Kazakh analyst calls Astana 'optimal platform' for Ukraine talks08 january 2015, 14:45
In an interview to Tengrinews on January 6, Kazakh political analyst Yerlan Karin commented on the possible talks of the Norman Quartet about the Ukrainian crisis in Astana.
The press service of Akorda earlier informed that Astana was ready to host talks on the crisis in Ukraine in January 2015. As a result of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s negotiations with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2014, an agreement was reached on the possible meeting of the leaders of the two countries in Astana with participation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
President Poroshenko said on December 29 during a press conference: "My diplomatic year begins on January 15 with a visit to Astana, where we will hold a meeting in the Normandy format.”
Back in August 2014, Yerlan Karin said the talks on the crisis in Ukraine would be held in Astana after Minsk. So it came as no surprise to him that the leaders of the Norman Quartet were planning a visit to Kazakhstan this January.
"It was expected from the very beginning that Astana would host the meeting. (…) Our mission was predetermined by the situation itself,” he said. Karin elaborated that Astana was the most suitable place for all the parties involved to meet. Kiev and Moscow were out of question. Meeting in Minsk could also be a problem, since Belarus and Europe have long had complicated relations. Therefore, Astana is the “optimal platform” that is convenient for all parties in this case, he said.
“In addition, Astana has equal and trust-based relationships with all parties, and we are objectively interested in reducing the tensions, because the Ukrainian crisis as a whole, the so-called sanctions standoff directly or indirectly affect the situation in our region," he said.
Hence, the meeting is just yet another stage for Astana, Karin said, “since it does not really matter where the meeting takes place, as long as consultations and negotiations continue.”
Understanding that the upcoming talks might not produce any immediate results, Karin was nevertheless optimistic.
"Don’t expect any immediate results from the upcoming meeting. The most important thing has already happened. The next stage of the consultations and negotiations has started, the dialogue process has been given a new impetus," he said.
Karin recognized a certain degree of skepticism expressed in the media about the meeting. “But in fact, the process is ongoing. Yesterday in Berlin there was a meeting at the level of political directors - representatives of the four countries. Now the meeting of the Norman Quartet at the ministerial level has been announced, which means that the main points were likely agreed upon, so there is a chance that the summit of leaders of the four countries will take place here in Astana," he concluded.
Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Dinara Urazova