20th anniversary of Astana
Over 20 years, Astana has become not only a political, economic and cultural center of independent Kazakhstan, but also a global platform where topics of peacekeeping and international development are discussed. This was voiced by foreign politicians and experts at ‘Astana: The City of Peace’ conference. According to the participants, an important victory for Kazakhstan's diplomacy and its real step towards strengthening international security was the historic Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) summit in Europe in 2010. The adoption of the Astana Declaration linked the Euro-Atlantic and Euro-Asian security systems.
FRANCO FRATTINI, FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF ITALY:
- I think the message taken from Astana declaration is still alive, still very important to have a global security dimension from Vladivostok to Vancouver but it’s important also to take in consideration what happened after the Arab springs, after Syria, Libya, Yemen, African countries spreading of terrorism in that region. This is why I think Astana and Kazakhstan can continue to play its role as a leader in promoting peace and security.
Kazakhstan’s capital has become an effective platform for negotiating settlement to the Syrian conflict. Peacekeeping efforts are reflected in the work of the UN Security Council, where Kazakhstan is represented as a non-permanent member. According to experts, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy provides an opportunity to successfully conduct all peacekeeping missions. Every year, the number of foreign diplomatic missions and representative offices of international organizations is growing in Astana. This testifies the capital’s transformation into one of the leading political centers of the region.
ARIEL COHEN, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL:
- Mediation in Syrian dialogue and in other efforts is growing and I'm very happy to be here. I'm very happy that Astana is playing a role and will be playing a more pronounce role in international diplomacy.
Based on the joint appeal following the results of the conference, Kazakhstan’s capital has become a place to promote large-scale initiatives of economic cooperation such as the Silk Road Economic Belt. The treaty of the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was also signed in Astana. The city hosted the first summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Science and Technology. Today, the capital of Kazakhstan participates in all integration processes in the region and conducts a balanced foreign policy.
PETER BURIAN, EU SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR CENTRAL ASIA:
- We don't see One Belt, One Road initiative as zero-sum game. We see it as one of the initiatives and we hope that we can combine different directions of connectivity, and Central Asia plays a very important role in this regard. I hope that Kazakhstan become an important venue and part of the global efforts to make peace, will be also an important center for this connectivity and directions between Europe and Asia.
Experts also highlighted the successful organization of Astana EXPO 2017. They say that the mega-event attracted the attention of the world community to the development of the future of energy. The speakers noted the important organizations that are being set up at the Expo site such as the Astana International Financial Center, the International Center for Green Technologies, and the International Technopark of IT Startups will have a positive influence on the development of Kazakhstan and the region.