Geo-economy of Eurasian region discussed at Astana Club
The first meeting of Astana Сlub has gathered over 50 experts in economics, politics, international relationships to discuss the geo-economic situation in the Eurasian region, Tengrinews reports.
Astana Club is the first international discussion platform dedicated to development of the Eurasian region. Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov also joined the meeting of the сlub.
“Today’s world, as you have been discussing, presents us with a lot of surprises. Some things, that were very hard to imagine even 10 years ago, things like the tension in Eastern Europe or the resumption of war in the Middle East, these things form our modern reality or the new normalcy, as they say it in China today. We have to respond and react adequately to the existing challenges,” Karim Massimov said at the meeting.
During the discussion the Prime Minister pointed out that Kazakhstan had such a geostrategic position that nearly everything the United States or Eurasia discussed had an immediate value for the development of Kazakhstan.
“Russia is our strategic partner, China is our strategic partner, too. (....) We hope that we will sign an agreement in December regarding the advanced partnership with the European Union. The USA is our major partner, as well as almost all the countries of Central Asia and the Middle East. Our President has been building the relationships - if you look at the geography of his trips in September, October and November you can see that he met with almost every major player. He met with the leaderships of China and the Russian Federation, the US President, US Secretary of State Kerry came to Kazakhstan with a visit and he also met the Prime Minister of Japan. Our President’s visits to the United Kingdom and France just have ended. All of these issues are mutually intertwined,” the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan pointed out.
Photo © Tengrinews.kz
Speaking of strategic partners, MP Massimov yet again advocated for the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union and its working principles. “We support this project, but we observe it strictly as an economic project, without any political component. This is Kazakhstan’s position regarding the issue at hand. We think that the Chinese program One Belt, One Path is a very important program. Kazakhstan wants to participate in the development of that program alongside the People’s Republic of China in both bilateral and multilateral formats. We think that one of the largest economic projects that will exist in the coming decades is precisely the development of the Silk Way Economic Belt, initiated by China,” Massimov concluded his speech.
Delegates, too, noted the strategic importance of Eurasia in the global economy. The meeting did not only focus on Kazakhstan, but also dwelt on the interests of China, Russia, the USA and the EU.
"I think it was very important to have this forum in Kazakhstan; it was excellently organized. I think Kazakhstan clearly is the leader in Central Asia and we did discuss today what might happened if Kazakhstan receives a rotating seat at the UN Security Council from 2017," Angela Stent, the Director of the Eurasian, Russian and East European studies of Georgetown University is quoted as saying by Kazakh TV.
Speaking about the meeting in Astana, Stefan Meister, the Head of Program on Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia at the German Council on Foreign Relations, said: "The positive side of this meeting was that we focused on geo-economics and not on geopolitics. And we really pointed out that there is a chance here in Central Asia maybe not to focus all the time on what divides us. This meeting gives some hope that we can shift to the economic topics and to economic cooperation and cooperation of common benefit," Meister said.
A participant from Kazakhstan, Sultan Akibekov, Director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics, also emphasized the importance of the discussion platform.
50 participants from the USA, Russia, European Union, China, Turkey, Iran and Kazakhstan met in Astana. The list of Astana club participants also included the former Chinese ambassador in Russia, Director of the Institute of Development of European and Asian Countries at the Research and Development Center of China’s State Council Li Fenglin, the former Finance Minister of Pakistan and Vice President of the World Bank Shahid Javed Burki, as well as Ambassador-at-large of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bilahari Kausikan.
Experts discussed key issues affecting the development of the region: effects of the crisis in the relationship between Russia and the West, Kazakhstan as a new “bridge” between the West and the East, opportunities presented by new infrastructure projects like the Silk Way Economic Belt, and finally the possible outcome of the competition of the transport corridors.
The Astana Club meeting was organized by the Foundation of the First President of Kazakhstan and by the Institute of World Economics and Politics.
Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Gyuzel Kamalova