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Astana, July 20: At the International Conference on Afghanistan, held on July 20 in Kabul, Kazakhstan put forward the strategy prioritizing the rehabilitation and post-conflict restoration of Afghanistan with strengthening the humanitarian component in the assistance from the international community. The visit and participation of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Secretary of State-Minister of Foreign Affairs Kanat Saudabayev of Kazakhstan are viewed as an important step towards development of the Kazakh-Afghan cooperation and promotion of priorities of Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship.

President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai opened the conference with a welcome address followed by the speeches of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasul, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Special Representative for Afghanistan Staffan De Mistura. 

Commending the Afghan government’s work for the conference organization, Minister Saudabayev expressed a strong determination in the need of the international community’s supporting the implementation of the Afghanistan National Development Strategy in order to build a stable, democratic, and prosperous Afghan state. 

“We are convinced of the need to strengthen the cooperation of multilateral structures in the settlement of the Afghan issue with the leading role of the United Nations and taking into account the position of the Afghan Government,” he said.  

Speaking of the enhancing of the security in the country Saudabayev reminded of the concrete proposals on the training of Afghan border officials and police personnel at training centers in Kazakhstan. 

As for the combating drug trafficking and related threats, Saudabayev stressed: “Kazakhstan considers it necessary to make use to the maximum extent possible of the opportunities provided by the UN Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) for combating illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors and to share information between the OSCE Action against Terrorism Unit and the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”. 

Calling upon the OSCE countries to actively involve in resolving the Afghan issue, Saudabayev emphasized the importance of changing the very paradigm of combating challenges, emanating from Afghanistan, from military means to eradication of sources of these challenges. 

Kazakhstan actively promotes the Afghan agenda during ongoing events held under the auspices of Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship in the OSCE. On July 8 and 9 this year, an International Conference on Combating the Threat of Illicit Drugs and Strengthening Control of Precursor Chemicals took place under our auspices in Vienna. The Afghan issue will also be taken up at the planned OSCE Conference on combating terrorism on 20 and 21 October this year in Astana. 

“Helping the Afghans move from the military conflict to a constructive track is a main objective of both the OSCE and international coalition,” Saudabayev stressed. “On behalf of the OSCE, I would like to express our readiness to assist in the electoral reform and our hope that the upcoming parliamentary election of September 18 will contribute to the establishment of the full-fledged legislative and executive branches of the government and, ultimately, to building a stable and democratic state in Afghanistan.”

Realizing the Afghan problems could not be solved only militarily, Kazakhstan on the bilateral basis takes active part in the processes of rehabilitating Afghanistan. 

Over recent years, Kazakhstan has allocated some US$ 4 million to rebuilding schools, hospitals and roads in Afghanistan. Astana has also delivered to Afghanistan about three thousand tons of wheat, transferred US$ 1 million to the Special Fund for Islamic solidarity of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the part of which will be directed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts. 

The year of 2010 will see the start of the Kazakh-Afghan intergovernmental agreement on providing vocational training for one thousand Afghans at the Kazakh universities, and for this purpose Astana has allocated US$ 50 million. 

As part of his visit to Kabul, Saudabayev held talks with President Hamid Karzai on the issues of cooperation in the multilateral and bilateral formats. 

President Karzai commended the results of a recent informal meeting

of OSCE foreign ministers in Almaty, including the consensus on holding the OSCE summit in Kazakhstan this year.  

Afghanistan firmly supports Kazakhstan’s efforts as OSCE Chairman and the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev to hold the OSCE Summit, one of the key themes of which may be increasing the assistance to Afghanistan by the OSCE countries, Karzai stressed. 

During the meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon the sides noted the importance of proper celebration of August 29 as the UN-recognized International Day Against Nuclear Tests. Ban Ki-moon and Saudabayev agreed to continue regular consultations on the situation in Central Asia and other important international issues. 

Saudabayev also held talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where they discussed bilateral issues and the cooperation within the OSCE. 

Secretary Clinton thanked Kazakhstan for the recent ratification of an agreement for land transit of special cargoes through Kazakhstan onto Afghanistan, which is an important element in the overall efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan.  

She said she was pleased with a consensus reached at the recent OSCE informal ministerial in Astana regarding holding the OSCE summit this year, and said the United States is looking forward to finalizing the exact dates for such a meeting later this year. Secretary Clinton also expressed satisfaction with the understanding reached by the OSCE foreign ministers that the OSCE is to send a Police Advisory Group to Kyrgyzstan shortly. She thanked Kazakhstan for President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s ‘essential’ leadership in helping resolve the crisis in Kyrgyzstan. 

The OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna is to make a formal decision on both the deployment of the Police Advisory Group and the dates of the summit later this year. 

While in Kabul, Saudabayev also conferred with a number of colleagues including Zalmai Rasoul of Afghanistan, Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Guido Westerwelle of Germany, Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey, Audronius Azubalis of Lithuania, Hamrokhon Zarifi of Tajikiistan, as well as EU High Representative for foreign policy Baroness Catherine Ashton. 

The International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul was designed as an event summing up the results of intensive work and thorough discussion of the policy priorities of the Afghan Government, which are implemented through national programs aimed at promoting economic growth and job creation. Based on the commitments made at the London Conference (January 2010), this conference in Kabul is organized to support the Afghan authorities to establish a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.


Full text of the Statement by Mr. Kanat  Saudabayev, Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE and Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, at the International Conference on Afghanistan

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