Security Forum discusses key challenges in Central Asia
The situation in Afghanistan and the role of its neighbours, energy security and common security issues in Central Asia were high on the agenda of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Security Forum which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan from 24 to 25 June 2009.
After a Working Dinner in the evening of 24th June, the meeting opened on 25th June with a plenary session including keynote speeches by the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Marat Tazhin and the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Mr. Per Stig Møller.
“Today, Kazakhstan is NATO's most active Partner in the Central Asian region. There has been solid progress in defence and military cooperation," the Secretary General said. "The issues that we will discuss today range from Afghanistan to the Caucasus, and from energy security to Central Asian security. Each of these topics affects NATO Allies and Partner countries. And so each of them has a strong Partnership dimension", he added.
After delivering a welcome speech on behalf of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin underlined the importance of the Forum. “This forum is a perfect venue for dialogue. I hope that everyone here is prepared to discuss the complex issues of the region in a constructive and mutually beneficial manner", he said.
"Due to its geographical location Central Asia serves as a kind of testing ground for trends coming from the West and the East. Our task is not to mechanically apply experiences of other regions but rather to creatively reconsider alternative models and gradually develop our own unique regional architecture”, he added.
The meeting, hosted by the Kazakh authorities, brought together high level representatives from NATO and Partner countries, as well as representatives of other international organisations, special guests (including from Afghanistan), academics, businessmen and journalists.