South Caucasus is a region of growing importance, says Kazakh expert

Miras Zhienbayev. Photo credit: Zhienbayev's archive
Miras Zhienbayev. Photo credit: Zhienbayev's archive

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev paid an official visit to Armenia on April 15. Miras Zhiyenbayev, the head of the foreign policy and international studies program at the MIND think tank at the Maqsut Narikbayev University, shares insights into the visit in an interview with Kazinform News Agency.

South Caucasus is a region of growing importance

According to Zhiyenbayev, the current dynamics of visits by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and other state officials to the countries of the South Caucasus reflect a transition in Kazakhstan’s relations with this region to a new level. In a challenging geopolitical environment, Kazakhstan's foreign policy continues to develop formats of flexible multilateralism.

“Kazakhstan is effectively becoming a very important provider of the agenda for diplomacy, dialogue, and cooperation across the entire Eurasian space. On one hand, we observe an unprecedented complex of global, regional, and national challenges facing the states of our region. On the other hand, the constructive, peaceful agenda of Kazakhstan's foreign policy creates unique opportunities for Astana to develop significant potential of its diplomatic capabilities,” notes Zhiyenbayev.

He states that the South Caucasus region is becoming increasingly significant for Kazakhstan's foreign policy and trade. Tokayev’s visit to Armenia allows Kazakhstan to be more involved in regional affairs.

Political will

According to the expert, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev demonstrates political will in the development of interstate cooperation and bilateral relations.

“In practice, we see an exceptionally positive dynamic in the economic cooperation indicators with Armenia, where mutual trade has shown a 3.5-fold increase over the last five years. At the same time, it is important to understand that this indicator has significant potential for considerable growth in the coming years,” said the expert.

Zhiyenbayev echoed Tokayev, who emphasized Kazakhstan’s readiness to expand its export portfolio to Armenia by 70 types of goods worth $350 million, including high-level processed products.

“Considering the 23% increase in our trade volume last year, even partial realization of this potential will not only enhance our trade and economic interaction but also create additional positive drivers for export-oriented sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy,” said Zhiyenbayev.

Development of transport cooperation

According to the expert, relations with the South Caucasus are critical to Kazakhstan’s ambition to develop its transport-logistical potential.

“Today, our unique geostrategic position enables us to ensure continental interconnectedness in the global trading system. The South Caucasus states are important strategic partners in realizing our transport-logistical potential. President Tokayev points out significant prospects from joint efforts in creating new transport-logistical corridors and routes for trade in our regions, expressing interest in integrating the Armenian initiative Crossroads of Peace into the complex regional logistical structure,” said Zhiyenbayev.

The Crossroads for Peace initiative is Armenia’s strategic and diplomatic campaign aimed at enhancing regional stability and fostering peace, particularly in the South Caucasus region.

Zhiyenbayev believes that by creating new opportunities for dialogue and cooperation among the states of the South Caucasus with each other and with the Central Asian region, Kazakhstan is shaping the contours of a new formula for interregional relations and peaceful co-development.

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