OSCE Chairman: Afghan problem priority for Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, Astana, Nov. 11 / Trend A.Maratov /
Taking the chairmanship of the OSCE, Kazakhstan could not ignore the Afghan issue, OSCE Chairman, Kazakh State Secretary and Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev said today. Moreover, Kazakhstan declared this issue as a priority during its presidency, he added.
"The Afghan issue will be a main topic during the forthcoming OSCE summit in Astana on Dec. 1-2," Saudabayev said in an interview with Trend and several foreign media. "Although Afghanistan is not included in the OSCE area of responsibility, its 43 member-countries were involved in the Afghan problem during our presidency."
The OSCE summit will bring together the heads of states and governments of 56 OSCE member countries and 12 OSCE partner countries, as well as the heads of 68 international organizations.
OSCE summits have been held six times since the organization's establishment in 1975. The last summit was held in Istanbul in 1999.
Saudabayev said the OSCE's main principle with regard to Afghanistan is to cardinally change the approach in addressing the issue given that military efforts to resolve the problem have failed.
"We set ourselves the task of paying more attention to the rehabilitation of Afghanistan," he said. "These are specific humanitarian projects such as building schools, hospitals, roads..."
Saudabayev believes that today it is important to prepare Afghanistan for post-war life.
"We must involve Afghans in economic relations, we must make them understand what they need now and that they can live without weapons in their hands," he said.
The Afghan economy has come to a complete standstill due to continuous fighting for over 20 years. Approximately one-third of the population has left the country and around 1.2 million still reside in Pakistan, with 1.4 million refugees in Iran. Many businesses were destroyed, and transport and trade relations were violated both domestically and internationally.