Central Asia.
Kazakhstan is not only the largest of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia, but also has an economy larger than its four regional neighbors combined. Foreign direct investment is one-third greater than in its four Central Asian neighbors (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan). At the same time, Astana stresses that their international status is derived first of all from a multi-vector foreign policy, in an attempt to avoid dependence or conflict – a conscious choice, which is nevertheless influenced by Kazakhstan's being the largest country in the world without access to the sea. "Since independence, we have strived to contribute to world peace, stability and stability," Vaselenko said. "I want to emphasize: Kazakhstan has no bad or tense relations with any country, near or far, and there are constructive and good relations with all of them." For this reason, the organizers of the Astana forum believe, the country can serve as a voice and platform for countries interested in a less polarized world – a polarization that could be felt especially in the language of the joint declarations issued by G7 leaders in Hiroshima a few weeks ago regarding China, and in Chinese reactions to the summit.
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