Congressional Caucus on Central Asia Kick-Off EventPosted on January 19th, 2010 No comments
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Congressional Caucus on Central Asia kick-off event on Capitol Hill. It was hosted by Delegate Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) and Representative Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), two dear friends who have been great allies to Kazakhstan in our efforts to strengthen ties with the United States. They conceived the idea of the Caucus and serve as its co-chairs. The event included speeches about issues and opportunities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia, as well as performances of traditional Central Asian dances.
I was extremely pleased with the support we received that evening; over 100 people attended the event. Several congressional lawmakers who are members of the Caucus, key State Department officials, non-governmental organization executives, foreign ambassadors, journalists, and ambassadors from the five Central Asian nations were present.
Central Asia is a strategically located region whose importance to the United States and the world continues to grow. This is why the Caucus is so significant. If our region wants to achieve global stability and security, as well as successfully develop trade and investment opportunities, it is crucial that all Central Asian countries be involved in the process.
Since gaining our independence, Kazakhstan has reached out to western democracies, specifically the United States, for assistance on issues affecting both nations. Issues such as energy production and supply, democracy and human rights promotion, nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation, and economic growth are increasingly important for us to address as we look to the future. Facing these challenges as partners and allies will make our efforts that much stronger and effective.
Various lawmakers and dignitaries, including keynote speaker Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, spoke that evening about the importance of these matters as they relate to strengthening relations between the United States, Kazakhstan, and Central Asia.
I also spoke about key priorities as we go forward. It is my hope, as I told the group, that by exchanging ideas and educating one another, we will find ways to create more open trade agreements and to better integrate global trade systems between our countries.
Our citizens’ security—and that of the world—is another major priority that I shared with the audience. Specifically, we continue to support the United States’ efforts to combat terrorism (especially in Afghanistan) and drug trafficking, and we are eager to provide additional resources and support for these endeavors.
I also stressed the need to be more efficient with our natural resources and to pursue peaceful nuclear energy development if we are to meet the rising energy needs of Kazakhstan, as well as those of the United States and other nations.
As Kazakhstan, the United States, and Central Asia seek to increase cooperation in support of these mutual interests, the Congressional Caucus on Central Asia will play a decisive role. I agree with the American who said, “Working alone we can accomplish a few things, but by working together there is no limit to what we can accomplish.” Through teamwork, we can achieve great success.
As a committed Caucus partner, the Republic of Kazakhstan looks forward to addressing the many challenges we face and helping to bring about the positive changes and progress that all of us desire.
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