President Tokayev Promotes an Active Kazakhstan in First Presidential Trip Abroad
Jun 27, 2019
Kazakh President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev made his first foreign trip as President to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan during the week of June 10. The veteran diplomat attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. Emphasizing the importance of the multilateral SCO and CICA organizations, President Tokayev also affirmed his country’s commitment to establish a multilateral global order, based on good-neighborliness, mutual confidence and respect, as well as Kazakhstan’s own importance in realizing these objectives. Kazakhstan’s Path to Regional Prominence Kazakhstan’s long-standing foreign policy, as developed by its first president Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been to pursue a balancing act between major powers. Observing the global scene, Kazakhstan focused on developing, which it did rapidly. The instability in Afghanistan, with its far-reaching consequences of drug-trafficking and extremists spreading throughout the Central Asian region, pressed Kazakhstan to take a more active role. This has all been part of Nazarbayev’s drive to put Kazakhstan in the top 50 developed countries and join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But in order to join this organization, one must have a mechanism for Official Development Assistance (ODA). Thus in 2014, the Kazakhs created KazAID, which is their own ODA. Through KazAid, Kazakhstan has been providing aid to the rest of Central Asia, especially Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Kazakhstan as Central Asia’s ‘Brotherly State’ Following this momentum, Kazakhstan has begun positioning itself, if informally, as big brother to its fellow Central Asian states. And as part of this, it has started to voice its own opinions on how the world should work in this multipolar world order. President Nazarbayev’s ‘Triple D’ that he spoke of at the Second Belt and Road Forum is the perfect example of this. The Ds represent ‘dialogues’ that need to be established:
- A dialogue at a global level, between the United States, Russia, China, and the European Union;
- A dialogue focusing on Eurasia, that would synergize CICA and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); and
- The creation of a systematic economic dialogue between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the EU, the SCO, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.