Jeddah (UNA-OIC) – This year marks the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence. During this period, the country has undergone transformations in all spheres of life.
On this occasion, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Saudi Arabia Berik Aryn, who also serves as Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), delivered a speech here today at the Opening Ceremony of the Photo Exhibition “Internationally Recognized Kazakhstan” dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of Kazakhstan.
The following is the full text of the opening remarks by Ambassador Berik Aryn:
Dear Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the OIC Secretary-General!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
It is with great honor to welcome all of you today at the Opening Ceremony of the Photo Exhibition on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan under the theme “Internationally Recognized Kazakhstan.”
First of all, let me express my gratitude to the OIC General Secretariat for support in organizing this event and to all our guests for their participation in the Exhibition.
Taking this opportunity, I would also like to express special appreciation and thanks on behalf of the Kazakh side and on my behalf to Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen for his significant contribution as the OIC Secretary-General to the development of the Organization’s activities, expanding interaction between the OIC Member States, particularly with Kazakhstan, and strengthening the entire Muslim Ummah.
This year Kazakhstan is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. But this is only the period of the recent history of Kazakhstan. You know that the history of the Kazakh people goes back deep into the past.
Kazakhstan is a proud descendant of the great nomadic civilization of the Great Steppe, represented by numerous nomadic state entities, including the Sakas, the Huns, the Turkic Kaganate, the Golden Horde, and the Kazakh Khanate, which was established in 1465. Kazakhstan regained its independence on 16th December 1991.
Under the wise leadership of First President Nursultan Nazarbayev and owing to the cohesion of the Kazakh people, Kazakhstan transformed from a country without state borders, in a state of economic crisis, with high unemployment and hyperinflation into a prosperous and dynamically developing state in the region.
At the dawn of independence, Kazakhstan embarked on a series of reforms to shift its economy from a centrally planned system to a modern free-market model and change its one-party government to a multi-party democratic system.
We have succeeded in increasing GDP 16-fold – from 11 billion to 180 billion US Dollars and attracting more than 330 billion dollars in foreign direct investment. Kazakhstan accounts for approximately 70% of foreign direct investment into Central Asia.
Thus, today Kazakhstan holds leading regional positions regarding economic reforms, openness to international trade, investment, and political stability.
The measures taken at that time allowed Kazakhstan to ensure sustainable economic growth, form a system of state institutions, build a new capital, and strengthen international credibility thanks to its stable and efficient internal and foreign policy.
Profound successes have been achieved in the foreign policy arena. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan peacefully settled its borders with all of its neighboring states. Today our country is pursuing a multi-vector foreign policy to establish good relations worldwide.
Over the past 30 years, we have established diplomatic relations with 186 countries and transformed into one of the dynamically developing economies of Eurasia and a respected diplomatic voice on the world stage.
As you know, Kazakhstan is the global leader in the movement to ensure nuclear security, which closed the biggest nuclear test site back in the 1990s and abandoned the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
On the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the UN General Assembly declared August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. In this regard, last week, we also celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the closure of the Semey Nuclear Test Site.
In addition, Kazakhstan contributes to international efforts on strengthening global and regional security, crisis settlement, intercultural dialogue, and sustainable development.
Kazakhstan convened the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and is an active participant of regional projects, being one of the founders of the Eurasian Economic Union and a co-founder of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking States.
Over the years, Kazakhstan became the first post-Soviet and the first Muslim-majority country to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
We continue to contribute to the settlement of the Syrian crisis through the Astana Process, which provided a platform for negotiations between the parties involved.
A contribution is being made to the rebuilding of Afghanistan, provided with humanitarian and other development aid.
Kazakhstan also became the first country in Central Asia, elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017-2018, and first among the CIS and Eastern Europe countries who took a right to host the International Exhibition “EXPO-2017” in Nur-Sultan on the theme “Energy of the Future.”
Thanks to the wise and deliberate policy of the country’s leadership and the peaceful and tolerant nature of the people of Kazakhstan, we also managed to preserve peace and stability in the country, build a unique model of interethnic and interfaith harmony.
One of the significant initiatives of Kazakhstan aimed at strengthening interfaith harmony, not only in our country but throughout the world, is the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, which is held every three years in the capital of Kazakhstan.
Next year we plan to hold the next 7th Congress in Nur-Sultan. We would be more than happy to welcome representatives of your countries at the next Congress, which will give an additional impetus to expanding the dialogue between the highly reputable representatives of various faiths.
One of our foreign policy’s most important directions is to develop friendly relations with the Islamic world within the OIC framework.
Kazakhstan became a full member of the OIC in 1995. During this time, the leadership of our country announced over 10 global initiatives aimed at developing all OIC Member States in various areas.
Among the implemented major initiatives of Kazakhstan is establishing the Islamic Organization for Food Security, whose headquarters is located in Nur-Sultan.
There are also other essential initiatives of Kazakhstan within the OIC, such as establishing the OIC-15 Dialogue Platform, promoting the process of Islamic Rapprochement, and developing a strategic program – “The Islamic Infrastructure Integration, “etc.
In 2011, Kazakhstan chaired the 38th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, during which the Organization changed its name to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and changed its logo.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
The formation of modern Kazakhstan goes hand in hand with the name and activities of the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
You know that in March 2019, the Leader of the Nation, Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the peak of his popularity, made a historic decision and announced his resignation as the President of Kazakhstan.
Nevertheless, the strategic course of our Leader of the Nation continues by the current President of Kazakhstan – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who has vast experience and has been actively involved in all issues of the domestic and foreign policy of Kazakhstan for many years.
Today, the slogan of the new President is “A Strong President – An Influential Parliament – An Accountable Government.”
Last week, the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, delivered State-of-the-Nation Address to the people of Kazakhstan entitled “The national unity and systemic reforms – a solid foundation for the country’s prosperity.” This Address reflected the main vectors of the country’s further social and economic development during this challenging time.
Therefore, taking into account the knowledge and experience of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakhstan citizens are confidently looking into the future.
Before proceeding to closing remarks, I would like to note that without the proper support of your countries, Kazakhstan would not have achieved the successes for 30 years of its independence.
And the Muslim World led by Saudi Arabia was one of the first to recognize our country’s independence.
Thanks to the wise leadership of the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as leadership of other Muslim countries, we have developed stable and constructive relations between our countries.
In this regard, we express our sincere gratitude to you and the heads of your countries, as well as the leadership and representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
It was thanks to your support that Kazakhstan today is an Internationally Recognized State.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Today’s Photo Exhibition will allow you to become familiar with the main stages of development and success of Kazakhstan, view our country’s natural beauty and architectural masterpieces, and gain better insight into the history, culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the people of Kazakhstan.
Let me now give the floor to Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the OIC Secretary-General, who kindly accepted our invitation to attend the exhibition’s official opening as a guest of honor.
Thank you for your attention and participation!