Astana and Mary announced as 2012 CIS cultural capitals

ASTANA. April 7. KAZINFORM On April 6, Astana hosted the regular meeting of the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers which gathered the representatives of eleven member states of the Commonwealth.

The participants discussed a wide range of issues of integration cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, the field of security, and other areas of interaction. In particular, the foreign ministers reviewed the progress of implementing the Plan of CIS Multilevel Ministerial Consultations for 2011 and approved a new one for 2012.

In the current year the CIS countries agreed to continue to exchange views on the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security, countering new threats and challenges, fostering interaction of Commonwealth countries in the international and regional organisations, the Kazakh MFA's press service said.

In addition, the agenda also included a discussion of the interaction in the field of water and energy security, exchange of archival services.

Addressing the participants of the meeting, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykahnov noted the role of the CIS in consolidating trade and economic relations, establishing a political dialogue, fostering cooperation in strengthening security and stability in the humanitarian field.

"The Commonwealth has become a platform for the formation of new structures, the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space, and in the near future - the Eurasian Economic Union," Kazykhanov says.

The Kazakhstan foreign minister also dwelt upon a positive dynamics in the cultural sphere.

"We agreed to launch a programme of "Cultural Capitals of the Commonwealth". The heads of the CIS countries announced Astana, Kazakhstan and Mary, Tajikistan as the CIS cultural capitals in 2012 in a pilot mode. This year, we expect to hold events, which will not only further the cultural development of the cities, but also establish direct contacts with the regions of the CIS member states," Kazykhanov noted.

At the council meeting the participants approved the Action Plan devoted to the 20th anniversary of the Interstate TV and Radio Company "Mir" and on further strengthening of its position in the CIS information space.

In his speech, Kazykhanov also mentioned the establishment of the ecological culture as one of the important directions of the humanitarian interstate cooperation.

"The ecological culture is a relatively new yet pressing problem as the mankind is close to face a global environmental crisis. In this regard, we support the decision on declaring 2013 as the Year of Ecological Awareness and Environmental Protection within the Commonwealth," Kazykhanov said.

 Speaking of the importance of strengthening security cooperation within the CIS Kazykhanov noted the necessity to adopt draft documents aimed at establishing the joint air defense system of the CIS states and consolidating the interaction of border and other agencies in case of crisis situations at external frontiers, that are to be submitted for the consideration by the CIS Council of Heads of State.


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