Last week on 11-12 October, the capital city of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan hosted the sixth meeting for the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA).
The event hosted foreign ministers and deputies from member states along with observers from countries including Bahrain, Belarus, India, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, as well as heads of international organizations and diplomatic missions.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev held a meeting with the heads of delegations participating in the CICA Foreign Ministers meeting and discussed ambitious priorities underpinned by the strategic goal of transforming the CICA into a full-fledged international organization.
Tokayev noted that CICA has essential features of an international organization, including foundational documents, decision-making and working bodies, an operational budget and a permanent secretariat, and CICA’s transformation will highlight the new role of Asia in global affairs, affirming CICA member states’ commitment to creating a genuinely common, indivisible and comprehensive security architecture on the largest continent.
Thanking President Tokayev for his attention and support for the CICA process, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered remarks via video link focusing on the need to join hands in maintaining security and stability, to actively promote economic recovery and to firmly practice multilateralism.
Indian Foreign Minister Jayshankar applauded Kazakhstan’s chairmanship and contribution as a strong force to advance CICA objectives and applauded CICA participants’ collaboration, reaffirming CICA members’ commitment to the Kazakhstan President in enhancing peace, security and stability in Asia.
In his opening remarks during the event, the Acting Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan Akan Rakhmetullin read out a statement from the First President of Kazakhstan and the founder of CICA back in 1992 Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Nazarbayev said in his statement that “Seeking solutions to the most acute problems of the continent requires a multilateral approach and cooperation.”
He added that “Amid the growing global dominance and cold war narratives, CICA remains an important global political center promoting the principles of “partnership, equality and mutual solidarity.”
In his opening remarks, Akan Rakhmetullin noted the importance of the region in terms of economic and human potential.
“What remains unchanged is that Asia is our common home, and it is our responsibility to address acute issues. There are still zones of instability, risk of nuclear non-proliferation, terrorism and extremism risks,” he said.
Following the event, the Ministers adopted major and important documents such as the Statement of the CICA Chairmanship.
The document notes the importance of strengthening cooperation between the CICA countries to ensure security and peace in Asia, countering new challenges and threats, including in the field of epidemiological security, environmental protection and adaptation to climate change, sustainable economic development, promoting the digital economy, interconnection in the field transport and logistics, cultural dialogue, etc. Special attention is paid to the situation in Afghanistan. Transformation of the CICA Think Tank Forum into a permanent platform is welcomed.
They also updated the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures. The Catalogue adapted to modern realities includes such new priority areas of cooperation as epidemiological safety, public health and pharmaceuticals, information and communication technologies, and the fight against terrorism
The ministerial meeting agreed on the Regulations on the CICA Council of Eminent Persons. The Council of Eminent Persons is supposed to be a consultative and advisory body of the CICA on a wide range of issues of interaction and development of the CICA, including the issues of strengthening peace and security, implementation of confidence-building measures, as well as further priorities within the CICA. Along with Amendments to the CICA Rules of Procedure regarding the status of observers.
In its chairmanship statement, Kazakhstan announced that Ministers reemphasized that cooperation in the CICA region will be based on respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non – interference in internal affairs, peaceful co-existence, mutual benefit and refraining from the threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with principles and purposes of the UN Charter. The Ministers also affirmed their commitment to the principles of the UN Charter and international law, including in the peaceful settlement of disputes.
The statement highlighted the importance of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as the process of promoting and protecting human rights should be conducted in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and international law.
Ministers also showed support the proposal by the CICA Chairman-in-Office to hold structured discussions on transformation of CICA into an international organization for regional security and cooperation in Asia and will study the concept of the transformation.
All participants agreed to continue active cooperation within the framework of the CICA and welcomed Kazakhstan’s proposal to host the 6th CICA Summit in 2022, as Kazakhstan is chairing the Meeting in 2020-2022.
In addition, the participants took part in the inauguration of the new office of the CICA Secretariat in Nur-Sultan.
CICA Executive Director Ambassador Kairat Sarybay welcomed participants and said “It is very symbolic that inauguration of the new office of CICA is taking place on the eve of its 30th Anniversary and under the Chairmanship of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the host country of the Secretariat.”
He added that the new premises allow to increase the Secretariat’s international staff capacity in order to ensure a fair and balanced representation of all CICA regions at the CICA headquarter, extending his thanks to the Government of Kazakhstan.
Since the first inception in 1992, The number of CICA members have reached 27 Asian countries, 5 partner organizations along with 9 countries and 5 international organizations with observed statuses including Malaysia and Indonesia.