The head of state took part in the Sixth Caspian Summit.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev thanked Serdar Berdimuhamedov for the warm hospitality and excellent organization of the summit. At the same time, the Head of our state called holding this important meeting in person justified and very timely.
“Four years have passed since the historic summit in Aktau. During this time, the world has undergone dramatic changes. The coronavirus pandemic, growing geopolitical tensions and other challenges more than ever require us to join forces to ensure stability and sustainable development of the Caspian region. In the conditions of an unprecedented "global storm", the special importance of the Caspian Sea is growing due to its geostrategic location, the presence of the richest natural resources, as well as the unique transit potential. The Aktau summit demonstrated to the entire world community that the Caspian states are capable of resolving the most complex issues exclusively by peaceful means, in the spirit of good neighborliness and friendship. A clear evidence of this is the signing, after many years of negotiations, of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.
As Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized, the Caspian is not only a huge concentration of useful resources, but also a "sea of unlimited possibilities." In his speech, the Head of State outlined promising approaches to further cooperation in order to fully use the potential of the Caspian countries.
“Our top priority today is to ensure that the Convention enters into force as soon as possible. For four years, painstaking work has been carried out to find mutually acceptable solutions to this issue. We in Kazakhstan are sympathetic to the positions of the parties, since these issues directly affect national interests. For our part, we are ready to make every effort to achieve the desired result,” the President said.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev believes that in the context of a break in traditional supply chains, transport interconnectivity is becoming a key factor in sustainable growth and strengthening the economic ties of states. In his opinion, the role of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route has significantly increased to ensure transit flows between Europe, Central Asia and China.
“According to the results of 5 months of this year, the volume of transportation of Kazakh cargo along the route increased by 2.5 times, and the total trade turnover with the Caspian countries increased by more than 9%. In order to increase the volume of cargo traffic by sea, we have begun to modernize its port infrastructure and expand the marine fleet. I believe that we will have to jointly and promptly resolve urgent organizational issues. This concerns the timely approval of mutually acceptable and unified tariffs, the elimination of bottlenecks. Particular attention should also be paid to the further development of the promising North-South corridor. For this, it is possible to make the most of the opportunities of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, which is the shortest route between East Asia and the countries of the Persian Gulf,” the Head of State noted.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dwelled separately on the issue of strengthening food security in the region. He said that last year the volume of mutual food trade between Kazakhstan and the Caspian countries amounted to about 3.5 billion dollars, of which about 70% - with Russia via the land route.
“It is gratifying that there is a significant increase in trade between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan - 2.3 times, with Iran and Turkmenistan - 2 times. Our exports of high-quality wheat (about 5 million tons) and food flour (about 1.5 million tons) take a significant share here. At the same time, we have reserves for the supply of oilseeds in the amount of more than 1 million tons. In addition, Kazakhstan has significant potential to increase the export of meat and dairy products. In order to strengthen trade interaction between our states, it is necessary to consistently develop a modern logistics infrastructure. Therefore, we propose to create a Caspian food hub, which will allow increasing mutual trade with minimal costs,” the President of Kazakhstan said.
He said that construction of modern wholesale distribution centers with a technologically advanced system of warehousing, storage and sale of food products has begun in Kazakhstan.
“The system integration of these centers with the Caspian food hub will open up new opportunities for effective cooperation between farmers, buyers, carriers, sellers and consumers. And, most importantly, it will provide reliable guarantees for the sale of all supplied products,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev believes.
Along with this, the Head of State called the preservation of the Caspian ecosystem one of the key areas of cooperation. He believes that the economic development and well-being of millions of inhabitants of the Caspian coast are closely connected with the task of preserving the natural environment of the transboundary reservoir.
“Active exploitation of the subsoil and transportation of resources carry great risks for the ecology of the region. In addition, the challenges of global warming and related climate change pose a threat to water resources. An extremely sad example is the critical condition of the Ural River, the third longest in Europe, which is called Zhaiyk in Kazakhstan. There is a sharp decrease in water runoff, a reduction in the number of biological resources, degradation of floodplain vegetation and anthropogenic pollution. As a result, the average annual flow of the river has decreased three times in recent years. This adversely affects the state of floodplain spawning grounds and the reproduction of the unique fish resources of the Caspian Sea. Together with the Russian Federation, we are making great efforts to prevent an environmental disaster on the common waterway for our countries”,
Thanking the President of Russia for his support in this matter, the Head of State called on the parties to join efforts and develop a common plan of action to improve the condition of the Ural River. In addition, speaking about the environmental problems of the common sea, the President touched upon the plight of the Caspian seals.
“The facts of their periodic death cause serious concern. The Caspian seal is endemic and the only representative of mammals in the fauna of the Caspian Sea. It migrates throughout the water body and is considered a transboundary bioresource. Last year Kazakhstan and Russia signed a five-year Joint Action Plan for the conservation of the Caspian seal population. In addition, since 1974, there have been protected areas of Kazakhstan and Russia in the northern part of the Caspian Sea. However, the measures taken are still not enough to preserve the Red Book animal. Therefore, we are now considering the issue of reformatting the protected area into a specially protected natural area. We call on the Caspian countries to support the initiative of Kazakhstan and Russia and join it,” suggested Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
The head of state also drew the attention of the summit participants to the importance of combating illegal fishing of biological resources in the Caspian Sea. At the same time, he pointed to the facts of illegal extraction of bioresources, transportation of fish products, illegal purchase or sale of sturgeons.
“It is important to remember that there are high risks of man-made accidents and natural disasters during the development of the Caspian and coastal areas. Therefore, it is necessary to systematically develop a regional mechanism for the prevention and elimination of consequences, as well as mutual assistance in emergency situations,” the President of Kazakhstan emphasized.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted the need for closer cultural and humanitarian cooperation and the formation of a consortium of analytical structures of the Caspian Five. The President of Kazakhstan also supported Vladimir Putin's proposal to hold annual meetings of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian states.
“I am sure that the initiatives outlined today to further comprehensively deepen Caspian cooperation will be implemented in a quality and timely manner. I would like to emphasize that Kazakhstan invariably advocates that our common heritage and heritage of ancestors - the wise and blessed Caspian Sea - always remain a sea of friendship, good neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation. I am sure, showing good will and mutual aspiration, we will achieve this noble goal for the benefit of the prosperity and progress of our peoples and countries,” the Head of State summed up.
President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ibrahim Raisi, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin also spoke at the Sixth Caspian Summit. As a result of the forum, the heads of state adopted a communiqué.
By the Kazakhstanskaya Pravda