NATO officials to visit Kazakhstan in first half of 2015

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - A delegation of NATO representatives plans to arrive in Astana in the first half of 2015, the Embassy of Estonia in Kazakhstan Ambassador Jaan Reinhold told Trend, Kazinform refers to

"In the first half of 2015, we plan to receive representatives of NATO in Astana, as well as we have an idea to hold a joint public event in the second half of 2015," said Reinhold. The Estonian diplomat expressed hope that a confidential dialogue between the parties would be held during the upcoming meetings. He said that Kazakhstan is one of the active partners of NATO in Central Asia, which calls for cooperation, stability and peace. "I hope that we will have a good and long-term cooperation with the ministry of defense of Kazakhstan, which will be based on trust and help to plan some joint activities," said the diplomat. He said that the future joint activities of NATO and Kazakhstan will be held within the framework of the program "Partnership for Peace." The matter rests in the development, exchange of experience in the activity of peacekeeping forces. "The world has changed significantly after the recent events in Ukraine," said Jaan Reinhold. "We tried to explain and convey the importance of NATO to our partners more productively. We tried to convey that NATO's activities are based not only on military cooperation. Public diplomacy through activity of contact embassy is the best tool to acquaint the goals and objectives of NATO with the public." Earlier, Estonian Foreign Ministry said that Estonian embassy in Astana became NATO Contact Point Embassy in Kazakhstan from Jan.1, 2015. "The operation of Estonian embassy as NATO Contact Point Embassy is a proof of NATO's trust in us. It expands the communication channels in NATO and in the contact point state," the Foreign Ministry said. It is expected that Estonia will become a reliable bridge in NATO-Kazakhstan relations, said the ministry. The system of contact point embassies was created in 1992 for supporting the work of NATO on partnership. It is one of the channels for becoming familiar with NATO policy in the partner countries. The main task of the contact point embassy is to become familiar with the goals and activities of NATO, to create and strengthen the contacts in the host state. Jaan Reinhold reminded that Estonia became NATO member 10 years ago. "In order to fulfill the key goals of NATO, Estonia allocates 2 percent of GDP for defense." "We participate in joint operations, especially, in ensuring cybersecurity," he said. "Estonia has experience in fulfilling these functions in Sweden, Finland and Belarus." Earlier, Latvian embassy fulfilled the functions of a contact point embassy in Kazakhstan, according to Reinhold. "We will continue this mission with great pleasure."

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